More than a decade separate Williams’ triumphs at Roland Garros — her first victory coming in 2002. This year she will face her foes once again with Romania’s Simona Halep hoping to improve on last year’s runners-up spot. Halep’s progress has not gone

That’s the view of her coach Patrick Mouratoglou who says Williams is well set to surpass Steffi Graf’s Open Era record of 22 grand slam singles titles.

The 33-year-old will go into the French Open, which starts Sunday, aiming to secure a third title on the clay courts of Roland Garros and the 20th grand slam success of her career.

Williams, who arrived in Paris 12 months ago as the defending champion, was stunned by Spain’s Garbiñe Muguruza in the second round.

It was not just the defeat which shocked the world of tennis but also the nature of it.

Williams, the world No. 1, was beaten 6-2 6-2 in just over an hour in a contest where she made 29 unforced errors.

She also won fewer games than in any of her 288 previous grand slam matches.

Such a performance led to her conqueror, Muguruza, telling reporters that “the new generation [has to] come through and I think now is the moment.”

That bold prediction quickly fell flat in terms of Williams having her power curtailed.

True she exited Wimbledon and suffered a viral illness which forced her to withdraw from the doubles tournament with her sister, Venus, but Serena quickly returned to form by winning the U.S. Open.

Then in January she took her tally of grand slams to 19 by winning in Melbourne.

Her victory over world No. 2 Maria Sharapova was the 16th time in succession she had beaten the Russian.

 

“I think she can improve a lot,” said Mouratoglou. “It’s incredible to say that when you look at how good she is and all the achievements she’s made for so many years.

“Everybody can improve — even the world No. 1 can improve and she can.”

Williams turns 34 in September, but Mouratoglou has tasked the American with improving her volleying.

“I think her game at the net for sure can improve and the transition from the baseline to the net can be improved a lot,” he said.

“Her swing volley can be better, sometimes she’s hesitating to move forward and she plays one more shot when she could come up and finish it with a swing volley.”

If there is work to be done on her volleying, Mouratoglou pinpointed her serve and tactical nous as the bedrock of her game.

“There are a lot of areas but of course she’s the best server, she’s the most powerful player, she probably has the strongest ground strokes on both sides.

“People see her as a powerful player which is true, but she understands the game really well.”

 

More than a decade separate Williams’ triumphs at Roland Garros — her first victory coming in 2002.

This year she will face her foes once again with Romania’s Simona Halep hoping to improve on last year’s runners-up spot.

Halep’s progress has not gone unnoticed — the world No. 3 has impressed Mouratoglou over the past year with the Frenchman extolling the virtues of her movement on the court.

The likes of Halep and American Madison Keys are two players who Mouratoglou has picked out to become stars in the coming years — but they may have to wait their turn.

He remains determined to ensure Williams dominates while her body remains able to withstand the rigor at the very top.

Not that she requires much persuasion.


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