Everyone has learned over the years never to doubt Serena Williams. She’s always found a way to come back 100% from injuries, some more severe than others. It’s hard not to remember Serena’s run in 2011; after missing almost a year, she came back like she never left–winning Stanford and Toronto before coming up one match short in New York, falling to Samantha Stosur in the final of the US Open.
It’s no secret that clay isn’t Serena’s preferred surface, but the 23-time Grand Slam champion wouldn’t rush back to play unless she felt like she could realistically win the French Open. In her match against Naomi Osaka in Miami, it was clear just how far away she was from what we’ve all come to expect from her. Against Kristýna Plíšková on Tuesday, she showed signs that her game is trending in the right direction.
The notion on Serena has always been she’s most dangerous when she’s allowed to work herself into the draw. Even though circumstances were much different entering this year’s tournament, she did get a draw that allows her to work herself into to form. Most importantly, she has showed that her will to win and compete never went away either. Even after all she’s been through, she’s still hungry for more Grand Slam trophies.
Up next for Serena is talented Australian Ashleigh Barty. The only meeting between the two came at the 2014 Australian Open when Barty was just 17 years old. Serena won comfortably 6-2 6-1 in under an hour, but was complimentary at the time of the Australian’s game, saying, “I was ready because I know she is such a good player and has a bright future.”
Just seeing Serena back on the court is considered a win, but you’d be crazy to think that she doesn’t have a chance to win her fourth title at Roland Garros. Realistically, Wimbledon is most likely her best chance to get #24, but don’t be surprised if the tournament ends with Serena holding up the trophy once again.