Clock ticking as Williams returns to Australian Open

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Melbourne

Serena Williams has had plenty of time to reflect on her quest for a record equalling 24th Grand Slam title while being quarantined in five-star comfort for two weeks ahead of the Australian Open.

Stuck on number 23 for four years, Williams has brushed off failures and near misses at matching Margaret Court’s mark with the self-assurance of someone convinced her time will come.

But time is running out for the 39-year-old American to reach the career milestone that has become one of the sport’s longest running storylines.
So it will be again when play begins on Monday at Melbourne Park.
“It’s good to always have goals that you try to reach and kind of see what happens,” said Williams, who ended her 14-day Covid-19 quarantine with an exhibition match against Naomi Osaka followed by a visit to the zoo with three-year-old daughter Olympia.
Australia has long been a happy place for Williams with seven of her 23 major titles coming at Melbourne Park, including her last in 2017 when she beat sister Venus in the final and later announced she was pregnant.

The ensuing years on court, however, have been barren and turbulent. The winner of 73 career titles, only once in the last four years — a lower level Australian Open tuneup event in 2020 — has Williams celebrated a win.
Four times — twice at both Wimbledon and U.S. Open — Williams has come agonizingly close to that 24th Slam, only to be denied at the final hurdle.—APP