A lot of things start at the first month of a new year. There is the start of awards season for example; then we have the beginning of the Grand Slam of tennis. The first of four major tournament involved has just kicked off this week down under. Melbourne Park is alive with world-class pro tennis action once more with the onset of the 2019 Australian Open. In record: 107th edition overall and 51st since the start of the Open Era. And all the world’s tennis deities have assembled to wow spectators anew, among them the amazing Serena Williams herself.
BBC News reports that American tennis darling Serena Williams has returned to the Australian Open to commence her quest for Grand Slam win number 24, to match the all-time record of legend Margaret Court whose wins span both pre- and Open Eras. To do just that, she began with an inspired victory on her first match of this year’s tournament against Tatjana Maria of Germany with 6-0, 6-2 on the hard surface of Melbourne Park’s Rod Laver Arena. Not even the 37-year-old’s ongoing concerns with deep vein thrombosis – for which she wore compression stockings – could dampen her spirits at court.
Of course, playing at the Australian especially in recent years will always have Serena at the highest spirits as one can expect of her. Everyone knows the story of her campaign in Melbourne two years ago in 2017. She got her 23rd Grand Slam title there, and not long afterward it was revealed that she was already well into pregnancy during the tournament period, about eight to nine weeks by the time she won the championship. By September 2017 she would give birth to daughter Alexis Olympia Ohanian, with fiancé Reddit co-founder Alexis Ohanian. They were later married in November.
Following her win against Maria this Tuesday, January 15, the 16th seeded Serena Williams expressed just how happy she was to be back in Melbourne, citing many happy memories there. “It was literally the best win of my career, so it’s just good to get back. I’m glad that I was able to come out and do what I needed to do,” she remarked. “The last time I was here I was pregnant and playing at the same time, so it’s kind of weird walking back on by myself this time.” During the match itself, Serena breezed through Set 1 in 18 minutes and fired a total of 22 winners, which are either shots that the opponent cannot reach or serves that are improperly returned.
Serena’s current victory record at the Australian Open is seven titles since 2017. She will be facing Eugenie Bouchard of Canada as her next opponent.
Image courtesy of Fox Sports