Serena Williams Targeting US Open Return From Knee Injury, Agent Says

Tim Daniels@@TimDanielsBRFeatured Columnist IVJuly 16, 2021

US player Serena Williams waves to the fans after withdrawing from her women's singles first round match against Belarus's Aliaksandra Sasnovich on the second day of the 2021 Wimbledon Championships at The All England Tennis Club in Wimbledon, southwest London, on June 29, 2021. - RESTRICTED TO EDITORIAL USE (Photo by Adrian DENNIS / AFP) / RESTRICTED TO EDITORIAL USE (Photo by ADRIAN DENNIS/AFP via Getty Images)
ADRIAN DENNIS/AFP via Getty Images

Jill Smoller, the agent for tennis superstar Serena Williams, said the 23-time Grand Slam champion is hoping to recover from a leg injury in time to play in the 2021 U.S. Open, which begins Aug. 30.

"She's doing great," Smoller told TMZ Sports in an interview released Friday, adding Williams is "just doing rehab" after she was forced to withdraw from the Wimbledon Championships in late June.

Williams, who previously announced she'd skip the Tokyo Olympics, is one major title away from tying Margaret Court for the all-time women's record of 24 Grand Slam singles titles. She's also captured 14 doubles and two mixed doubles titles at majors.

The 39-year-old American has come close in recent years, reaching four Grand Slam finals and two semifinals since 2018, but she last captured a major title at the 2017 Australian Open.

She's won the U.S. Open six times and, while her last triumph in New York came in 2014, she's reached at least the semifinals in her last five appearances at the season's final major tournament.

In February, Williams confirmed the pursuit of Court's record was a key focus.

"It's definitely on my shoulders and on my mind," she told reporters. "I think it's good to be on my mind...I'm used to it now."

Injuries have become a factor for the longtime fan favorite, however, as she's also dealt with Achilles and shoulder ailments in recent years.

Williams is still a threat to capture any tournament she enters, but it wouldn't be a surprise to see her take on a lighter schedule in future years with most of the focus on the Grand Slam events in order to maximize her chances of staying healthy for the two-week majors.

In the short term, it's unclear whether she'll recover in time to play in any of the U.S. Open Series warm-up tournaments before the Grand Slam gets underway in six weeks.