In celebration of Serena Williams’ history-making 23rd Slam title, NikeCourt and Jordan Brand present two color versions of the exclusive women’s NikeCourt Flare.
Additionally, the celebratory pack includes the AJ1 SW collaboration, complete with Serena’s personal logo on the tongue and heel.
The NikeCourt x Jordan Brand commemorative box is adorned with Jordan’s iconic Jumpman on the left lid and Williams’ “SW” logo on the right. Beneath each lies graphics which underscore the two champions’ shared athletic achievement. Under the Jumpman lies the number ’23,’ the symbolic tie between MJ and Serena. Additionally, six words (one for each of MJ’s championships) — creative, determined, innovative, classic, performance and stylish — appear as reminder of both athletes’ winning mindset. Beneath Williams’ logo is a flowing pattern highlighting her career. It is intentionally unfinished, allowing for Serena’s drive for continued success.
Growing up in Compton, California, it’s not expected that you’re going to be the greatest tennis player who ever lived, one of the greatest — if not the greatest — athletes in the history of the sport. It’s a situation that comes along once every hundred years.
Serena has had something special ever since I saw her at eight years old, [when] I hit a few balls with her and her sister. But I didn’t realize at the time that she’d be as great as she is. She has this will — more will than any other male or female player I’ve ever seen. Even though she has accomplished a lot, she wants more. That’s something that separates a champion from a truly great champion. She wasn’t satisfied when she got as many majors as her sister. She wasn’t satisfied when she caught up to [past champions] and she doesn’t seem satisfied now that she’s claimed the record for singles title in the Open Era. She wants to be considered the best ever.
Even though she has accomplished a lot, she wants more. That’s something that separates a champion from a truly great champion.
She’s the player who’s gotten out of more trouble, out of more match-point situations, out of more match-game situations; she’s in another gear, mentally. It’s hard to dig deep in your soul to find what it is that allows you to continue — to not only want it but to train for it and accept it. When that happens, people may treat you differently. They may resent it. They may have trouble accepting it, may not respect it, so you put yourself out on an island a little bit.
Early in her career, she didn’t play a great deal of tournament tennis, and a lot of people around the sport thought that hurt her. Ironically, it ended up helping her play as long as she has, because there’s still mental freshness to her that has allowed her to maybe even improve in her 30s, which is extremely hard to do in tennis.
She’s been able to find that comfort level, where she’s been able to excel and bring out the best in her tennis. There’s a lot that she’s been able to show younger players and there’s a lot to be learned from what she has done.
Serena and Venus will meet on Saturday in ninth all-Williams Grand Slam final. Serena will hit the court wearing the NikeCourt Dry dress:
Follow our Australian Open coverage.
Day 1 – first round
– Defending champion Angelique Kerber struggles but gets past Lesia Tsurenko in three sets.
– Number 4 seed Simona Halep is ousted by world number 52 Shelby Rogers 6-3 6-1.
– Playing in his first Grand Slam match since he became world number one, Andy Murray defeats Illya Marchenko in straight sets.
– Stan Wawrinka and Marin Cilic survive five-set scare against respectively Martin Klizan and Jerzy Janowicz
– In his return to competition, Federer loses a set, but wins his first match since Wimbledon last year.
– Aussie teen Alex De Minaur, making is Grand Slam debut, fought back from a match point down to beat Gerald Melzer in a five-set marathon.
Day 2 – first round
– World number 2 Serena Williams and Novak Djokovic are safely through to second round despite challenging first round matches -on paper. 6-4 6-3 for Serena over Belinda Bencic, 6-1 7-6 6-2 for Djokovic over Fernando Verdasco.
– No trouble for Rafael Nadal who cruises past Florian Mayer 6-3 6-4 6-4. He next faces 2006 runner-up Marcos Baghdatis.
– Big troubles on the contrary for David Goffin who needs five sets to defeat young American Reilly Opelka.
– Playing in his 60th consecutive Grand Slam tournament, number 28 seed Feliciano Lopez lost to Fabio Fognini in straight sets.
– 37-year-old Ivo Karlovic fired 75 aces! to overcome Horacio Zeballos in a five-set marathon 6-7 3-6 7-5 6-2 22-20.
Day 3 – second round
– Another hard-fought win for world number one Angelique Kerber who defeats fellow German Carine Witthoeft 6-2 6-7 6-2. She’s turning 29 today.
– Garbine Muguruza booked her place in the third round with a clean 7-5 6-4 win over Samantha Crawford.
– Andy Murray and Stan Wawrinka cruise into the third round with straight sets wins over Andrey Rublev and Steve Johnson.
– Andreas Seppi rallies from 2 sets down, saves a match point and downs Kyrgios 1-6 6-7 6-4 6-2 10-8.
– Like Seppi, Mischa Zverev came back from the dead to defeat John Isner 6-7 6-7 6-4 7-6 9-7.
– Sydney runner-up Dan Evans registers the biggest win of his career so far with a four-set victor over Marin Cilic.
– Matches to follow on day 4:
Naomi Osaka – Johanna Konta
Lucie Safarova – Serena Williams
Marcos Baghdatis – Rafael Nadal
Radek Stepanek -David Goffin
Benoît Paire – Fabio Fognini
Only two days to go to the first Slam of the season! Who do you think will win? Check out her Australian Open 2017 preview:
Andy Murray and Novak Djokovic are once again the big favorites for the title.
