Serena Williams vs. Naomi Osaka: Clash of Generations With Common Threads

“I played obscenity,” she told me in an interview in April, avoiding a four-letter word. “I feel like I set my expectations incredibly high, and I feel like after Miami, I wanted to get more, not realistic expectations, but more reasonable expectations for me. And so I took some time off and then started training like a lot, lot, lot, lot, lot, lot, lot, lot, lot, lot.”

Williams surely had Osaka in her mind’s eye during some of those training sessions.

“It was good that I played her, because I kind of know how she plays now,” Williams said Thursday. “I mean, I was breast-feeding at the time, so it was a totally different situation. It was what it was. Hopefully, I won’t play like that again. I can only go up from that match.”

Her fitness and form have certainly improved. She has continued to struggle in regular tour events, but Williams has won 15 of the 16 Grand Slam singles matches she has played in this closely watched comeback season.

“She looks great right now,” Bajin said. “And if you look at her record in Grand Slams, she’s definitely a different player, particularly in a Grand Slam final, than she is in Miami or any other tournament. So I

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