Graf backs Williams to surpass Court's Grand Slam record
Tennis - Australian Open - First Round - Melbourne Park, Melbourne, Australia, January 15, 2019. Serena Williams of the U.S. in action during the match against Germany’s Tatjana Maria. REUTERS/Lucy Nicholson
(Reuters) - Serena Williams will eventually overtake Margaret Court’s record of 24 Grand Slam titles even if the American fails to equal the mark at the ongoing Australian Open, according to former world number one Steffi Graf.
Williams was eight weeks pregnant when she captured her 23rd Grand Slam trophy at Melbourne in 2017 but missed opportunities to equal Australian Court on her return from maternity leave, losing in the final of Wimbledon and the U.S. Open last year.
“I don’t know if she can do it here (equal the record) but I believe she can absolutely,” Graf, who won 22 majors in her career, told Melbourne’s Herald Sun newspaper.
“Her game, her serve being such an incredible weapon. I think she at any time is dangerous.
“With the experience she’s had, she’s still so determined and if she enjoys it why not? If her body holds up I do believe she has a big chance (to pass Court).”
Court won 13 of her 24 Grand Slams before the women’s game became fully professional in 1968.
Graf acknowledged Williams had achieved her success in the more competitive Open era and said she would eventually finish her career as the game’s greatest player.
“I’d probably say with the career she’s had, that she’s not even finished at this point, then yes, I’d say so,” Graf added.
Reporting by Shrivathsa Sridhar in Bengaluru; Editing by Amlan Chakraborty