5-time Australian Open finalist Andy Murray, who begins his campaign on Monday against 93-ranked Ilya Marchenko, has a quite easy route to the quarterfinals where he could meet Kei Nishikori or Roger Federer.
Novak Djokovic will launch his bid for a record seventh Australian Open title with a challenging first round match against Fernando Verdasco, who missed 5 match points against the Serb in Doha last week. Grigor Dimitrov could wait in the fourth round, before a clash against Dominic Thiem in the quarters.
The only two other players who could, in my opinion, capture the title this year are Stan Wawrinka and Milos Raonic. Unpredictable on the ATP tour, Wawrinka is always consistent come Grand Slam time; while Raonic has improved a lot in the last year and is not a one-weapon only player anymore.
Players to watch:
Rafael Nadal struggled to get back to form since his injury, but had a decent start of the season with a win at the Abu Dhabi exhibition and a quarterfinal in Brisbane. He could face Alexander Zverev in the third round, Gaël Monfils in the fourth round and Milos Raonic in the quarterfinals.
Roger Federer will play for the first time since last year’s Wimbledon. Seeded 17, he has not won a Slam title since Wimbledon 2012. He could face Tomas Berdych in the third round, and then Kei Nishikori and Andy Murray.
Andy Murray  – Kei Nishikori 
Stan Wawrinka  – Marin Cilic 
Gaël Monfils  – Milos Raonic 
Dominic Thiem  – Novak Djokovic 
First round matches to watch:
Nicolas Almagro – Jérémy Chardy
Jerzy Janowicz – Marin Cilic 
Dustin Brown – Milos Raonic 
Tommy Haas – Benoît Paire
Fabio Fognini – Feliciano Lopez 
Fernando Verdasco – Novak Djokovic 
Unlike the men’s draw, there is no clear favorite in the women’s draw, and it seems anything could happen.
Angelique Kerber had a dream season last year, with two Grand Slam titles and the world number one spot. She opens up her title defence with a match-up against Lesia Tsurenko and could play reigning Roland Garros champion Garbine Muguruza in the quarterfinals.
Serena Williams, who suffered a shock defeat to Madison Brengle in Auckland last week, will be chasing Grand Slam title number 23. Like Novak Djokovic, she will face a tough test in the first round: former world number 7 Belinda Becic.
The ever consitent Agnieszka Radwanska could finally win her maiden Slam title, while Karolina Pliskova and Garbine Muguruza will be looking to confirm their stand-out 2016 season.
Players to watch:
Finalist here in 2014, Dominika Cibulkova claimed her biggest title last October: the WTA Finals. She will look to pick up where she left off last year.
A surprising semifinalist last year, Johanna Konta reached the top ten since then, and won Sydney title, dismantling Radwanska in the final. She could do some damage in the draw.
Like Cibulkova, Svetlana Kuznetsova finished 2016 in great form. On a good day, she can beat anyone.
First round matches to watch:
Louisa Chiricio – Eugenie Bouchard
Mona Barthel – Destanee Aiava
Laura Siegemund  – Jelena Jankovic
Ana Konjuh – Kristina Mladenovic
Heather Watson – Sam Stosur 
Tsvetana Pironkova – Agnieszka Radwanska 
Kirsten Flipkens – Johanna Konta 
Yanina Wickmayer – Lucie Safarova
Belinda Bencic – Serena Williams 
Angelique Kerber  – Garbine Muguruza 
Simona Halep  – Svetlana Kuznetsova 
Karolina Pliskova  – Agnieszka Radwanska 
Dominika Cibulkova  – Serena Williams 
Photo credit: Australian Open instagram
A trip down memory lane:
Australian Open trivia
The tragedy of Daphne Akhurst
The Norman Brookes Challenge Cup
1960 Australian Open: Neale Feaser, a costly volley
1960: first Grand Slam title for Rod Laver
1960-63 Australian Open: Jan Lehane four time runner-up
1974 Australian Open: Jimmy Connors first Grand Slam title
1975: John Newcombe defeats Jimmy Connors
1981: First Australian Open title for Martina Navratilova
1983: Mats Wilander defeats Ivan Lendl
1984: Mats Wilander defeats Kevin Curren
1985: Edberg wins in Australia and Sweden changes look
1987-1988 Swedes spoil the party
1987: Stefan Edberg defeats Pat Cash
January 11, 1988: first day of play at Flinders Park
1988: Mats Wilander defeats Pat Cash
1990: John McEnroe disqualified!
1990: Ivan Lendl’s last Grand Slam title
1991: Monica Seles first Australian Open title
1994: First Australian Open title for Pete Sampras
1995: Mary Pierce defeats Arantxa Sanchez Vicario
1995 QF: Pete Sampras emotional comeback win over Jim Courier
Centre Court floods at the 1995 Australian Open
1995: Andre Agassi defeats Pete Sampras, wins first Australian Open title
1996 Australian Open: Mark Philippoussis defeats Pete Sampras in the 3rd round
Impressions from the 1996 Australian Open: Monica Seles and Boris Becker last Grand Slam titles, Stefan Edberg last appearance in Australia
1997 Australian Open: Pete Sampras defeats Carlos Moya
2001 Australian Open: Pat’s last chance
2001 Australian Open final: Andre Agassi defeats Arnaud Clément
2002: Capriati scripts a stunning sequel in Australia
2003 Australian Open: last Grand Slam title for Agassi
2009 Australian Open: Rafael Nadal defeats Roger Federer