Tennis great Martina Navratilova has given Serena Williams a brutal reality check ahead of the American’s much-anticipated departure from the sport.
The 23-time Major winner — though she refused to use the word “retired” — announced this month that she was “evolve” from tennis..
Williams confirmed in an article for Vogue magazine that she will retire later this month at the US Open.
‘RIDICULOUS’: Serena Williams spills the beans of the US Open farce
“I’ve never liked the word retirement,” she wrote.
“Perhaps evolution is the best word to describe what I intend to do. I’m here to tell you that I’m evolving away from tennis and into other things that are important to me.”
Unfortunately for Williams, the 23-time Grand Slam champion has been down 3-1 since returning to singles after being eliminated in the first round of Wimbledon and the Cincinnati Masters.
The American’s only win at the Canadian Open was followed by a shot at Belinda Bencic in the next round.
While Williams was able to dictate the terms of her resignation outside of court, Navratilova has warned the American she is unlikely to be able to do so in court.
“Serena did it her way, which was announced in a very glamorous way in Vogue magazine, but then she doesn’t accept the losses, she doesn’t accept what comes with it, which is saying goodbye,” Navratilova said.
The 18-time Major winner says while the American Champion and her legion of fans would love a fairytale ending, it’s not a realistic prospect.
William’s latest conqueror, Emma Raducanu, wrote a Cinderella story for the ages after becoming the first qualifier in history to win the US Open last year.
However, Navratilova says she just can’t see Williams turning back the clock to conjure up a similarly magical tale in Flushing Meadows.
“Emotions can only take you so far,” Navratilova said.
“From the looks of her, it doesn’t look like she’s going to make a miraculous comeback and win the tournament.
“And with the stress of knowing this is probably your last tournament, it doesn’t help.
“But if anyone can overcome, it’s Serena.”
Navratilova now says that Williams has made her decision to step away from tennis, she must live with the consequences and say goodbye to the sport with dignity.
“It’s difficult,” added Navratilova.
“When I retired in 1993 I told the press it was my last year, which was a mistake because every single tournament was a bloody teardrop.”
Serena Williams is chasing Margaret Court’s record
Williams is aiming for a record-breaking 24th Grand Slam title to match Margaret Court’s all-time tally, but looks certain she will finish her incredible record 23 Majors.
In an attempt to cap off her home grand slam with a fairytale finish, Williams appears to have done so enlisted the help of Australian tennis legend Rennae Stubbs.
The 40-year-old was spotted at Arthur Ashe Stadium scoring a goal with rival and world No. 3 Maria Sakarri in front of the peloton.
However, fans noted that Stubbs – a four-time Grand Slam doubles winner – offered advice on her coaching staff.
The 52-year-old Australian watched before sitting down and chatting with Williams after training.
Stubbs, now a top analyst, has helped players in the past – he advised Karolina Pliskova from 2018-2019.
Williams won her last Grand Slam title in 2017 and has been chasing Court’s elusive Grand Slam record ever since.
She has come tantalizingly close to realizing that dream, having played in four Grand Slam finals since the birth of her daughter Olympia in 2017 but losing all four.
“There are people who say I’m not the GOAT because I failed Court’s record, which she set before the ‘Open era’ that started in 1968,” he said the former world number 1.
“I would be lying if I said I don’t want this record. Obviously I do. But I really don’t think about her every day. If I’m in a Slam final then yes I’ve been thinking about this record. Maybe I thought about it too much and that didn’t help.”
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