Many tipped Serena Williams to find it tough after returning to tennis from maternity leave. But the 36-year-old made it all the way to the Wimbledon final before defeat to Angelique Kerber.
However, that’s unlikely to be her last shot at a Grand Slam title. While she fell just short this time around, there’s reason to believe Serena can return to dominance. That’s because…
She was terrific up until the final
While the final ended in a fairly comfortable 6-3, 6-3 win for Kerber, there’s an argument that this wasn’t so much a gulf in class as simply an off day for Serena.
The Michigan native lost just a single set en route to the final, despite a few tough fixtures, including a clash with world number 10 Julia Gorges – who was despatched 6-2, 6-4 in the semi-finals.
And it’s clear that she’s still returning to the height of her powers. Her first post-maternity slam (at the French Open) saw her win three matches before being forced to pull out in the fourth round.
In truth, defeat to Kerber may simply have just been too much too soon. Serena may frequently seem like a winning machine, but she has had the odd underwhelming final display before. Speaking of which…
Serena always recovers from defeat
While she’s among the most naturally talented Women’s player of all time, perhaps Serena’s most impressive facet has been her resilience in the face of defeat.
Four of her last five Grand Slam final defeats have been followed by victory in the following final. Even 2016’s back-to-back final losses were quickly put behind her by Serena’s Wimbledon triumph – over Kerber, no less.
That bouncebackability was also seen in this tournament. One set down against underdog Camila Giorgi in the quarter-finals, Serena produced a gritty comeback against the Italian – complete with a series of ferocious backhanders.
She knows how to beat the top players
Serena has faced three of the current world top 10 in Grand Slam finals, and beaten each of them. As well as one victory over Kerber, she’s seen off Garbine Muguruza and Caroline Wozniaki – all of them since 2014.
With the experience and confidence of having beaten many of the regular finalists on the biggest stage, nobody will be more optimistic about bouncing back than Serena herself.
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