Serena Williams has faltered in her quest to equal Margaret Court’s all-time Grand Slam record of 24 titles, with the American coming up short in her last four attempts. The latest setback came at the 2019 U.S. Open women’s singles final when she lost in straight sets to Canadian teenager Bianca Andreescu.

The 23-time women’s singles grand slam champion is arguably one of the greatest in the history of tennis and she will become the first person to achieve the 24 title feat in the Open Era. Williams is keen to reach the summit but has struggled in finals despite putting in clinical performances until summit clash.

Williams had 23 major titles to her name before she took time off from the game to give birth to daughter Alexis Olympia Ohanian. She returned to the court in 2018 and has since made four Grand Slam finals but the American has been unable to get over the line.

Serena Williams was left to contemplate a fourth straight Grand Slam final defeat
Serena Williams AFP / TIMOTHY A. CLARY

The 37-year-old made the finals of Wimbledon and U.S. Open in 2018 where she lost to Angelique Kerber and Naomi Osaka, respectively. Williams again made the summit clash of the same two Grand Slams in 2019, going down to Simona Halep and Andreescu, respectively.

U.S. tennis legend and WTA Tour founder Billie Jean King has no doubt that Williams has the ability to match Court’s record before she hangs up her racket but believes the former world no. 1 has to question herself about her desire for the next two seasons, as she is in the twilight of her career. The American is playing at a high level but her losses now will show other players on the tour that the once unconquerable Williams, especially in finals, can now be beaten.

"She needs, on her own, nobody else, to just ask herself: ‘What do you want from the next year and a half, two years of your life?’ If she still wants to stay in this and still wants to go for the record, then there are certain things she needs to do,” King said during a recent interview, as quoted on Tennis World USA. “But if she wants to, she can still do it.”