U.S. Open competitor Victoria Azarenka toldSI Now that Serena Williams' opponents aren't focused on her quest to win a calendar Gram Slam.
“She’s a living legend, definitely, but I cannot look into that so much when you’re trying to accomplish your own goals,” Azarenka said. “It’s going to get a lot of attention, and it’s history in the making, but from the players’ perspective, I think we take it a little bit more casual than the public.”
According to the International Business Times, Azarenka is the second-favorite behind Williams to win the U.S. Open with 8/1 odds. Azarenka is 3-17 against Williams in her career, including two-consecutive runner-up finishes to Williams at the 2012 and '13 U.S. Opens.
Top-seeded Williams begins her bid to become the first player since Steffi Graf in 1988 to win the Australian Open, French Open, Wimbledon and U.S. Open in the same year on Monday night against unseeded Vitalia Diatchenko of Russia.
Also on the line for Williams is a tie for Graf's professional-era record of 22 Grand Slam singles titles, as well as the opportunity to become the first player in the Open-era with seven U.S. Open championships.
Williams is 48-2 in 2015, with a tour-leading five titles.
- Kayla Lombardo