Back for More: Setting the Serena Standard
By: Nicholas McCarvel
With the early-April sun setting over Daniel Island, Serena Williams climbed into a golf cart the Family Circle Cup winner, for the third time in seven appearances, but it was clear she wanted more.
“I’ll see you next year!”she belted to fans as she was whisked away, her orange top seeming to glow in the fading light.
That’s always been the mantra of the now-veteran Serena, who as the world No. 1 and owner of an impressive 58 career titles is always striving for more – to prove herself once again.
“I never go into a tournament expecting to lose, so I just expect to do the best I can,” Williams told reporters after her victory over Jelena Jankovic in the final last year, Serena’s 22nd match win in Charleston. “I just focus on one tournament at a time.”
Williams looks for a fourth title overall after winning in 2008, 2012 and 2013, having skipped the event between 2009 and 2011. The 32-year-old brings a 15-match win streak onto the court with her this week.
“I love coming here. This is one of my favorite stops on the WTA Tour because Charleston feels like home to me,” Williams said. “The fans are so supportive, the restaurants are great and the tournament so historic. I’m looking forward to defending my title for a second year in a row.”
Williams will not only be chasing tennis balls down on the green clay of the Family Circle Tennis Center, but she’ll be chasing history, as well. Should she win a fourth Cup crown she’ll join the likes of Steffi Graf (four), Martina Navratilova (four) and Chris Evert (eight) as the players with the most titles in tournament history.
“No doubt Serena is the one every other player and fan will be watching,” said tournament manager Eleanor Adams.
Every player including Serena’s older sister, Venus. A year ago the two made history in Charleston by playing each other for the 24th time in their careers and the first since 2009 in a match that drew more than 9,000 fans to center court.
Venus will play in Charleston as well, once again making the tournament one of the few outside of the Grand Slams that both sisters play.
Will Serena be riding off into the sunset again as Family Circle Cup champion?
“When Serena is playing well and she’s healthy, she’s the favorite,” said former player Pam Shriver, an ESPN analyst. “She transitions to this surface as well as anybody. Let’s face it: She’s one of the greatest athletes to ever play the game. She expects to win on every surface.”