Serena Williams: I play everyone at their greatest, so I have to be greater

Serena Williams was in fine form both on and off the court at Wimbledon on Friday.

The 23-time Grand Slam winner was too good for France’s Kristina Mladenovic, winning 7-5, 7-6 (7-2) to set up a fourth-round encounter against Evgeniya Rodina.

Mladenovic was full of praise for Williams after the match, saying: “I mean, it’s kind of – Serena, when you know she’s on and she really wants it, she doesn’t give you much. She’s really aggressive. Honestly, even in that first set where I was in front, there is not much I can regret.”

Even Madison Keys, who lost to Rodina in the third round, admitted that “it must suck” being Williams as players always bring their A-game when they face you.

And the seven-time Wimbledon winner is happy that people are acknowledging that players always raise their game when they face her.

“I’m glad someone admitted that,” the American said.

“Every single match I play, whether I’m coming back from a baby or surgery, it doesn’t matter, these young ladies, they bring a game that I’ve never seen before.

“It’s interesting because I don’t even scout as much because when I watch them play, it’s a totally different game than when they play me.

“That’s what makes me great: I always play everyone at their greatest, so I have to be greater.”

The 36-year-old added: “Yeah, there’s definitely that aura, that kind of thing of playing Serena.

“At the same time these women are proud. They don’t go out there and say, I’m going to lose because I’m playing Serena.

“They go out there and say, I’m going to play hard because I’m playing Serena.”