How Serena Williams Can End Her Australian Open Drought
January 18, 2015
After claiming the Australian Open for the first time in 2003 Serena Williams won the trophy every second year up to 2009. But since winning back to back titles in 2010 the American hasn’t had her hands on the silverware. Now those of us who are superstitious will believe it’s because she broke the pattern, while others will say she’s no longer in her prime. Whatever the reason, the world number One heads into the tournament chasing her sixth Australian Slam and her 19th overall. But what does she have to do to once again be the Queen of Melbourne Park.
Turn Around Form and Recent History
2014 was by her standards an average year for Williams, (winning just the one Slam) when she was triumphant at the US Open, and her start to 2015 has been patchy. Way below her best at the recent Hopman Cup in Perth, she registered 2 wins and 2 losses. 1 defeat and it’s all over in Melbourne so Serena can’t afford to be inconsistent.
Williams has made a habit of underperforming at the Open in recent years and it’s proved costly. Having not competed in 2011 she’s not even made the final since winning it in 2010. Her best result has been eliminated in the quarters.
Beat the Heat
It’s no secret Serena’s struggled in Australia’s sweltering heat in recent years…. Which players haven’t really? Even the Aussies have found the going tough. The 33 year old’s power and appetite to succeed seem to diminish when the weather shows it’s full force and Williams will need to combat temperatures around 40 degrees.
While the recent Hopman Cup helped her fine-tune somewhat, the conditions were also beneficial to her Australian Open campaign. Williams played in soaring temperatures in Perth and admitted she felt fatigued at various times. Still the preparation in the heat could prove crucial.
Overcome the Competition
Defending champion Li Na’s shock retirement from the sport means only 2 other women other than Williams, competing in this year’s tournament have won the Open before. One is the unseeded Victoria Azarenka while the other is glamour girl Maria Sharapova. The latter is fine form having stormed to the Brisbane International Title dropping just one set along the way. The Russian will be confident of claiming her Second Australian Open even if she has to face her old nemesis. Current world number 3 Simona Halep is getting closer to winning a slam, and the Romanian could seriously threaten in Melbourne. While dual Wimbledon Champion Petra Kvitova will be out to bounce back after losing her first match last year. Her best result in Melbourne was a semi-final in 2012.
And if all else fails Williams could always call for a coffee. That’s right a Coffee. In one of the strangest things seen on a tennis court, the American ordered an espresso during her opening Hopman Cup match after a slow start against Italian Flavia Pennetta. The bizarre request worked however; Serena won 2 sets to 1 after dropping the first without winning a game. So have the coffee carts ready please.