Monday, April 22, 2019 | ePaper

BREAKING NEWS:

After baby steps, Serena plans giant leap in Wimbledon final

  • Print




Serena Williams was reduced to tears by her daughter Olympia's first steps at Wimbledon, but now the seven-time champion is planning a giant leap of her own in Saturday's final against Angelique Kerber.
Just 10 months after giving birth, Williams can complete an incredible comeback as she bids to become the first mother to win the tournament for 38 years.
Williams is playing only her fourth tournament since Olympia's arrival in September and is now just one win away from her eighth Wimbledon title.
That would make her the first mother to lift the Venus Rosewater Dish since Evonne Goolagong in 1980.
Serena can also equal Margaret Court's record of 24 Grand Slam singles titles if she beats Kerber.
Court and Kim Clijsters are the other mothers to have won major titles - making Serena's presence in the final even more incredible given the difficulties she has endured since she last played at Wimbledon in 2016.
The 36-year-old's pregnancy ended with a complicated delivery that left her needing several operations to prevent life-threatening blood clots.
Williams was forced to stay in bed for six weeks and could barely walk as she recovered from the traumatic experience.
"It's no secret I had a super tough delivery. I lost count after, like, four surgeries because I was in so many," she said.
The 23-time Grand Slam champion insists the pain was all worthwhile now she has memories like watching Olympia learning to walk for the first time at Wimbledon.
As for her own progress on the court, Serena claims she is still working her way back, but she believes the final provides a chance to hit peak form.
"I was expecting a few more baby steps from myself. I still feel like I'm in that place," Williams said.
 "I've said it all week, this is only my fourth tournament back.
"I want to take a giant step forward, keep taking giant steps, keep improving."
If anyone would be able to return from such a debilitating experience, it would be Serena.
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.
Making a mockery of Wimbledon's decision to seed her a lowly 25th, Williams has powered through the draw, getting stronger with each match.
She arrives in her 30th Grand Slam final - her 10th at Wimbledon on a 20-match winning run on the lawns of south-west London.
That streak dates back to Williams' titles on her last two visits in 2016 and 2015 and she is the odds-on favourite to see off Kerber, who she beat in the All England Club title match two years ago.
"I can't say it's the one I'm most proud of. I can't say it's not. I'm so in a zone in terms of just wanting to keep playing," she said.
"Being here and having an opportunity to play is super great for me."
Asked about the historic dimensions of her potential triumph this weekend, Serena played down the implications to avoid giving her opponent even more motivation.
"To be perfectly honest, I haven't thought about that this tournament. Not even once actually," said Serena, who will be cheered on from the Royal Box by her friend the Duchess of Sussex.
"It's just a number. I want to get as many as I can. I still have a match to win, so I'm not even there yet."
For German 11th seed Kerber, winning Wimbledon for the first time - at the expense of the woman who denied her in 2016 - would be a sweet moment.
The 30-year-old has bounced back from a terrible 2017 and is close to the form that brought her the Australian and US Open titles two years ago.
"Wimbledon is a really special place. I think everybody knows this tournament. It would be really special to win," she said.
"With 2016, all the success, 2017, with a few up and downs, to coming back this year, I think I learned so many things about me."

More News For this Category

Surprised Nadal sees 'super solid' Djokovic exit Monte Carlo

Surprised Nadal sees 'super solid' Djokovic exit Monte Carlo

AP, Monaco :Surprised at seeing rival Novak Djokovic go out of the Monte Carlo Masters after an error-strewn performance, defending champion Rafael Nadal acknowledged he enjoyed some luck in

Dutch league game plan riles Feyenoord fans

Dutch league game plan riles Feyenoord fans

Agency :A decision by the Dutch football federation to postpone all premier league games ahead of Ajax's Champions League clash against Tottenham was criticised Saturday as having "broad and

Barty beats Azarenka as Australia and Belarus share Fed Cup spoils

Agency :Australia and Belarus shared the spoils on day one of their Fed Cup semi-final in Brisbane Saturday with Ashleigh Barty sweeping past Victoria Azarenka while Aryna Sabalenka ground

Orlando Magic's Nikola Vucevic (9) moves the ball against Toronto Raptors' Kyle Lowry (7) during the second half in Game 3 of a first-round NBA basketball playoff series in Orlando, Fla on Friday.

Orlando Magic's Nikola Vucevic (9) moves the ball against Toronto Raptors' Kyle Lowry (7) during the second half in Game 3 of a first-round NBA basketball playoff series in Orlando, Fla on Friday.

.

Brazilian tennis player Souza provisionally suspended

AP, London :Brazilian tennis player Joao Souza has been provisionally suspended again amid a corruption investigation by the Tennis Integrity Unit.Souza had already been provisionally suspended on March 29

Defending champ Henderson tied for lead at Lotte Championship

Defending champ Henderson tied for lead at Lotte Championship

Agency :Canada's Brooke Henderson took another step towards defending her title, firing a three-under 69 for a share of the lead heading into the final round of the Lotte

Former Olympic champion Asbel Kiprop given four-year doping ban

Former Olympic champion Asbel Kiprop given four-year doping ban

BBC Online :Former Olympic 1500m champion Asbel Kiprop has received a four-year ban for doping.The Kenyan, a three-time world champion, tested positive for erythropoietin (EPO) in an out-of-competition test

Simeone backs Costa after striker misses Atletico practice

Atletico Madrid coach Diego Simeone has come out in support of Diego Costa after the Spain striker reportedly refused to practice with the rest of the team.Simeone said Costa's

Barty to face Azarenka in Fed Cup semi

Barty to face Azarenka in Fed Cup semi

AFP, Brisbane :World number nine Ashleigh Barty will face her doubles partner and two-time major winner Victoria Azarenka in the Fed Cup semi-final between Australia and Belarus on Saturday.The pair

Newcastle boss Rafael Benitez calls for win over Southampton to secure survival

Newcastle boss Rafael Benitez calls for win over Southampton to secure survival

Newcastle boss Rafael Benitez is demanding one final push against Southampton to help his side secure Premier League survival.The sides meet at St James' Park on Saturday evening separated by