Since Serena Williams returned to the court after maternity leave, the expectation in every Grand Slam is that she will finally equal Margaret Court’s record of 24 majors.
Widely agreed to be the greatest of all time, that one last milestone has squirmed out of Williams' grasp so far.
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She’s had the opportunity four times.
And four times she’s been beaten by a younger, quicker, fitter rival – in straight sets at that.

Simona Halep, Serena Williams, Wimbledon

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Angelique Kerber crushed her 6-3, 6-3 in the 2018 Wimbledon final.
Naomi Osaka did it 6-2, 6-4 in a notorious US Open final.
Simona Halep put on a superlative display to win 6-2, 6-2 in the 2019 Wimbledon final.
And Bianca Andreescu held off a second-set resurgence to win the 2019 US Open final 6-3, 7-5.
Up until the start of 2020, Williams had not got a single title under her belt since her return – almost unheard of for her.

US Open: Serena Williams favourite to win record-equalling Slam

But the beginning of this year had some indications that she was finally going to prove herself the greatest tennis champion of all time, winning the singles title in Auckland as top seed (and getting to the final in the doubles too, along with best pal Caroline Wozniacki, now retired).
After the tour resumed following the coronavirus-induced lockdown, she headed to Kentucky for the Top Seed Open, beating big sister Venus in an enthralling round of 16 clash before losing to Shelby Rogers in the quarter-final. Some of the match sharpness that had been missing as she sought full fitness is starting to seep back into the Serena game.
She has been very clear that she will be in New York and looking to win her seventh title there - and it could be her best chance yet, bearing in mind the number of top players who have already fallen by the wayside due to the Covid-19 travel restrictions and risks.
With no Ashleigh Barty, no Simona Halep, no Elina Svitolina, no Belinda Bencic, no Kiki Bertens and no defending champion Bianca Andreescu, Serena must have a sneaking feeling that this really could be her time.
Achieving a quartet of Grand Slam finals after giving birth and suffering a life-threatening embolism shows just how determined Williams remains.

Serena Williams - US Open 2019

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But with the number 24 being bandied about once again, perhaps it is worth remembering that Court’s record is ultimately an artificial one, set when the fields were smaller and not all the top players would travel to all the Slams. Eleven of Court’s Grand Slam titles came in her native Australia.
It would be very fitting if Williams finally cracks that magic 24 barrier at Flushing Meadows next month.
But if she doesn't, the absence of one last Grand Slam title makes no difference at all to the Williams legacy.
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