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Serena Williams says US Open title would not be diminished by pullouts

With defending champion Bianca Andreescu and top-ranked Ashleigh Barty out of the upcoming US Open, Serena Williams will hope to win the major for the first time since 2014.




Serena Williams believes the withdrawal of some of the world’s top tennis players from this year’s U.S. Open amid the COVID-19 pandemic will not take the shine off a potential record-equalling 24th Grand Slam title for her.

Six of the top 10 women’s players, including defending champion Bianca Andreescu and world number 1 Ash Barty, have dropped out of the Aug. 31-Sept. 13 U.S. Open, boosting Williams’ chance of winning the major for the first time since 2014.

“It still has to be tennis that’s played, asterisks or not,” the six-time U.S. Open champion told reporters on Friday. “I think this whole year deserves an asterisk, because it’s such a special year – history we have never been through in this world.”

“I think we are living a future history lesson. I think regardless, there is always going to be some asterisk by it, because it’s never been done before.

“If you win, it was, like, wow, I was able to win in this crazy circumstance where there was no fans. It was just so sterile and weird, but I mentally came through. It might be a more mental test than anything.”

Williams, who has a history of blood clots and pulmonary embolisms, said she had concerns over travelling to New York and is living in a rented house instead of the official players’ hotel as a precaution.

“I have health issues and I don’t necessarily want to get sick, and if I do, I want the good version,” she said.

“I didn’t want to be in the hotel because I have lung issues and felt it was a big risk for me personally. In a house, I can control more. I needed to put my mind at rest so that I could perform.”

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