At this point in Serena Williams’ illustrious career, she is like a human flyswatter, repelling all of these younger tennis stars with dreams of taking down the aging legend. The road to Margaret Court’s 24 Grand Slams is littered with these constant challenges.
Serena sits one 2019 U.S. Open victory away from tying Court’s record, but it won’t be easy.
Wednesday’s three-set thriller against 17-year-old Caty McNally is indicative of the roadblocks that the 37-year-old Williams will have to overcome in order to grab another US Open title.
Serena advances to the third round of the #USOpen!@serenawilliams is the only woman in the Open Era with a winning record after dropping the 1st set. pic.twitter.com/t1iqpTBV50
— ESPN (@espn) August 29, 2019
Everybody gets up for Serena. As her body slowly breaks down and she survives these kinds of matches more on experience and will than talent, Williams continues to face the best version of every aspiring tennis pro that she faces.
Serena is the standard and meeting her is the moment of truth, especially for a novice pro like McNally, ranked 121st in the world and trying to make a name for themselves in the WTA. There’s no easier way to accomplish overnight tennis fame than to defeat Serena as she attempts to tie the record.
McNally gave the 23-time Grand Slam champion an epic battle for the better part of two hours before Williams took control of the match. Rocking a fitted funeral black dress, Serena, advanced to the third round by rallying against McNally 5-7, 6-3, 6-1 at Arthur Ashe Stadium.
With grace and grit that only she can balance, Serena credited the inexperienced McNally for her efforts.
“I think she really came out and played really well,” Williams said in a televised interview. “She showed no fear.”
McNally is a close friend and doubles partner of 15-year-old Coco Gauff, who burst onto the scene after beating Venus Williams at Wimbledon in July.
McNally, a 2018 junior doubles champion who was ranked No. 709 one year ago, had never played on a show court, or against a top-20 player, never mind the greatest champion ever.
As McNally learns a valuable lesson about the levels of greatness, Serena continues to gut through and march onward towards the final validation of her omnipotence.
Serena Williams played her first match at the U.S. Open after skipping 2 competitions because of back spasms, beating Maria Sharapova for the 19th straight time.
The 23-time Grand Slam winner is vying to tie the record of 24. ? pic.twitter.com/laUMktWlUy
— AJ+ (@ajplus) August 27, 2019
In the meantime, add back spasms to the list of nagging injuries that Serena must overcome in addition to the young guns that are more eager than ever to take a crack at the champ.