Issuing a warning to Serena Williams, US great Chris Evert has said the former world number one and new mom would lack some of her trademark intimidation factor when she makes a return to the tennis court.
Last month, Serena had revealed that she has set an ‘outrageous’ goal for making a comeback at the Australian Open in January, something which will push her Grand Slam total to an all-time record-tying 24 titles.
However, Evert feels the 23-time Grand Slam champion might find her comeback tough as the standards in women’s tennis have risen since Williams stepped off from the game.
“I think that this whole year, the level has gone up because Serena hasn’t been dominant and the other players have all felt that they had a shot at it, at the number one ranking,” Sport24 reported.
Evert, who is also an ambassador for this month’s WTA Finals in Singapore, added, “I think that because of that challenge, they have improved in the physical and the mental part of it because they’ve all had a shot at it and they’ve pushed each other and that’s why there have been so many different winners. So I think the level will have improved by the time Serena comes back.”
The tennis great said that no one knows how American tennis star Serena would feel on her comeback, whether the motherhood would distract her or going to motivate her more.
“Or how being a mother emotionally will pull at her and will it take her away from tennis? There’s so many elements here that we don’t know about Serena and her comeback. I think the other players have gotten better and I think they’re not going to be as intimidated when Serena comes back,” Evert said.
Serena was blessed with a baby girl, Alexis Olympia Ohanian, on September 1.