The four-time Olympic champ fell in the semi-finals of the Australian Open last week, her on-court farewell wave to fans prompting retirement chatter. Not so fast, says her French coach.
Serena Williams is not done yet.
That’s according to her longtime tennis coach Patrick Mouratoglou, who spoke out this week after his charge’s run to the Australian Open semi-finals, where the American lost to eventual champion Naomi Osaka, 6-3, 6-4.
“She doesn’t quit,” Mouratoglou told PEOPLE magazine. “I don't think she will stop until she at least wins a Grand Slam, because she came back to win Grand Slams.”
Mouratoglou is referencing Serena’s return after the birth of daughter Olympia in September 2017. Since then she has reached four major finals – Wimbledon and the U.S. Open in both 2018 and 2019 – as well as another two semi-finals, at the U.S. Open this past September and at the Australian Open, where she lost to Osaka.
Williams is one Slam win away from equalling the all-time record of 24, though she owns the Open Era record at 23 (Steffi Graf won 22).
Serena’s future in the sport was much discussed after Williams stopped and waved to the Melbourne crowd after losing to Osaka, placing one hand over her heart. Later that day, she exited her media conference with tears in her eyes, though she said if she was contemplating retirement, she wouldn’t share as much.
“If I ever say farewell, I wouldn't tell anyone (smiling). So...” Williams said. Following the answer to the next question, she got up from the dais, saying, “I’m done.”
The next major events on the tennis calendar are the French Open in late May and Wimbledon, set to be held in early July.
"I don't think she planned (retirement) for this certain moment. She's dedicated all her life to tennis since she was a kid. So the day she will retire, she will feel like she's giving an end to 40 years of a life." - Serena's coach Patrick Mouratoglou to PEOPLE magazine
Williams will turn 40 in late September. The five-time Olympian has four Games medals to her name, all of them gold: Singles at London 2012, and doubles with sister Venus at Sydney 2000, Beijing 2008, and London. Both sisters have voiced a want to play at Tokyo 2020 this coming July.
“If she can have some Olympic gold medals, she would be extremely happy, too, because that's also a great achievement for any athlete in any sport,” Mouratoglou told Olympic Channel in an exclusive interview in November 2020. “Serena's goals have not changed since she came back to tennis after giving birth: She still feels that she can win Grand Slams.”
Serena is next signed up to play at the Miami Open in late March, where she is an eight-time champion. She posted a heartfelt message to her fans after her loss in Australia: