Former world No.1s, Serena Williams and Angelique Kerber will meet in the final of The Championships, Wimbledon on Saturday in what will be a repeat of the 2016 final which Williams won in straight sets.
After giving birth to her daughter 10 months ago, Williams will bid to become only the fourth player to return from maternity leave and win a Grand Slam – an exclusive Grand Slam moms club, to which Margaret Court, Evonne Goolagong Cawley and Kim Clijsters belong.
The American will also seek to equal Margaret Court’s longstanding all-time record of 24 Grand Slam titles with a win over Kerber. Although, Williams has said that hasn’t crossed her mind this fortnight.
“To be perfectly honest, I haven’t thought about that this tournament. Not even once actually. In fact, I’ve probably forget about it,” the 36-year-old said.
Williams leads Kerber, 6-2 in their head-to-head. Their last two encounters were Grand Slam finals, back in 2016. Kerber won the first Slam – the Australian Open – in three sets and Williams won the second at Wimbledon.
Despite the superior lead in career meetings, the seven-time Wimbledon winner says she would leave nothing to chance as it would be the match of her life.
“It’s her [Kerber] second final in three years, is that right? That’s wildly impressive,” Williams said. “Believe me, I know she wants to go out there and win. So do I. She’s playing so well. I think she’s incredibly confident. Yeah, I have to be ready for the match of my life.”
Kerber, meanwhile, will look to add to her two Grand Slam titles and claiming a win in Saturday’s final would be ‘special’.
“It would be really special to win,” Kerber, who’s seeded 11th, said. “But it’s still a long way off. I know that I have to play my best tennis in the final.”
While pregnancy and its after-effect kept Serena Williams out in 2017 and the early parts of 2018, a terrible lack of form hit Kerber. The German entered the 2017 season ranked No.1 in the world, but fell way out of the top 20 at the end of season. However, her resurgence, just like Serena’s, has been remarkable.
“With 2016, all the success, 2017, with a few up and downs, to coming back this year, I think I learned so many things about me,” Kerber said.
Williams and Kerber have dropped only one set at SW19 so far and they both produced exceptional displays in the semis to set up this blockbuster showdown.
However, whoever wins on Saturday isn’t what matters. What matters is that, for both women, an incredible comeback has been completed!