Serena Williams Twist by Naomi Osaka


Serena Williams’ chances of winning her record-breaking 24th Grand Slam title have been bolstered by the withdrawal of Naomi Osaka.Photo: Getty

Tennis legend Chris Evert Serena Williams scene is perfectly planted Making history at Wimbledon, as the Americans finally appear to rival Margaret Court’s best ever 24 Grand Slam title record.

With the removal of the world’s second biggest bombshell Naomi Osaka and the fitness cloud of star Ashleigh Barty and current champion Simona Halep, the stars appear to be in contention for Williams at the All England Club.

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Williams, who has won seven Grand Slam turf tournaments, earned his last victory in 2016 but lost in the final on the last two visits.

Halep denied Williams a slam record at Wimbledon two years ago. Last year’s edition was canceled due to a coronavirus pandemic.

This is one of four Grand Slam finals played since Williams won one of the controversial court record titles at the 2017 Australian Open.

The withdrawal of Osaka, the world’s second tallest player, who was absent from the game after revealing he struggles with anxiety and depression, increased his chances of winning his eighth crown at Wimbledon, 39.

World number one Bertie and third Halep also have fitness questions, and Evert claims Williams is beyond the ability to add 23 Grand Slam singles trophies to his career.

“Like Roger Federer, the weed is perfect for his game, so I’m going to give Serena a better chance at Wimbledon,” Evert told Eurosport ahead of the French Open.

“On the grass, if Serena is healthy and the serve is working, it’s half the game there.

“She has that experience and that flexibility.”

Serena Williams finished second behind Simona Halep in the women’s singles final at Wimbledon in 2019 Photo: Getty

Evert admits that, like other great champions who seem vulnerable, Serena has given her opponent new hope that she can improve on him.

“The players are better than they were two years ago and are not under threat,” said the 66-year-old, 18-time Grand Slam singles champion.

“They all feel they have a chance for Serena.”

Ashberty skipping warm-up events

After retiring with a hip injury in the middle of the second set of the second round at Roland Garros, Bertie will enter Wimbledon without a warm-up tournament on the grass.

The 25-year-old Australian trains on the grass at Wimbledon and is tagged “Baby Step” because the 2019 Roland Garros champion wants to stay in shape.

Halep is also starting to defend the title – last year Wimbledon was called off due to a coronavirus pandemic – with no game on the grass under his belt.

An injured 29-year-old Romanian calf missed the French Open, and although she made the Bad Homburg tournament this week, she felt she was not strong enough to compete.

“My calf isn’t ready for competition,” she said.

“I want to be able to play at Wimbledon so I will continue to train, but for now I have to take care of my body and see how my recovery progresses.”

Barbora Krejčkova is a fit player after her incredible victory at Roland Garros.

The 25-year-old Czech addressed a touching compliment to his late compatriot and former coach Jana Novotna when he won Roland Garros.

If Novotna won the All England Club, the place where she won her only Grand Slam crown in singles in 1998, she may have to repeat it.

American teenager Coco Gauff is a player who reminds the public how much fun it is to watch tennis before the coronavirus.

The 15-year-old has brightened up for the 2019 tournament on and off the pitch after reaching the last 16 games that have gone beyond qualifying.

Unlike Halep and Bertie, she is training at the Eastbourne tournament this week.

Gauff, ranked 23rd in the world, said he could be in the spotlight again at Wimbledon.

“People can expect me to feel the pressure to get in there, but I don’t really feel the pressure,” she said.

“I’m just going to have fun. I don’t want to force myself to compare this year’s results with the previous ones.

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