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'Her motivation hasn't changed': Serena Williams' coach says she'll bounce back better than ever when tennis returns from COVID-19

'Her motivation hasn't changed': Serena Williams' coach says she'll bounce back better than ever when tennis returns from COVID-19
Serena Williams is looking to turn the COVID-19 pandemic into a positive, with the 23-time Grand Slam title winner looking to use the time away to bounce back better than ever.

Speaking to international news agency Reuters, Williams' coach Patrick Mouratoglou said the enforced shutdown of the game has given Williams the chance to rebuild her fitness ahead of the season's eventual return.

Despite reaching four Grand Slam finals since becoming a mother in 2017, Williams has been unable to add to her tally of major titles, and remains one title behind all-time leader Margaret Court, who won 24 Grand Slam titles during her decorated career.

But Williams' French coach Mouratoglou says his charge is ready to return to action, with her motivation as high as ever for top-level success.

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"First of all, it was good for Serena because she had time to rest and her body needed rest," he explained.

"Second, her motivation hasn't changed. She's still as motivated as before to win more Grand Slams."

Mouratoglou is confident Williams, who turns 39 in September, will hit form swiftly upon her return to action, and explained that the most experienced stars, including Williams, Rafael Nadal, Roger Federer and Novak Djokovic, will have an edge over the opposition when play eventually resumes.

"For someone like her, and probably the same for Roger or Rafa or Novak, they have so much experience that being out of competition for a few months doesn't affect their game so much," he explained.

"And we've seen the best, someone like Roger for example, coming back from six months injured and winning a Grand Slam straight away (in 2017). So, only those guys can do that. So for Serena, it'll be fine."

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Mouratoglou's own event venture, the Ultimate Tennis Showdown league, gets underway at his academy in Nice on Saturday. And the coach said he remains concerned about how the younger, up-and-coming players will deal with the ongoing pandemic and the lack of competition.

"I think that for all the players it's extremely challenging because it's a situation that is completely new," he said.

"A tennis player always has a short-term goal with the next tournament coming up. And this is their motivation. This didn't happen during this period and they don't even know when the next tournament is.

"So they have to find other ways to feed their motivation, which is a bit challenging."

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