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Saturday, July 4, 2009

Serena reveals formula for success

Photo Titled Serena's titles
Serena Williams teases the press during her post match press conference.

The closest Serena Williams came to failing to win the Venus Rosewater Dish was when she faced down a match point in the 10th game of the third set against Elena Dementieva in their semi-final.

“The match is never over until you shake the opponent's hand. It's like you never give up and you always keep fighting,” she said. “It's just a good lesson for life, not even just in sports, but in life as well.

“I usually go kamikaze when I'm down. So if I'm going to go out, I'm going out like a hero or something. Nothing to lose. That's kind of how I felt. I just think almost every Grand Slam I've won I've been down match point in a match before, a lot of them. No more than at least two Australians. Definitely here at Wimbledon."

Serena did not go out in a blaze of glory, instead she beat Dementieva and set up a repeat of last year’s final against her sister. Venus, who had not lost a set here since the third round of 2007 and had dropped just 19 games leading into the final, was the overwhelming favourite.

“This is one of the few times I didn't expect to come out with the win today,” she said. “I felt like I had nothing to lose. I defended every point that I had from last year. I felt like all I had to do is go out there and do my best, just stay even, because she's such a good player.

“When I won that first set, I was like, wow, this is great. No matter what, I'm a set away. So I was just trying to relax. I really wanted to stay calm because I felt like I was getting closer to the goal. Sometimes if I get too pumped or if I grunt too loud, I lose. I just want to stay relaxed, stay calm and stay focused more than anything.”

It had been six years since Serena lifted the Venus Rosewater Dish and the world number two admitted she thought her name should have been on the Wimbledon honours’ board at least another time before today.
Serena’s victory bought her level with Billie Jean King on 11 Grand Slam singles title but, she said, they could talk about her place in the pantheon at the end of her career.

“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 continuing playing.”

“Billie Jean King wrote once: ‘Pressure is a privilege’. Being able to work with her on Fed Cup, just as a person, she's really been able to help me understand that it's a privilege to feel that pressure.”

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