“I should have been at like 30 or 32 (grand slam singles titles),” Williams told CNN’s Christiane Amanpour.
“I should have had it (the record), really, I’ve had many opportunities to have it. But I’m not giving up.”
Williams was forced to miss January’s Australian Openfollowing the advice of her medical team, announcing in December that she wasn’t “where I need to be physically to compete.”
Speaking to Amanpour in Paris, Williams said she will play at the French Open in May — the next grand slam in the tennis calendar — if her body allows.
“Paris is one of my favorite cities, and I actually love the clay. So we’ll see what happens. Hopefully if my body is holding up, then I’ll definitely be there.”
Changing the narrative
Williams’ rise from a young girl learning to play tennis on dilapidated courts in Compton, California, to become one of the most successful and decorated athletes in history is the stuff of legend.
Now immortalized in the Hollywood film “King Richard” — which Williams and her sister Venus executive produced — their father was pivotal in the duo’s development as players.
Played by Will Smith, the film shows how Richard Williams catapulted his daughters to tennis stardom.
Often portrayed as a divisive and eccentric character, Williams told CNN how the sisters aimed to change the narrative around their dad.
“Unfortunately, entering a new sport where it’s predominantly, you know, White and having my dad have like this villain character, when it just wasn’t true, just having to deal with that my entire career, from day one to the very end, was just really important for us just to tell the truth,” she said.
You know, in order to be an athlete, especially in a single sport, it takes a lot of work, and it takes a lot of dedication. And I look at my daughter and I say, ‘Wow, I don’t think I could do what my dad did every single day.’ It’s a lot of work.”
Serena’s older sister Venus paved the way, turning professional one year earlier than her, winning seven grand slam singles titles so far in her career. Venus still competes on the tour, aged 41.
Initially, Serena lived in Venus’ shadow.
My sister was much better than me. I was not very good growing up. And so, everyone was focused on Venus. And in the film, it goes into that, how when we had an opportunity to have better coaches, they saw that Venus was the one.
“And so, that was devastating for me … but helpful. Because if that hadn’t happened, I wouldn’t have had the career that I have because I felt like I just had to prove and just had to win.”