Grand slam champ: ‘Williams, queen of women tennis’

Navratilova says a lot of players are stepping on Serena’s heels

Afp April 29, 2016
Women's tennis legend Martina Navratilova (R) attends a promotional event for this year's WTA Finals in Singapore on April 28, 2016. PHOTO: AFP

SINGAPORE: Williams remains the queen of women’s tennis but don’t be surprised if she’s no longer number one by the end of the year, Martina Navratilova stated yesterday.

Speaking in Singapore to promote this year’s WTA Finals, the 59-year-old Czech said she was pleased to see stronger competition in the women’s game. “Right now there is competition but not quite rivalry yet. But certainly, a lot of players are stepping on Serena’s heels for the year,” said Navratilova.

“It’s not a foregone conclusion. The last couple of years by now, we pretty much knew Serena would end up world number one at the end of the year but this year it’s up in the air,” she added. “It’s going to be difficult for her to keep that cushion but at the same time, she’s still the queen.”

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Williams has not won a tournament since her triumph at Cincinnati in August.

Navratilova, an 18-time major champion, said that Williams was under added pressure after last year’s scintillating run, when she won three Grand Slam titles.

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“The gap has gotten smaller and it may keep getting smaller because Serena won so many Grand Slams last year. She has a lot of points to defend,” she said, but added that Serena can still hold her own.  “She’s not exactly floundering, it’s just the standard that she has set is so high, it’s hard to live up to that. You cannot write her off, (it’s) way too soon for that.” 

Published in The Express Tribune, April 29th, 2016.

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