LONDON – Serena Williams said on Saturday that she would never have bet on playing tennis at the age of 39, as she enters the French Open aiming to win a record-equalling 24th major title.
Williams, who is seeded sixth, faces fellow American Kristie Ahn in the first round on Sunday and the three-time French Open winner doesn’t know when she will give up her racquet for good.
“I honestly never thought I would be playing at my age,” Williams said in a video press conference.
“I don’t quite look 39. But, yeah, I don’t know when it’s going to stop for me. When I feel it’s over, it’s over. But I could have guaranteed and pretty much bet my life that I would not have been playing at 39.”
Williams returned a year after giving birth to daughter Alexis Olympia in 2018 to chase Australian Margaret Court’s all-time record of 24 majors. But she has failed in her last four finals – twice each at Wimbledon and the US Open.
Her most recent grand-slam run last month in New York ended at the semi-final stage against Victoria Azarenka.
“I think a semi-final is always great. Is it great for me? Absolutely not,” Williams said. “I’m in a position in my career where I cannot be satisfied. I don’t want to sit here and say, ‘Oh, I’m happy.’ Because I’m not.”
Williams says she is “not at 100 per cent physically” for the French Open due to an Achilles problem but she does not want to be ruled out for a title run.
“Nothing is guaranteed,” she said. “You just have to be really excited about each moment that life gives you because you don’t know if it’s going to be your last.”