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By Chris Oddo | @TheFanChild | Wednesday March 17, 2021


Lost in the shuffle of the Australian Open, as Naomi Osaka locked up her fourth major title and became the hot subject of tennis talk shows worldwide, was the fact that Serena Williams had displayed some of her best tennis in several years in Melbourne.

Tennis Express

Clearly, it was not enough to stop the momentum of Osaka, but Martina Navratilova believes that it was the best we’ve seen from Williams in a long time at a major.

“For me she moved better than she had in years,” Navratilova said in a conference call to promote Tennis Channel's first ball to last ball coverage of next week's Miami Open. “Clearly was fitter. But Naomi was just a better player on the day.”


Navratilova isn’t sure if the fact that Williams played so well and still ended up going home without a title will be any consolation for Williams. In fact, she wonders how difficult the loss will be to accept for Williams and how the 23-time Grand Slam champion will process it as she moves forward throughout the 2021 season.

“That's the best she's played and still lost. Maybe that would be harder for her. She did not play badly, just Naomi played the big points a little bit better,” Navratilova said. “But Serena looked great.”


Navratilova believes that the grass could provide her with an even better opportunity to finally tie Margaret Court on the all-time Grand Slam titles list, because Williams excels so magnificently on the grass and because Osaka has not yet found her form on the experience.

“On the grass, that will be more user-friendly for her,” Navratilova said. A lot will depend on whether Serena can follow through on her form and show up even stronger at the Slams this summer. If she can do that, Navratilova sees no reason why she couldn’t bring another Slam home—maybe even two.

“Can she break Margaret's record? I'm sure she can tie it,” the nine-time Wimbledon singles champion said. “If she wins Wimbledon, the US Open is six weeks later, anything is possible. … Does she have it in her? I believe so. I'm not going to write her off until she quits. I think she can do it.”

 

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