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Saturday, July 4, 2009

Champion Serena laughs off No.2 ranking

Photo Titled Serena survey
Serena takes a moment to inspect her trophy after he straight sets win in the ladies' singles final.

As far as backhands go it was as good as anything Serena Williams delivered on her way to the 2009 ladies singles title at Wimbledon.

After winning the title, Williams, the French Open quarter-finalist and reigning Australian and US Open champion, was asked a series of questions about being ranked number two in the world behind Dinara Safina, a player who has never won a Grand Slam.

Williams began her answers diplomatically, although with a sprinkle of irony. That sprinkle became a torrent and at one stage Williams was belly laughing after saying: “I think Dinara did a great job to get to No. 1. She won Rome and Madrid.”

Serena clearly knew she was in dangerous territory by this stage as she bit her tongue and moved on to the next question. But her answers made it abundantly clear what her feelings are on the world rankings and her place in women’s tennis.

“I think if you hold three Grand Slam titles maybe you should be No.1, but not on the WTA Tour obviously, so... You know, my motivation is maybe just to win another Grand Slam and stay No.2, I guess. I'd rather definitely be No.2 and hold three Grand Slams in the past year than be No. 1 and not have any.

“I think the girl, Dinara, who is No.1, you can clearly see by her physique how hard she works. You can't get anywhere by not doing the best and not working your hardest. So, you know, I'm happy for her. I'm really excited that I won Wimbledon, though, because, like I said, I'd rather win that than not win the Championships.”

It was another entertaining performance from the champion in her final press conference of the tournament. She spoke in glowing terms about her sister Venus, the beaten finalist and defending champion, and Billie Jean King, the player whose Grand Slam record she equalled with her 7-6 (7-3), 6-2 victory.

After being filmed looking at the honours board in the clubhouse after the trophy presentation, Serena said she believed her name “should have been there at least once more”.

But the very next question she said she was not interested in her legacy. “I'm really just playing for me, whether I'm the greatest or not. I can't even put myself in a sentence with the greatest, because I think of people like Martina Navratilova and Steffi Graf and Billie Jean King.

“They were such great champions. To even be mentioned with those people is a real honour to me. I feel like I'm really young. I feel like I'm only thinking about my career and continued playing.”

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