Why Can’t Serena Williams Win 24th Grand Slam?

AP PHOTO: Serena Williams has been beaten in the US Open women’s final.

Four times in the past 14 months, Serena Williams, the greatest tennis player of all time and the most famous working mom in sports, has entered a Grand Slam final with the chance to tie history. All four times, inexplicably and almost unbelievably, she could not close the deal when it mattered most.

Saturday evening, it was another straight-set loss, this time 6-3, 7-5 to Canadian teenager Bianca Andreescu, who wasn’t even ranked in the top 200 when Serena started what is proving to be this quixotic quest to reach Margaret Court’s 24 Grand Slam titles last summer.

This is as good a time as any to ask the obvious question: What in the world in going on?

Now nearly 38, does Serena want her historic 24th Grand Slam title too much? Almost certainly. Is she thinking about it too much? Absolutely. Is she letting her nerves get to her? It appears so.

And, perhaps as important, is it also possible that an entire generation or two of young tennis players has learned how to win with ferocity and confidence by watching none other than Serena Williams over these past 20-some years? Without a doubt. In fact, they’ve learned so well that they then walk out onto the court and crush her dream.

One of the great joys of covering and watching Serena for more than 20 years is knowing that this extraordinary tennis player also is a real person: fascinating, funny, whimsical. She has shared more of her life with us than most great athletes ever do. And now we’re seeing that this epic athlete is encountering some significant trouble in one specific area of her life: winning that elusive 24th major title.

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SOURCE: USA Today, Christine Brennan