“I Don’t Feel Any Pressure,” Says Serena Williams at Wimbledon
While she seems relaxed, some feel Williams’ struggle to match Steffi Graf’s record is playing on her mind.
Serena Williams gave little away on Sunday as she assessed her chances of retaining her Wimbledon title — and dismissed suggestions that she is under any pressure.
The 34-year-old American has not struck a ball competitively since losing to Spain’s Garbine Muguruza in the French Open final on June 4 — a defeat that prevented her matching Steffi Graf’s professional era record of 22 grand slam titles.
Considering that she also fell at the final hurdle in Australia against Angelique Kerber and went out of the US Open semi-finals last year while she was two wins away from a calendar grand slam, Williams would be forgiven for feeling a little edgy.
However, if she was tensed, she did not show it to the world’s media on the eve of the tournament.
I don’t feel any pressure. I feel good and confident.Serena Williams
Williams never feels the need to play grasscourt warm-up tournaments, preferring instead to hit on the hardcourts back home before arriving in the week before the tournament. It is a tried and tested formula. She said:
I got here, I think, on Monday. So I’ve had a lot of time on the grass. I did the same preparation, and it seems to work.
Serena, who starts her campaign on Tuesday against 148th ranked Swiss qualifier Amra Sadikovic, said:
Honestly, it doesn’t matter who I play. It doesn’t matter to me.
While her approach is nonchalant, there are some who feel Williams’ struggle to match Graf’s record is playing on her mind.
It’s not easy to try to do what she’s doing, to make history at this stage.John McEnroe, Three-times Wimbledon Champion
Another former champion Chris Evert reckons Williams is still the favourite but says other players are seeing a chink in her armour as she gets older. She said:
In the last few years, she’s been good enough at 60 percent to 70 percent to win matches.
Now I don’t think it’s going to win matches for her. The competition has gotten better. They’re less intimidated by her. They know she’s human. They’ve seen a couple of bad losses.
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