Williams, who has won 21 Grand Slam singles events, was halted in her bid to tie the long-standing mark at the Australian Open in January when she was upset in the final by Graf's fellow German Angelique Kerber. But Graf expects Williams to come roaring back this year.

"I'm very sure that she will (break the record)," Graf said in an interview.

"To be honest I think we all believe that she can, and that she will soon."

The 46-year-old, who dominated women's tennis from the late 1980s until the end of the 1990s, insisted that there would be no lingering disappointment at being overtaken by Williams.

"Have I accepted it?" she laughed. "I gave everything to tennis and I feel great about what I have achieved," added Graf, now a mother of two living with husband Andre Agassi and their two children in Las Vegas.

“I follow it somewhat but this is somebody else's chance and I'm happy for them. It doesn't take anything away from what I have achieved. I'm completely at ease," she added.

Graf completed a memorable calendar-year grand slam in 1988, capturing all four major titles plus a gold medal from the Seoul Olympics for good measure. But the German credited Williams for revolutionising women's tennis with her agility and brute strength.
"Her serve is just the biggest stroke ever in women's tennis," said Graf, who split her only two meetings against Williams at the end of her career in 1999.

"There's nothing that's ever been close to that kind of power. And just to see her athleticism -- nobody has ever shown that in the sport. Hopefully it's going to bring a lot of other players out who have that kind of power and can make the breakthrough," said the tennis ace.

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