Steely Serena eyes Wimbledon win, not slam

Talk of the grand slam remains taboo as Serena Williams focuses solely on slugging it out with Spanish sensation Garbine Muguruza on Saturday in her eighth Wimbledon final.

Williams is tantalisingly close to completing another “Serena Slam” – holding all four major trophies for the second time, a feat the ageless champion last achieved 12 long years ago.

But the topic – as well as the chance to also be the first woman since Steffi Graf in 1988 to secure a calendar-year sweep of tennis’s four majors – has been off limits since before the championships.

“I don’t what the pressure of that, and I’m not thinking of that,” Williams maintained after continuing her 11-year mastery of rival Maria Sharapova with a 6-2 6-4 semi-final demolition on Thursday.

“When you talk about it every time, you can’t help but think about it. It’s been okay just to free my brain from that.”

Williams needed just 79 minutes to blitz Sharapova for her 17th straight victory over the Russian and reach the final at the All England Club for the first time since 2012.

“The feeling gets better. It’s been a long time since I’ve been in the final here. It’s really cool,” said the five-times champion.

The all-conquering world No.1 enters her 25th grand slam final seeking a 21st major title and close to within one of Graf’s open-era benchmark 22 singles slams.

But unlike when she was desperately hunting down the tallies of fellow American all-time greats Martina Navratilova and Chris Evert, 33-year-old Williams insists there’s no pressure these days.

“I’ve won so many grand slam titles, I’m at a position where I don’t need to win another Wimbledon,” Williams said.

“I could lose tomorrow. Sure, I won’t be happy. But I don’t need another Wimbledon title.

“I don’t need another US Open. I don’t need any titles to make it.

“Every time I step out on court, the practice court, the match court, I do look at it as a more fun time because it’s not as much stressful as it was.

“Like getting to 18 was super stressful for me. It was fun, but I was so stressed out.

“After that, I’ve just been really enjoying myself.”

To such an extent that her latest rout of Sharapova, in which she didn’t face a single break point, extended Williams’ record this year to 38-1.

The top-seeded US, Australian and French Open champion will carry a 27-match grand-slam winning streak into the final.

But Williams knows from first-hand experience that Muguruza is no easy match-up.

The American lost to the world No.20 at last year’s French Open and Muguruza has followed up back-to-back quarter-final runs in Paris in 2014 and 2015 to become the first Spanish woman since Arantxa Sanchez-Vicario in 1996 to make the final at the All England Club.

“I have worked all my life for this; I have no words,” said the big-hitting youngster after her 6-2 3-6 6-3 semi-final win over Poland’s 13th seed and former runner-up Agnieszka Radwanska.

Williams knows Muguruza won’t be intimidated, but disputes the Spaniard’s claim that she has nothing to lose.

“She has Wimbledon to lose. We both have Wimbledon to lose, so that’s something to lose.

“But she’s beaten me before, so she knows how to win. She knows what to do.”



2015 Australian Open, R16, hard, Williams 2-6 6-3 6-2

2014 French Open, R64, clay, Muguruza 6-2 6-2

2013 Australian Open, R64, hard, Williams 6-2 6-0


Age: 33 Born: Saginaw, Michigan, USA

Lives: Palm Beach Gardens, Florida, USA

Height: 175cm

Weight: 70kg

Ranking: 1

Plays: right-handed (two-handed backhand)

Career prize money: $US69,676,428 ($A93.85 million)

Career titles: 66

Career win-loss record: 715-121

Grand slam titles: 20 (Australian Open 2003, 2005, 2007, 2009-10, 2015; French Open 2002, 2013, 2015; Wimbledon 2002-03, 2009-10, 2012; US Open 1999, 2002, 2008, 2012-2014)

Grand slam win-loss record: 189-28

Wimbledon win-loss record: 78-10

Best Wimbledon performances: champion 2002-03, 2009-10, 2012


1st rd: bt Margarita Gaspariyan (RUS) 6-4 6-1

2nd rd: bt Timea Babos (HUN) 6-4 6-1

3rd rd: bt Heather Watson (GBR) 6-2 4-6 7-5

4th rd: bt 16-Venus Williams (USA) 6-4 6-3

QF: bt 23-Victoria Azarenka (BLR) 3-6 6-2 6-3

SF: bt 4-Maria Sharapova (RUS) 6-2 6-4


Age: 21

Born: Caracas, Venezuela

Lives: Barcelona, Spain

Height: 182cm

Weight: 73kg

Ranking: 20

Plays: right-handed (two-handed backhand)

Career prize money: $US2,543,146 ($A3.43 million)

Career titles: 1

Career win-loss record: 221-109

Grand slam titles: 0

Grand slam win-loss record: 23-10

Wimbledon win-loss record: 7-2

Best Wimbledon performances: finalist 2015


1st rd: bt Varvara Lepchencko (USA) 6-4 6-1

2nd rd: bt Mirjana Lucic-Baroni (CRO) 6-3 4-6 6-2

3rd rd: bt 10-Angelique Kerber (GER) 7-6 1-6 6-2

4th rd: bt 5-Caroline Wozniacki (DEN) 6-4 6-4

QF: bt 15-Timea Bacsinszky (SUI) 7-5 6-3

SF: bt 13-Agnieszka Radwanska (POL) 6-2 3-6 6-3

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