Fam­ily tie s are noth­ing to the Wil­liams siste rs, says Se re na’s c oac h

The Herald - Herald Sport - - AUSTRALIAN OPEN -

PA­TRICK MOURATOGLOU has made ve ry fe w mis­take s sinc e tak­ing ove r as the c oac h of Se re na Wil­liams in June 2012, sinc e whe n the Ame ric an has won nine of he r 23 Grand Slam ti­tle s.

The Fre nc hman is known for his atte ntion to de tail ... from study­ing vide o to plan­ning strate gy.

But, as Wil­liams pre pare s to fac e he r siste r Ve nus in the fi­nal of the Aus­tralian Ope n, he will be mak­ing sure of one thing, in par­tic ular.

“To te ll you the truth the first time the y playe d e ac h othe r, whe n I was c oac hing he r, I didn’t re ally know what to do and so I was ve ry light in my words be fore the matc h and Se re na lost,” Mouratoglou said.

It was in Mon­tre al in 2014 that Ve nus be at Se re na in thre e se ts, a re sult that an­noye d Mouratoglou inte nse ly, some thing he re me mbe rs we ll.

“I said to myse lf it’s my fault, I should have tre ate d Ve nus like any othe r playe r,” he said.

“The y’re on a te nnis c ourt, the y’re c ompe ting, the y’re siste rs, OK, but some one has to win and if some one has to win it has to be Se re na.

“It was a good le sson for me and, sinc e that day, I’m do­ing the pre -matc h talk e xac tly as if I didn’t know Ve nus and Se re na didn’t know Ve nus.”

This will be the 28th me e ting be twe e n the siste rs, with 36-ye ar-old Ve nus in the fi­nal of a Grand Slam for the first time sinc e 2009 and try­ing to be c ome the olde st woman to win a Grand Slam ti­tle in the Ope n e ra.

Se re na le ads the ir he ad-to-he ad re c ord 16-11, and 6-2 in the ir e ight grand slam fi­nals and vic tory will give he r an Ope n e ra re c ord 23rd grand slam ti­tle .

At 35, world No.2 Se re na is a ye ar younge r than Ve nus, who has had a ne w le ase of life in the past 18 months and fully de se rve s he r plac e in the fi­nal.

Some of the fi­nals be twe e n the two have be e n flat, othe rs have be e n inte nse , and the two siste rs will share a hug at the e nd, no matte r what.

Mouratoglou, though, is foc use d on pre par­ing the six-time s Aus­tralian Ope n c ham­pion as we ll as pos­si­ble to be re ady for a unique , if fa­mil­iar c halle nge .

“Eve n though Se re na knows Ve nus ve ry we ll, she like s me to sc out and give he r my fe e lings,” he said.

“Eve n though you know a playe r we ll – the te c hnique doe sn’t move so muc h – but, from one tour­name nt to an­othe r, some time s the re is a patte rn of play that works we ll in a tour­name nt and subc onsc iously a playe r will do it muc h more than nor­mal.

“So those things you have to find out, so those things you have to sc out. You should al­ways sc out be fore a matc h.”

Forme r world No.1 Jim Courie r said ye ste rday he fe lt Se re na had the e dge but that it will c ome down to who c an shut out the op­pone nt the be st.

“The most the y c an stay in the silo the be tte r,” the Ame ric an said.

“I imag­ine it’s c razy c halle nging to do, but if the y c an play the balls the n it be c ome s a more c ompe lling matc h than if it’s ‘that’s my siste r ove r the re ’, whic h we ’ve se e n, a lot.

“The y’ve had flat matc he s be fore that have be e n drama-fre e and te nsion-fre e .

“But his­tory is on the line for both. For Ve nus too.

“She ’d be the olde st woman to win a ma­jor if she wins.

“Se re na is the c urre nt holde r so, e ithe r way, that re c ord ge ts e xte nde d in the one fam­ily, whic h is just jaw-drop­ping to think about.”

SIS­TER ACT: Venus will go head to head with Ser­ena for the 28th time.

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