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Billie Jean King wants Serena Williams to fully commit to tennis

Billie Jean King stands alongside Serena Williams
King hopes Williams commits fully to tennis (Picture: Corbis via Getty)

Billie Jean King has called for Serena Williams to focus her full attention on whats left of her tennis career, as she looks to equal Margaret Courts Grand Slam haul.

Williams has been stuck on 23 major titles since winning the Australian Open while eight weeks pregnant in 2017, although she did reach two Slam finals upon her return to the sport.

Defeats to Angelique Kerber at Wimbledon and Naomi Osaka at the US Open left her just one Slam behind Courts 24-strong collection at the end of 2018 and this season has been nothing short of disastrous for the 37-year-old.

Plagued by injury, Williams has completed only 11 matches in 2019 – five of which came at the Australian Open – and there is a sense of the unknown about her chances at Wimbledon.

Catching Courts record has moved from being framed as when to if and King, one of the greats of the game, warned 37-year-old Williams that she needs to be fully committed at this stage in her career if shes to successfully chase down the Aussie.

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I dont know where she is right now, I talked to her a couple of months ago but not lately, King said at the launch of the newly-formatted Fed Cup on Thursday.

Serena Williams looks on frustrated
Its been a tough year for Serena Williams (Picture: TPN/Getty Images)

It depends on her health, how her knee is… I dont know enough. I think theyre keeping it pretty quiet. I dont know if she knows what she wants right now or not.

But as you get older, you have to work harder. I played until I was 40, smarter and harder. Gotta work smarter, too. Its got to be very intense but maybe not quite as long.

But you have got to workout, youve got to watch your nutrition more than ever because you tend to thicken as you get older – its a nightmare. But if you love to play, thats the price youre willing to pay, I made that decision.

Also, ideally I would like her to play more matches before she gets to Wimbledon. In the old days they could kind of get through and then get going by the second week but I think when youre older, it doesnt work that way.

Williams priorities have shifted somewhat since becoming a mother but King admitted she wants her compatriot to give 100% to tennis in her remaining years on the WTA Tour.

Shes got business, a baby, shes trying to help gender equity, particularly for women of colour, shes actually on the Billie Jean King leadership initiative, she and Venus are both advisors for it, King added.

Serena Williams 2019 results

Australian Open: Quarter-finals (l. Pliskova)
Indian Wells: Round three (RET Muguruza)
Miami: Round three (W/O Wang)
Rome: Round two (W/O V. Williams)
French Open: Round three (l. Kenin)

[It makes winning a Slam] much harder. I would like to see her put everything else aside from that. Shes got people working on these things.

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This is just a wish I have, its not fair to her, but I wish she would just make a commitment for the next year-and-a-half to two years and just say, “Im going to absolutely devote whats necessary for my tennis so when I look in the mirror when Im older that I can go back in my mind and know I gave everything I had and be happy”.

But if shes happy doing it this way its fine. Its not about us.

While Courts record is within touching distance, King queried whether it should be the yardstick to measure the greats of the games.

King said: If youre in baseball or other sports, theres always an asterisks and it explains, they understand the stats, how it was, how it is and everybody understands the history, we dont understand the history of tennis at all. Its terrible, we dont connect the generations well.

Most Grand Slam titles (men and women)

24 – Court
23 – Williams
22 – Graf
20 – Federer
19 – Wills Moody
18 – Nadal
18 – Evert
18 – Navratilova
15 – Djokovic
14 – Sampras
12 – King
12 – Emerson
11 – Borg
11 – Laver

Thats the thing right Read More – Source

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