Serena is ready for the US Open but Mouratoglou questions if it can take place
Patrick Mouratoglou, the coach of Serena Williams, said the former world No 1 is practising hard and will be ready for the US Open. But is unsure if the tournament will happen next month due to the Covid-19 pandemic.
Williams needs one more Grand Slam title to equal the all-time record of 24 held by the Australian Margaret Court and Mouratoglou said the American’s sights were firmly focused on achieving her goals.
“Serena is practising of course,” Mouratoglou told Tennis Majors. “She came back to tennis to win Grand Slams. Otherwise she would be at home with her family, which she is doing also, but she would do this and run her business full-time. She came back only for that. It’s her home grand slam, so she wants to play and she wants to do well, so she’s preparing for that.”
The US Open is still hoping to stage its event as scheduled, from August 31 to September 13, albeit with no mixed doubles and reduced doubles draws. But the increasing numbers of Covid-19 cases in the US have cast doubt on whether it will happen and Mouratoglou said Williams was as aware as anyone about the uncertainty of the event happening.
You don’t want to just see the American championships
The Frenchman said the US Open should only happen if players from every country are free to travel to the US and if conditions for players and everyone involved are safe.
“I think that questions a lot the fact that it should happen or not,” he said. “I think it starts to be difficult for the US Open to take place if you can’t have, say, South Americans or Australians. Europeans, a lot of them maybe will decide not to go because they want to play also Madrid, Rome and Roland-Garros. If there is some quarantine there from the US to Europe, then they cannot come. You don’t want to see the American championships at the US Open. You want to see a Grand Slam with all the countries.”
Unlike Wimbledon, which cancelled this year’s event in the knowledge it had pandemic insurance in place, the US Open has no such financial security and the USTA is desperate to hold the event, even if it has already been confirmed that fans and media will not be allowed on site.
Mouratoglou appreciates that the USTA is in a difficult position.
“I think there is there is always the hope that things are going to get better,” he said. “So I think they’re right to wait because you never know. But the more time passes, the more it is in doubt, from my point of view, because things are getting worse. At some point it’s difficult to run a Grand Slam in those conditions.”