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Patrick Mouratoglou exclusive: Serena Williams' coach not worried about form ahead of French Open
Serena Williams' coach Patrick Mouratoglou is not concerned about her form ahead of the 2021 French Open, adding that the women's game is still all about the 23-time Grand Slam champion.
Williams' preparations for Roland Garros have not gone quite according to script with the American suffering defeat to Nadia Podoroska in her first match at the Internazionali BNL d'Italia in Rome last week before another early exit at the hands of Katerina Siniakova at the Emilia-Romagna Open in Parma.
The former world No 1, who has not claimed a major title since winning the Australian Open in 2017, is still chasing an elusive 24th major to equal Margaret Court's all-time record.
Mouratoglou claims he is not too worried that her preparations for Roland Garros, which starts in less than 10 days time, have not gone according to plan.
"I think she lost because she was not ready," he told Sky Sports. "I don't know, but maybe it was not a good idea to go and play in Parma after losing in Rome because her match in Rome showed a lot of things that still needed to be worked on to be able to compete at the highest level.
"I think it's always interesting to play matches because it gives you a clear vision of where you are, so that was good in that way because we know what she still needs to accomplish in order to be ready for Roland Garros.
"I'm not worried in general because if she does the job she will be ready. It's just about doing the job.
Frenchman Mouratoglou, who has worked with Williams since 2012, points to this year's Australian Open as a prime example of how she has been able to play herself into form during a Slam.
Williams went on to lose to eventual champion, Naomi Osaka, in the semi-finals.
He said: "We have to go on the court, work, and day after day I will see. To be completely honest with you when I saw her before the Australian Open for preparation, I thought 'wow' - a lot of work to get ready. But in a short period of time she was able to really hit great form. She played really well, but unfortunately not through the whole tournament - until the semi-finals.
"She played great tennis, moving well, and it didn't taker her too much time to get ready."
Mouratoglou, who was speaking from his Academy ahead of this year's Ultimate Tennis Showdown 4, remains unconcerned by the strength in depth of women's tennis right now.
Four-time Grand Slam winner Osaka, world No 1 Ashleigh Barty, French Open champion Iga Swiatek and the likes of Sofia Kenin, Aryna Sabalenka, Bianca Andreescu and Coco Gauff are the embodiment of the modern game, while Williams approaches her 40th birthday.
"I'm never scared of the others and I'm not going to start now," Mouratoglou said. "I respect a lot of the other players who are definitely good and there is a lot of depth in the women's game.
"I've always said regarding Serena that it's all about her and it's still all about her.
"The question is, is she able or not to start the Grand Slams being in her top form and able to win? In Australian she was I think 100 per cent ready, really ready to win, but it didn't happen. We'll see how she is in the next couple of tournaments.
"When she gets to the latter stages, the semi-finals and the final, how does she handle the situation and is she able to play her best tennis? The last year she has not been able to play her best in the latter stages."
World number three and 2018 champion Simona Halep has withdrawn from the French Open with a left calf injury.
The Romanian, who lifted her maiden Grand Slam title at Roland Garros, had to be helped off court at the Italian Open after tearing a muscle.
Halep is a three-time finalist at the French Open, which starts on 30 May.
The 29-year-old won Wimbledon in 2019, so will be the defending champion if she is fit for this year's event, which begins on 28 June.
"Withdrawing from a Grand Slam goes against all my instincts and aspirations as an athlete," Halep said.
Halep beat American Sloane Stephens in Paris in 2018 to win the French Open.
She reached the fourth round last year before losing to eventual champion Iga Swiatek.
She retired from her second-round Italian Open match against Angelique Kerber with the injury and a scan revealed a tear.
"Unfortunately the tear in my left calf needs more time to recover and the timeline is just too short," Halep wrote on Twitter.
"The thought of not being in Paris fills me with sadness, but I will focus my energy on recovery."
World number one and 2019 champion Ashleigh Barty also retired from her Italian Open quarter-final with an arm injury.
BBC tennis correspondent Russell Fuller
It is a blow for any tournament to lose a past champion, and Halep already has a special place in the hearts of French tennis fans.
Victory in 2018 followed defeats by Maria Sharapova and Jelena Ostapenko in the finals of 2014 and 2017.
This news was inevitable as soon as Halep confirmed a tear in her calf after stopping so abruptly against Kerber in Rome.
But maybe she can yet make Wimbledon. There are still five weeks until she is due to begin the defence of her title.
McNally is in qualies for Nottingham, which begins on the 6th. Apparently, she elected not to play doubles after being bounced from qualies at the French to play the upcoming event, hoping to qualify for the main draw during the 2nd week of the French.
McNally is indeed in qualies for Nottingham, but she didn't compete with Cori in doubles because of her decision to play qualies next week. The reason she didn't play doubles at the French is that during qualies she suffered an injury and withdrew from doubles. Cori' then asked Venus to take her place and Venus said yes. They lost in the lst round in 3 sets.
https://www.espn.com/tennis/story/_/id/ ... rench-open
I read that ironically enough Coco was the one struggling more, especially in that third set. Thinking it may have been a comfort thing and possibly nerves playing with Venus.
Anyone know when Mixed Doubles draw comes out?