the legend

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Friday, June 26, 2009

Serena pays tribute after Jackson death

Photo Titled Serena thriller
Serena thriller
Serena Williams may have just completed with some ease her 200th Grand Slam match, making short shrift of Italy’s Roberta Vinca in the third round, but the post-match conversations inevitably focused on talk of Michael Jackson’s death.

The American had been one of the first tennis stars to comment - in the early hours via her Twitter account - on the death and it was clear that she was happy to have a chance to pay a fuller tribute.

“He was a great guy, a complete icon. Words can't express my shock and horror. [My] thoughts and prayers go out to him and his family. It's just a terrible, terrible, terrible thing.”

One of his biggest qualities, she said, was his “innovation. He did things that no one else did. Thriller is the best video ever made still to this day. He started a whole new trend with the videos that he did for his songs, no-one had ever even went that far. Dances, singing, beats, everything.” And, as she spoke about Michael Jackson, Serena revealed an inward smile of warmth and appreciation for the man and his work.

Despite her own celebrity status, Serena was still star-struck by Michael Jackson. “Even though I met him, knew him, if I would have seen him on the streets, I still would have been like, AHHH” as she waved her hands in the air, and opened her eyes a little wider. “He is just iconic on all levels.

“I think any celebrity who met Michael Jackson was completely in awe. I know I was. I kept thinking 'Oh, my God, oh, my God. It's him, it's him'. So for me he was the celebrity of all celebrities.

"He's always been famous and he's always been a celebrity. And he's never really had a different life.”

With genuine humility, Serena swiftly batted away a question inviting a comparison between Jackson and the iconic status she and sister Venus have in the tennis world. “I wouldn't even mention my name and his in the same sentence at all.”

Then onto the tennis: the new, 4,000-seater, No. 2 Court caused Serena some issues, more accustomed as she is to playing on Centre Court and No. 1 Court, where players are accompanied to the courtside by an official from the club.

Explaining her six-minute tardiness for her game she said: “Well, I thought someone was gonna come get me. Then I figured, well, maybe I just have to report. I didn't know what to do. So I was waiting, warming up. I was waiting and waiting. Finally I [thought] I'm just going to go out. I'm used to someone coming and saying, Okay, let's go.”

But she enjoyed the experience of the new gladiatorial-style arena, saying “I really enjoyed the court, it worked for me. I actually really liked it”, adding, “the fans are more involved in the match, it seems, more verbal. And it's fun.”

And Serena’s favourite Michael Jackson song? The 1987 duet I Just Can't Stop Loving You with Siedah Garrett.

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