The other day, Serena Williams lost the Australian Open final to Angelique Kerber, the second straight Major where she could have tied Stephanie Graf’s record 22 Majors in the Open Era. While it cannot be argued that the match was anything but an upset, I think we have to cut Serena some slack. There are only two people in the world that know what it is like to win 22 Majors, so the idea that this is easy should be dismissed.
Also, Serena is human. She has emotions and feelings. At 34 years old she is getting into the twilight years of her career where her place in history is more prevalent than ever before. Each match carries more wight; each Major Final is more urgent and pressing. The nerves are completely understandable. Serena is still the favorite to win the rest of the Slams this year and her form has been good in all her matches save the final where nerves got in the way.
I am convinced Serena will get to the 22 Major mark and surpass it in her career, but she must learn to overcome the expectations. Don’t forget that it took three tries for Slam 18 and then she rattled off 19, 20 and 21 in quick succession. I feel that when the 22nd Major is hers, 23 and 24 and maybe even 25 will follow. The pressure is near breaking point and against Serena; arguably the greatest player in history, the 22 Major record doesn’t stand a chance.