‘Serena Williams’ target for 2018 will be to win Grand Slams’

If anyone thought Serena Williams will rock up at the remaining Grand Slams of 2018 just to “compete”, then they are wrong.

The 23-time Grand Slam winner’s coach Patrick Mouratoglou says her main goals are to win the final three majors of the year, but also concedes that her comeback will be one of the biggest tests she has faced during her illustrious career.

When asked by WTATennis.com in an interview if this was her “greatest challenge” he replied: “It probably is. She is known for her comebacks, the last of which took place in 2012. Recovering from a surgery, then from a blood clot, going two years without winning a Grand Slam, she finally comes back at 30 years old to win 10 more Grand Slams and to stay No.1 in the world for three-and-a-half years – her longest period of dominance.

“Now she is 36, just had a child, a second blood clot, has gone more than a year without any competition. I think we can say without a doubt that this is her biggest challenge.”

After initially signing up for the Australian Open, she withdrew a week before the event got underway as she felt should wouldn’t be able to challenge for the title.

Mouratoglou, though, says she winning the French Open, which is the next Grand Slam on the calendar, is one of her targets.

“I think she will be ready for Roland Garros. The competitions she will play until then will help her and every day she progresses on her fitness,” he said.

He added: “Serena‚Äôs target will be to win Grand Slams. She knows that coming back might take some time, but her level of expectation is high as always. There are three Grand Slams left this season. They will be her three main goals for 2018.”

She has already played in the Fed Cup doubles and will also compete at the Tiebreak Tens in New York on Monday March 5 before tackling the Indian Wells Masters.

Asked what to expect once she competes in tournaments, Mouratoglou said: “With Serena, it is always difficult not to expect her to win the tournament. But clearly we are in a very special situation at the moment. She hasn’t played a match for more than a year, she has had a baby with a lot of complications post-delivery. The plan is to get back to her best level. She has been practicing hard for that, and competition is part of the process. She needs more than anything to compete and that is why she will plan to play Indian Wells and Miami.

“We do not know how much time she will need to get her best level back, and I think that we should give her the necessary time for that without having too much expectations at the start.”

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