Permanent change is a permanent constant in women's tennis. For a few years now that's the way it is – with the exception of Serena Williams. In front of the now 37-year-old, many opponents are still frozen in awe. That the American is beatable, Simona Halep showed in the Wimbledon final on Saturday. She let Williams run, distributed the balls and made her opponent tired and tired. She lost her third Grand Slam final in a row, if she still wins her 24th title in one of the four big tournaments and thus sets the record of Margaret Court, seems more questionable than ever.
"I have to figure out how to win such a final somehow. Maybe it would help to play other finals outside of the Grand Slams, "Williams said at the press conference after her clear 2-6, 2-6 defeat. She seemed relatively relaxed, but only one question brought them in the end then but upset. What would she say to the criticism of Billie Jean King, who urged Williams to focus more on tennis rather than celebrating stardasis and fighting for equality? The American woman's expression darkened briefly, then she said firmly, "The day I stop fighting for equality will be the day I'm in the grave."
In fact, Williams has barely played tennis in the past few months. After the US Open 2018 she played no match and this year there were only six tournaments – but she played only three of them too. These were the Grand Slams in Melbourne, Paris and Wimbledon. Williams won her last title at the Australian Open in 2017, the last victory outside of one of the majors took place in Rome over three years ago. The fact that she was able to get that far in London despite the lack of match practice is all the more amazing. "I just have to keep going, play some tournaments without hurting myself," Williams said.
The goal, perhaps yet to win Grand Slam title number 24, drives them on – and the fact that there are simply no outstanding all-other player at the moment. When Angelique Kerber won the final in Wimbledon last year against Williams, the way to other big titles seemed to be open. However, nothing has come of it, the Germans has been waiting for another tournament success, even with smaller events, it did not work out. Then came Naomi Osaka, the Japanese won the US Open and the Australian Open and became number one. Finally, it seemed again to give a world ranking first, which also occurred on the tennis court. Since the title in Melbourne, however, the 21-year-old has hardly anything left, since she has not reached a final since then and Wimbledon ended in round one.
None of the top four in the quarterfinals
The weakness of Osaka in turn took advantage of Ashleigh Barty and played in Paris for victory and shortly after the world ranking, but at the All England Championships, the Australian then did not go beyond the round of 16. So she was in good company, out of the four top players in London, not a single player made it to the quarterfinals.
The way was clear for Simona Halep, who was in the preparation for the tournament in Eastbourne still hopelessly overburdened acted against Angelique Kerber and had not noticed as a lawn specialist. "Just believing in the possibility of being able to win on grass has always been difficult for me. We do not even have a grass field in Romania, "said Halep after her big triumph. She wants to follow more, but it will not be easy. After her victory at the French Open in 2018, she first had problems to refocus. Like Serena Williams before Wimbledon, she was unable to win a tournament this year.
Women's tennis remains unpredictable in view of the many surprising results in the recent past. Already at the US Open, completely different faces can be influential again. On the one hand it makes it interesting, unlike the men almost every player has chances of victory. Nevertheless, the one constant is missing, where all orient themselves. Serena Williams held this role for years. However, anyone who saw them in the Wimbledon final can hardly imagine that this will continue to be the case in the future. The opponents on the way to the final were on average at world ranked position 83, such competition suggests Williams just on turf still almost out of the stall. However, if the resistance gets bigger, Williams gets her limits shown – as Halep on Saturday.
Now it is up to her to take over the scepter. "I think I can still improve some things. And I'm very motivated in the next tournaments, "said the Romanians after the biggest success of their career. Similar statements have been made more frequently by the winners of major titles, and Halep must now follow their words with deeds. Otherwise, women's tennis will continue to be in constant change.