Seven-time Grand Slam champion Justine Henin has backed Serena Williams to finally match Margaret Court’s all-time record of 24 major titles in 2020, as she suggested the historic moment could arrive at this month’s Australian Open.
Williams has failed to win a set in her last four Grand Slam finals, with defeats in the last two Wimbledon and US Open finals leaving question marks over whether the 38-year-old will claim another major title.
Yet Eurosport analyst Henin believes Williams remains a potent threat at the top of the women’s game, despite heading into the first major of the year in the unfamiliar position of being seeded at No 8.
“You cannot speak about this event without thinking that Serena can be there and at her best,” states 2004 Australian Open champion Henin.
“It’s amazing after so many years the motivation is still there, the passion and of course we can say that she is going after the Grand Slam that she is missing now for a little bit of time, but she was there all the time in the finals and competing so hard.
“Because she didn’t win a Grand Slam in 2019 they will say maybe she is not at her best but who else could still play like this at her age? Only Serena can do that and I think she is just fantastic so I always had the feeling, whatever Serena decides she can get that because she is so strong mentally.
“The story proved it was a little bit harder after she came back from having a baby, but between being in a final and winning, okay, there’s a big step but she is probably still in a position to do something, that’s for sure.
“She wouldn’t be on the Tour anymore if it wasn’t her goal to win more Grand Slams and I think she can do it.”
Henin suggests the success enjoyed by Roger Federer at the back end of his career should inspire Williams to believe she can return to Grand Slam-winning form in this new decade.
“Three years ago we were saying it was over for Roger Federer and he proved so many things and Serena, we can’t forget how many Grand Slam finals she played since she was back,” adds Henin.
“She didn’t win last year, but she was close and that’s the big difference between being in a final and winning but it was the experience she has, the passion of the game, the mentality, the mental she has she still can surprise us.
“It’s going to be difficult as times goes on because the young generation is pressing hard and twill be fresh, but who knows? I wouldn’t predict that she doesn’t have any chance anymore.”
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