Serena Williams has never believed in the value of keeping expectations low. But if there was ever a time when she was going to accept something less than her best, it might have been in 2018 and 2019. In 2017, just before turning 36, she gave birth to her first child. Major-winning mothers have been few and far between. And 36-year-old mothers on tour? Serena was entering new territory.
> Naturally, she entered it undaunted.
After playing just seven matches over the first six months of 2018, she reached the Wimbledon final. Then, after playing three matches over the summer, she reached the US Open final. When 2019 began, Serena seemed ready to take her place on the sport’s mountaintop again.
“I always expect to reach the sky, and anything below it is not good enough for me,” Serena said at the Australian Open. “I just think now that I’m going in the right direction.”
A week later, when Serena beat world No. 1 Simona Halep in the fourth round, she sounded as hungry for success as a tour rookie: “Each day, each match, each tournament I’m learning something,” Williams said. “I think today I’m just learning that I can—I have to fight for titles. I have to fight for matches. Actually, I don’t have any titles yet, but I&rsqu