Serena Williams was asked how she would eventually make a happy tale to tell her daughter Olympia of the day she returned to the Wimbledon Centre Court for a 10th ladies’ singles final, watched by multiple Duchesses and various sporting greats in the Royal Box.
“Well, I think it was a happy story,’’ said the seven-time champion, after failing to claim what would have been a truly remarkable eighth title against Angelique Kerber. “I’ll probably change the ending.’’
This, Williams said several times over, just as she had in more emotional fashion immediately after the match, is “literally just the beginning”. This Fortnight had confirmed what she had hoped, proving she could still compete and showing she could contend for Grand Slam titles to add to the 23 she already owns.
“Really, just these two weeks were so mental for me. I won matches. I was really mentally fighting for literally every match. I did the best that I could every match that I played,’’ she said. “I just feel like I’m taking the steps in the right direction. I took a giant step at Wimbledon. But my journey has just begun. Just have to keep going.’’
Promising to be better prepared in the future for Kerber’s style – a contrast to the bigger hitters she has often faced in the early stages of her comeback, Williams gave due credit to her immaculate German opponent for an “unbelievable” level, from first point to last.
The 36-year-old also stymied several attempts to draw a complaint over the shoehorning into the Centre Court programme of the conclusion to the Nadal-Djokovic semi-final, and subsequent delay caused to the climax of the ladies’ championship.
“It definitely didn’t have any impact on me,’’ Williams said. “It was a necessary evil that needed to be done. They didn’t finish their match. They had to finish. It had to be completed.’’
Williams insisted she had started The Championships – the fourth tournament of her comeback, 10 months after giving birth – wanting merely to win some matches. “I kept winning, and it kept happening. It was definitely a little bit of a surprise for me.’’ But very encouraging, too.
Her priority now is Olympia, but Williams manages her schedule so that the pair can share a big chunk of each day. She hoped to see her daughter after returning to her rented house on Saturday evening, but would otherwise just relax and watch a film.
As for how different her emotions and ability to handle defeat are compared with previous occasions? “I’m just better at acting now, I guess,’’ she said, drily.
And her current mental monologue? “I’m already deciphering what I need to improve on. What I need to do, what I did wrong, why I did it wrong, how I can do better – that whole madness that goes on in my mind.
“Then I’m saying, ‘OK, I do improve with losses’. We’ll see how it goes. That’s kind of where my mind is at right now.’’
Source: Linda Pearce|| Wimbledon