Why Serena Williams doesn't want coach to speak at Wimbledon

Lynette Rowe
July 14, 2018

Germany's Angelique Kerber celebrates defeating Latvia's Jelena Ostapenko during their women's singles semi-finals match at the Wimbledon Tennis Championships in London.

Even after more than a year away from the tour, even after a health scare while having a baby a little more than 10 months ago, Williams is still capable of dominance.

And Williams feels she may not have been given enough credit for reaching this stage in just her fourth tournament back.

"We've always had a wonderful friendship. for a couple years she [has come] out to Wimbledon, has supported me", Williams said. "I had a hard birth, multiple surgeries, I nearly didn't make it".

"[But] Every time I go out there, I want to I guess take a giant step forward, keep taking giant steps, but keep improving".

At the 2016 Australian Open, Williams was attempting to tie Steffi Graf's Open era record with major win no. 22, but it was Kerber who left Melbourne with a Grand Slam title, beating Williams 6-4, 3-6, 6-4 in the final.

Williams is not one for doing things quietly during a career that has earned her 23 Grand Slam titles, four Olympic gold medals and more than $85 million dollars in prize money.

"I have to be ready for the match of my life", Williams said.

With 23 major singles titles to her credit, Williams could easily have made a decision to call it a career at age 36.

"This is as well as she has played, period, in her career", said nine-time Wimbledon singles champion Martina Navratilova, commentating for the BBC.

"I don't know if it's been the toughest, because I have Olympia".

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The American's fiercely competitive streak fuelled her rise from the bullet-riddled courts of Compton in south-central Los Angeles, and she remains as driven as ever.

The former world No.1 was open about her struggles post-birth and how the hardhships she's had to face make the achievement of just qualifying for the final even more satisfying. Or, more to the point on this afternoon, how such a stinging serve and big groundstrokes didn't help her avoid first-round exits each of the past five years at Wimbledon.

At 181st in the world, Williams is technically the lowest ranked player to reach the women's final - although given her stellar record, it's a statistic that is unlikely to carry much weight.

"This is not inevitable for me".

"I didn't know I would have such kind of traumatic thoughts, especially now that I have a daughter".

"I couldn't even walk to my mailbox, so it's definitely not normal to be in a Wimbledon final".

In the first set, the experienced Kerber broke twice while the only break point Ostapenko earned was when she was leading 3-2.

Among all the added pressures of motherhood, Williams has found the mental strength to win matches, and in the case of her quarter-final against Camila Giorgi to fight back from a set down.

"I had age [in common with Williams] and a C-section, and I certainly wasn't coming back to play tennis", said Shriver, who's at Wimbledon as an ESPN analyst.

Just hours later when it was confirmed that Serena Williams had won her place to compete for the trophy, she spoke of how excited she was to have her old friend in the crowd.

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