Williams hopes to seal history
New York: ‘Finals’ was the theme of the media interaction. The thought and the talk. It was tossed at Serena Williams so many times, it echoed the buzz of a mantra.
Williams, playing her fourth major final after a difficult childbirth two years ago, was asked about her mindset coming into yet another title-round clash. She had finished on the wrong side of the scoreline on the three previous occasions. What are the dominant emotions? Does she feel relaxed? All in the context of a Grand Slam final. Perforce.
On Saturday — 20 years after she won her first Grand Slam title here when a little short of her 18thbirthday — Williams will take on 19-yearold Canadian Bianca Andreescu in a clash where one woman is looking to seal history, while the other is determined to script a daring piece.
Williams, who has played just seven tournaments this year, making back-to-back finals in Wimbledon and Toronto for her best results of the season, has made it three finals in a row now. “I wanted to play more tournaments. I was going to play Cincinnati, I had a great summer planned. Unfortunately it didn’t work out for me,” said Williams, who admitted to needing more matches.
She couldn’t put her plan into practice because of injury woes and ended up competing again after Wimbledon following a five-week gap. “I had a tough year with injuries, mostly bad luck. I needed to get
Williams said she’s more relaxed this time around. So much so that she hasn’t thought about last year’s title clash against Japanese Naomi Osaka, where the American had a meltdown.
“My day off isn’t a day off. I’m literally hanging out with baby, I’m doing activities with her. I don’t want her to forget me,” she said with a smile. “I’m a full- time mom first, foremost. So, yeah, I train, and then I rush home. The other day I found a trampoline park I wanted to take her to. At the end of the day, that’s what matters to me, is just being there for my daughter.
“Being in a Grand Slam is difficult because it takes away a lot of the time that we normally have together. She’s starting to lear n things. Her brain is processing things more. I want to be a part of that. I don’t want anything else to take that away,” Williams said, adding, “Being on the court is almost a little bit more relaxing than hanging out with a two-year-old that’s dragging you everywhere. I think that’s kind of been a little helpful.”
Typically Williams didn’t let all that Grand Slam final talk slide without making her point. In her fourth major final since childbirth, even if she’s yet to win one, she has better numbers than anyone else on the Tour. “It’s not easy to go through what I did and come back. I’m not 20 years old. I’m pretty proud of myself,” she said.