Serena Williams has Margaret Court plan ahead of Naomi Osaka Australian Open semi-final

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Serena Williams is planning to “win all the Grand Slams that she can win” claims her long-time coach Patrick Mouratoglou. The 39-year-old is one win away from the Australian Open final as she bids to win a record-equalling 24th singles Slam.

Australian Margaret Court boasts the all-time record of 24 Slams with Serena having racked up 23 since her first appearance at a major when she reached the second round of the Australian Open in 1998.

The 39-year-old has won the Melbourne title eight times since then, an Open Era record, but has been looking to tie Court ever since last triumphing on the Rod Laver Arena back in 2017.

The American great has lost four Slam finals since then, all at Wimbledon and the US Open, and her semi-final opponent on Thursday (4.30am UK time) represents a rematch of the 2018 New York final.

Serena lost 6-2, 6-4 to Naomi Osaka then and the 23-year-old Japanese has since also won the Australian Open, in 2019, and the US Open again in 2020.

The two have not met since their dramatic meeting in the US Open final when Serena was involved in a furious row with tournament officials, with both her and Osaka left in tears after the match.

And as her bid to draw level with Court continues into her 40th career major semi-final against third seed Osaka, Serena’s coach Mouratoglou insists the world No 9’s aim is to add as many Slams to her haul as possible before she retires.

“I think that Serena’s aim is to win all the Grand Slams that she can win,” Mouratoglou said ahead of Serena’s clash with Osaka (3am Wednesday UK time).

“Not one, not two, but as many as she can. We will be preparing for that, before each of them.”

Osaka is looking to win back-to-back Slams after her US Open triumph last year, having missed the French Open after that due to injury.

Mouratoglou, who has been Serena’s coach since June 2012, continued: “I expect a huge battle against Naomi. First they are the two most powerful players, two very physical players.

“I believe that both of them will want this match very strongly, so we can expect that every point will count and will be fought for very hard.

“I expect that the first shot of every rally will be very important because it will allow the players to dictate or not, so you should be ready for a battle of serves and returns.

“I also expect a mental battle as Serena has had a stressful and traumatising experience versus Osaka in the US Open final.

“She will have to overcome that and also win the fight within herself.”

Serena defeated second seed Simona Halep in straight sets in the quarter-finals and said afterwards: “I feel good. I feel like, you know, I’m here and I’m happy to be here.

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“I got to keep going. That’s obviously the goal. Obviously I have an incredible opponent to play, so it would be nice to hopefully keep raising the level of my game. I’m going to have to.

“It’s, like, first of all, I’m in the semi-final. That’s pretty awesome. So that’s exciting.

“And then it doesn’t matter who I’m playing really in the semi-final. It’s a semi=final of a Grand Slam. No one gets there by chance, so I have got to be ready.”

Serena added of Osaka: “I think she’s a very strong player. You know, I feel like she does everything well. She has a good serve, she has a great return, she’s strong on both sides.

“I think, yeah, so like I said, you know, it doesn’t matter who I’m playing in the semi-finals. I mean, people are going to want to try to go to the next round, so it will be an interesting match.

“I think we both have had closure [over the 2018 US Open final], and we have reached out to each other. I have definitely reached out.

“So off the court, it’s hard. I think she’s a great competitor and she’s a cool cat.”

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