Serena Williams and Maria Sharapova talk their Wimbledon chances
July 2, 2015 Serena Williams will head into the 40th Wimbledon knowing that she can mark this achievement with another victory at SW19. The tennis star has won five championships at Wimbledon, citing the late tennis great, Arthur Ashe, who was the first Black person to win the tournament, as her inspiration.
“You know, after 40 years, his legacy still lives on in one of the greatest ways, That was just an amazing match that he played. It was against (Jimmy) Connors, I believe. You know, I think they showed it. I was at home I think watching TV. They had the match on. I was watching it. I was like, Wow, you know. It was just a really cool moment. It’s been a lot I think for just African Americans not just in tennis, but in all of sports in breaking barriers, Arthur Ashe and everything he did for tennis.”
Serena already won the first two Grand Slams of the year, in Paris and Melbourne. She has two more games which she could win, to complete the full circle.
When asked about the build up to the tournament, she said “Personally it doesn’t make it feel any different, which I think is a good thing ’cause I don’t feel any pressure to win all four,”.
“I’ve been saying that, but I really don’t feel that pressure. Maybe if I would happen to win here, then maybe I might start feeling it after that. Ultimately, I’m taking it one day at a time and I’m not thinking that far.”
Last year she went out in the second round – but said that poor performance is her motivation.
“I think the fact that I lost so early the past couple years definitely makes me motivated, “But I think that also gives me a little less pressure because I haven’t done well here in the past two years. It makes me feel like, Okay, I’ll be fine. I have nothing to lose here. I don’t have many points to defend here. So it’s just like trying to have fun, go through it.”
One of Williams’ main rivals for the title will be Maria Sharapova, who famously beat her in the 2004 final. She tried not to discuss her counterpart.
“Yeah, it’s not something that I like to talk about because I never like to set up an excuse for anything that I do,”
Sharapova on the other hand, admits that Williams, with that calendar grand slam on the cards, will be the biggest threat.
“She’s certainly the player to beat, With all the confidence in the world having won the last three majors, not just the two in this year. I think those results speak for herself, and she’s certainly the one to beat.”
It wasn’t all talk though, later on, the world’s top female tennis players attended a pre-Wimbledon party at the Roof Gardens in Kensington, London, in the company of Richard Branson and other celebrities.