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Serena Williams fired up by indifferent start to year

Serena Williams speaks to the press ahead of The Championships
by Matthew Trollope
Saturday 21 June 2014

It is hard to know exactly with what to link Serena Williams’ no nonsense mood in her pre-tournament press conference on Saturday.

But one must wonder if her most recent Grand Slam performance at Roland Garros had something to do with it.

“Who says I was over it?” she retorted to a journalist who asked just how long it had taken her to move on from her 6-2, 6-2 second round loss in Paris to the unseeded Garbine Muguruza.

“Are you not over it then?” the journalist ventured.

“Yeah, I doubt it. Knowing me, no.”

Serena clearly had little desire to be trifled with today. Most of the questions were handled without much elaboration.

How prepared was she for The Championships, both physically and mentally?

“I think both; I'm really prepared for it and really excited to be here.”

How did she feel arriving in England for Wimbledon?

“I feel good. I feel like every year is another year. I feel happy to be here.”

What had she been doing since the French Open?

“I've been doing just a lot of training, just working out, trying to get ready for the next event, which so happened to be Wimbledon.”

With former rival Amelie Mauresmo now working as Andy Murray’s coach, why did she think there were not more female coaches in the sport?

“I have no idea.”

It was all over in barely 10 minutes, and off she went. Presumably to focus on the task of righting the ship and re-establishing herself among the Grand Slam winners’ circle.

For 2014 has not been Serena’s happiest. Despite winning three WTA titles – including prestigious crowns in Miami and Rome – she has underperformed at the majors, events she famously cherishes above all else. Her second round loss at Roland Garros was preceded by a fourth round exit in Melbourne; of all the majors, she holds only the US Open.

It has been a comparatively lean season for the world No.1 following her utterly dominant 2013, during which she won two Grand Slams among 11 tournament titles and 78 match wins.

It prompted this assessment following her Roland Garros defeat: “My first few months, I don't think has been great at all. I haven't gotten past the fourth round of a Grand Slam this year. I have a couple words to describe it, but I think that would be really inappropriate so I'm going to leave it at that.”

Never is Serena more dangerous that when she is is motivated to rebound from a loss, or feels she has a point to prove. Saturday’s press conference was evidence of her being in just such a mood. She even admitted that while she normally does enjoy watching tennis, she tuned out for the remainder of the French Open.

That Muguruza loss truly hit hard. Yet the one time she did manage something of a smile was when she was asked about her thoughts on returning to the All England Club as a five-time champion.

“It feels good. I feel good. When I came here, I just felt a sense of being home. I really like being here.".

With her superior serve, athleticism, exceptional power and attacking instincts, Williams’ game is tailor-made for grass. And when such physical and technical attributes are accompanied by razor-sharp intent, it’s a scary prospect for all her rivals.

Instead of the media, on Tuesday it will be former Georgian-turned-American Anna Tatishvili in the firing line when Serena takes to the court for her opening round assignment.

It will certainly last longer than 10 minutes.

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20:08It brings me no pleasure but it's time to bring the curtain down for another year. Seemed somehow appropriate to leave the last word to Roger Federer. Thanks a billion for reading. What a fortnight, what a final, fast forward to 2015 please...

20:03"I already have seven. It's not like I need another one. But it would have been awfully nice to have it. I think that's what the feeling was of the people, and I felt that... I know they love tennis. They love tennis after we're all gone."

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