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Serena Williams needs one more Slam to equal Steffi Graf’s record haul. Can her controversial coach help get her over the line?


AT 34, Serena Williams is old for a tennis champion. The cartilage in her knees has started to wear away, so the bones rub against each other when she runs. In June, she lost the French Open final to a relative newcomer, 22-year-old Spaniard Garbiñe Muguruza, after struggling with a thigh injury. At this stage in a career, most professional players retire, at peace with the idea that they can’t continue competing for Grand Slam titles.

SLAM-FEST : Williams has been on a phenomenal run since hiring Mouratoglou as her coach.

But Williams, the top-ranked woman in the world, isn’t thinking about retiring. Instead, when she steps onto the grass courts of Wimbledon for her first match of this year’s tournament in late June, she will likely be thinking of a woman who hasn’t played professional tennis for almost 17 years. On August 13, 1999, Steffi Graf ended her career at the age of 30, having won a record 22 Grand Slam titles, including that year’s French Open. No woman has won as many Slams since professional players first went up against amateurs in 1968. Less than a month after Graf retired, 17-year-old Williams won the U.S. Open, the first of her 21 Slams. Two more and she’ll be, on paper at least, the greatest women’s player in history. Williams’s body might be begging her to let go of that dream, but she isn’t listening.

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PUTIN'S SECRET WEAPON Every day, the red line ticks up and down. Some weeks it trends higher, others lower. It measures the most important vital sign of Russia’s body politic: the popularity of Vladimir Putin. In the Kremlin they call it the reiting, the Russian pronunciation of rating and the reiting rules supreme over all the nation’s political and economic decisions. When it stands as it did in late May at a comfortable eighty two percent, Russia’s elite breathes easy. When it dips as low at sixty two percent, as it did in 2011 when Putin announced his return for a third presidential term every resource is scrambled to reverse the trend at any cost. In recent times, that has meant anything from staging a lavish Olympic Games to taking the country to war in Ukraine and Syria.