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Serena to play fewer tournaments in future to aid grand slam quest

Serena Williams

Serena Williams

Serena Williams plans to play fewer tournaments in the future to aid her quest to win more grand slam titles, according to her coach Patrick Mouratoglou.

The 35-year-old American won her 23rd grand slam title on Saturday at the Australian Open, breaking the open-era record she held jointly with Steffi Graf.

Serena will now manage her schedule as she chases down the all-time leader Margaret Court, the Australian with a record of 24 grand slam titles.

“Mentally she has to stay fresh and excited when the grand slams start, because they are the goal,” Mouratoglou said after Serena’s 6-4, 6-4 victory over sister Venus gave her a seventh Australian Open title.

“So we have a lighter schedule – not lighter than last year, which would be difficult (when she played just eight events and did not play after September) – but lighter than the year before (11 events).”

At one stage in 2016, Serena held the world number one ranking based only on seven events over a 52-week period.

Germany’s Angelique Kerber overtook her when she won the US Open last September but Serena will return to top spot when the rankings are updated today.

Serena has traditionally played fewer tournaments than most top players, but since she usually reaches the final, she is able to pick and choose. From the start of 2012 to the end of 2016, Serena won 288 matches, second only to Agnieska Radwanska, who won 289.

But while the Pole lost 107 matches in that period, Serena lost just 29.

Mouratoglou said Indian Wells, in March, would be Serena’s next stop but didn’t expect to see her at too many events before the next grand slam, the French Open, which begins on May 29.

“We’ve already done the schedule for the whole year,” Mouratoglou said.

“It doesn’t mean that the schedule is not going to change, it’s meant to adapt to situations. But generally speaking it’s already set for the whole season.”

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