LONDON — Angelique Kerber was not about to be overwhelmed by the setting or the stakes in this Wimbledon final. She knew exactly what to expect — and what to do — against Serena Williams.
Two years after losing to Williams with a title on the line at Centre Court , Kerber came through. So steady, so patient, so accurate throughout, she never really gave Williams much of a chance this time, putting together a 6-3, 6-3 victory Saturday for her first championship at the All England Club and third major overall.
"I think it's the experience. You have to go through all the things — the good things, the bad things — and then you need to learn," said Kerber, the first German to win Wimbledon since Steffi Graf in 1996.
"I know that against Serena, I have to play my best tennis, especially in the important moments," said Kerber, who won the Australian Open and U.S. Open in 2016, but was the runner-up to Williams at Wimbledon that season, "especially in the important moments." That's just what she did. "Angelique played really well," Williams said. "She played out of her mind."
Kerber made only five unforced errors the entire match, 19 fewer than Williams. Perhaps more impressive was this: She broke Williams in 4 of 9 service games.
In doing so, Kerber prevented Williams from claiming an eighth title at Wimbledon and 24th from all Grand Slam tournaments , which would have equaled Margaret Court's record. As things stand, Williams holds the mark for the half-century of professional tennis, one ahead of Kerber's idol, Graf.
Williams gave birth only 10 1/2 months ago, then was treated for blood clots . She wore special compression leggings as a precaution during Wimbledon, just the fourth tournament of her comeback.
After all the time away, Williams spoke about being impressed with herself for just reaching the final. She also wanted to win, of course.
"To all the moms out there, I was playing for you today — and I tried," said the 36-year-old American, her voice shaking during the trophy ceremony.
Kerber addressed Williams during the on-court interviews, saying: "You're such an inspiration for everybody, for all of us. I'm sure you will have your next Grand Slam title soon. I'm really, really sure."
The final started more than two hours late, because they had to wait for the end of Novak Djokovic's five-set victory over Rafael Nadal in a men's semifinal that was suspended the night before. Today, Djokovic will play Kevin Anderson, who won his semifinal against John Isner 26-24 in the fifth set Friday night. Houston High School. The early returns on Adkins are very good as Trussell told the coach to build a program in his own image.
“Coach Adkins is young and energetic and he's a player's coach," Trussell said. "I told him the most important thing is to build his program right and take his time. Our focus is to build a program from the middle school all the way up and I feel coach Adkins will get it done.”
Trussell is not only trying to make sure things are done the right way in the athletics department, his goal is for the entire school to prosper and walk in the right direction.
One of the ideas he's gotten behind with SOCSD
Superintendent Eddie Peasant is the implementation of drug testing next year. The policy hasn't been approved by the board, but Trussell said he hopes it goes through for those in grades 9-12 as it gives students the opportunity to say, ‘no' to drugs and to intervene if their friends are involved.
On the facility landscape, Trussell said improvements are hopeful across the board.
The short term projects have been getting cheerleaders new tumbling pads, the upgrades to the tennis courts on campus and machines for tennis players, basketball shooting equipment and softball hitting cages with LED lighting for night-time practices. Long term projects include a solution
on the future of the basketball gym, golf cages for rainy afternoon practices and a potential video board for the football field.
Trussell said that the field landscaping has gotten a major upgrade since former football coach and current horticulture teacher Randy Carlisle has been assigned duties as the athletic field consultant. Trussell is also excited about former football assistant and current archery coach Tate Fischer, who has taken the spot of head of event operations.
A large part of Fischer's work will come during football season, which is right around the corner. Trussell announced the addition of field microphones for referees at this year's football games as well as a less-congested concession
area as several vendors will offer the opportunity to buy in the stands.
If fans are interested in buying season tickets and/or a parking pass, those go on sale on August 1.
On the whole, Trussell counts his first school year as a complete success and is looking forward to the next step this year. He's driven by the All Sports Award, which Starkville contends for every season in Class 6A. This past year saw them fall out of the top 10, something that has Trussell pushing for more in 2018-19.
“That's something that we want to be in the top five every year," Trussell said. "We're shooting for number one. We've identified ways that we can improve and now we're excited about the upcoming year.”