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Serena Williams’ success has typically been the result of a strong serve and big ground strokes. That’s why her coach doesn’t seem to have much confidence in her winning big on the clay courts at the French Open.
“Since 2018, she played Grand Slam finals on all surfaces other than clay,” longtime Williams coach Patrick Mouratoglou told Reuters.
“When you are playing Grand Slam finals, you’re not that far from winning it. Of course, the last match is always the most difficult. There is this pressure when you play a match for history that you have to be able to handle.”
Williams, 39, last won a Grand Slam event at the Australian Open in 2017. This year’s French Open is scheduled to start May 30.
Since 2017, Williams has reached four Grand Slam finals, “but has failed to match Margaret Court’s long-standing record,” Yahoo Sports noted. “She has not been past the fourth round at Roland Garros since 2016.”
She has also won just once on clay this season. That victory came against 17-year-old Italian Lisa Pigato, ranked 512th in the world, at the Emilia-Romagna Open.
Paris offers a different obstacle entirely.
“I would say that Roland Garros is the most difficult because it requires her to be at the top on the physical side, and it doesn’t highlight her qualities in the same way,” Mouratoglou said. “But I think on the other surfaces, she will have her chance.”
But hey, where there’s a will, there’s a chance to overcome the clay.
“If I answer you today, I am not going to rate her chances really high because she’s lost the second round in the last tournament, and first round the one before,” Mouratoglou said.
“So it’s difficult to say that she’s gonna win Roland Garros. But we still have 10 days to work, so we got to take the best out of those 10 days. And I know how much work she can do in a short period of time and how much she can improve.”