Smith Court backs Serena for major record

EUTERS – Lamenting the “boring” state of the women’s game, Australian tennis legend Margaret Smith Court says she expects Serena Williams to break her all-time grand slam singles record.

Smith Court dominated women’s tennis in the 1960s and 70s in very much the fashion that Williams does today, landing 24 majors including 11 Australian championships across the amateur and professional era.

A supreme athlete, Smith Court also completed the coveted calendar-year grand slam in 1970, a feat that eluded Williams last season when the American suffered a shock semi-final loss to Roberta Vinci at the US Open.

Williams will continue her quest for a 22nd grand slam crown on Monday when she defends her sixth Australian Open title at Melbourne Park.

Smith Court has challenged Williams’ rivals to step up, but suspects the 34-year-old world No.1 will add to her grand slam haul – and equal Steffi Graf’s open-era tally of 22 singles majors in the process – then likely match her’s as well.

“Williams is a great player. More with her than other girls it is her power. She has a great serve,” Smith Court told the BBC.

“Unless there’s some really young ones coming through that cause upsets, you can’t see any reason why she shouldn’t.”

The Australian great even gives Williams a shot at achieving her own calendar-year slam but says the US dominator “can’t be not playing well, everything has to be right”.

Smith Court can’t say everything is right about the women’s game these days, saying she much prefers watching the top men like Swiss stylists Roger Federer and co because they still often venture to the net and play more attackingly.

“I think women’s tennis is a little bit boring with just hitting up and down all the time,” said the 73-year-old.

“I hope it goes back more to the artistry side of volleying. Billie Jean (King) and I were much more aggressive I think than a lot of players today.

“The men’s game is very exciting in the top four or so and you’d like to see that a little bit more in the women.”

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