US Open: Serena Williams hails the influence of Tiger Woods | Tennis News
Serena Williams has hailed the influence of Tiger Woods after the golfing great persuaded her to have one last chance.
Woods joins the stars in a packed Arthur Ashe Stadium to cheer Williams to victory over second seed Anett Kontaveit after another sparkling performance from the 23-time Grand Slam champion.
The end of the dream is still a long way off, but this posting showed that it could be a possibility.
Williams revealed in the Vogue essay announcing her “evolution” away from tennis that Woods gave her advice on whether to have one last crack.
She said of the 15-time major champion: “He’s one of the reasons I’m here, one of the main reasons I’m still playing. We talked a lot. He was really trying to motivate me.
“There are a few people, but we were like, ‘OK, we can do this together’. It was good, because I didn’t know what I wanted to do. I was just lost, so questions. When you can count on someone like that – I mean, my God, it’s Tiger Woods – it was really helpful to have some clarification.”
Returning to the sport is certainly a wise move now, and Williams, who next faces Australian Ajla Tomljanovic, clearly thinks she has more to offer.
“There’s no rush here,” she said. “I like this crowd. There’s still a little bit left in me. We’ll see. I’m a very good player, that’s what I do best. I like a challenge and I take the challenge.
“I haven’t played many games, but I trained very well. The last two games, it went well. After losing the second set, I thought: ‘I have to give my best. because it could be that’.
“I just consider it a bonus. I have nothing to lose. I’ve had an X on my back since 1999. I really like to get out there and enjoy it.”
Win, lose or draw, Tomljanovic said she would relish the opportunity to play against her idol.
The 29-year-old said Williams’ impact reverberated far beyond the tennis court.
“I think she changed the sport of tennis, but also what she’s done in the world for women in sport is amazing,” she said.
“She paved the way for so many people, inspired me to chase my dreams. Even her longevity. I’m kind of in the part of my career now where they call you on the older side. She made that kind of non-existent.’ ‘Former’ isn’t even a word in his vocabulary. I’m very grateful to him for that.
“I don’t think there’s anyone like her, obviously.”
A challenge for Tomljanovic will be to find a way not to let the crowd supporting Serena get under his skin.
“When the crowd gets involved, that’s what they can get you,” said Tomljanovic.
“I just need to stay in my little bubble, have my corner where I go when I need help just for support, block it out as much as possible.”
Are we heading for another fairy tale in New York?
Serena’s path to US Open glory
- Third round against Ajla Tomljanovic
- Fourth round against Ludmilla Samsonova or Aleksandra Krunic
- Quarter-finals vs (5) Ons Jabeur
- Semi-finals against (12) Coco Gauff
- Final against (1) Iga Swiatek or (6) Aryna Sabalenka
Tennis analyst Barry Cowan said Sky Sports’ Raz Mirza: “If you had asked me before the tournament, I would have said absolutely not. If you had asked me after the first round, I thought potentially. You are looking at the bottom half of the table – my favorite was Simona Halep – but she lost early, while Maria Sakkari also lost early.
“I’m not surprised that Serena won against Kontaveit because the second seed hasn’t been in the same form as last year and at the start of this year.
“The crowd played a huge part and I think they even overshadowed it. The more she comes out and she plays at a high level, who knows!
“Her mindset has changed because currently she’s just trying to enjoy the last few weeks of her career – potentially. We still don’t know where and when that will be.
“She looks relaxed, so never rule out a champion.”
Cowan added: “Serena was massively undercooked at the US Open. Clearly her level from where it was at Wimbledon has improved dramatically and I feel like the more she goes from time playing a singles or doubles match will help him play on instinct.
“It doesn’t look like she’s lost much on serve and as long as Serena is hitting the points she’s going to make it very difficult for who she’s playing.
“When you add in the women’s draw, the bottom half is so wide open, but I still think there are better players than Serena, although they might just get weak in the knees if they know they have to play Serena. The dream continues.”
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