Serena Legacy Not Tarnished By US Open Controversy, Insists Evert

Rex Christensen
January 10, 2019

While Evert thinks Serena is "raring to go" as she looks to equal Margaret Court's all-time Grand Slam title record of 24, she predicts strong challenges from the players who stopped the American reaching that tally a year ago - Japan's Naomi Osaka, who beat Williams in the U.S. Open final, and Angelique Kerber who trounced her in the Wimbledon title match.

"The fact that she dominated for so long and could break the record of Grand Slams I think that will overshadow everything at the end of the day", former world number one Evert, who will be part of ESPN's coverage of the Australian Open, told a conference call.

The seven-time Australian Open champion hasn't played the Australian Open since 2017 when she beat her sister Venus in the finals while playing pregnant.

Serena Williams' reputation will be in no way tarnished by her controversial umpire spat at the US Open, according to fellow American great Chris Evert.

Good luck to all the players. Bookmakers in Australia have installed Williams as a short-priced favourite for the title with her US Open conqueror Osaka - the first Japanese player to win a Grand Slam - next in the betting.

Williams reached the finals at Wimbledon and in NY on what was her comeback year on the WTA Tour in 2018 following the birth of her first child. "I never feel pressure to perform". "I'm trying to change it more, and I think I have".

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She has looked sharp at the Hopman Cup and maintained her 100% singles record even though Germany lost to Federer's Switzerland in the final. The shock diagnosis came after Wozniacki had returned to number one and taken her WTA tour title tally to 30 with victories not only in Melbourne, but also Eastbourne and Beijing.

The 28-year-old Dane insists she can manage the debilitating auto-immune condition, which sometimes leaves her so exhausted she cannot raise her arms above her head.

Halep cloud: World number one Simona Halep of Romania comes into the tournament under a fitness cloud after a nagging back injury curtailed her 2018 season.

"In general, it's about her offensive game", Rittner told Deutsche Welle of the three-time Grand Slam champion who lost an agonising, breathless semi-final 9-7 in the final set to Halep in Melbourne past year.

She arrives as second favourite with the bookies behind Williams, and seems unfazed both by her stratospheric rise and by the prospect of the huge support she could receive at the Australian Open, often dubbed the Asia-Pacific Grand Slam.

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