Experts stunned as Serena Williams marches on in ‘farewell’ run

Serena Williams

Serena Williams has floored pundits with her efforts at Flushing Meadows this week as she added victory over World No 2 Anett Kontaveit to her opening round triumph over Danka Kovinić.

One of the experts left in awe of the 40-year-old is seven-time Grand Slam winner Mats Wilander.

Wilander was not expecting Williams to clinch the victory, especially after dropping the second set 2-6.

However, the Swede feels that the crowd did their part to lift Serena to victory.

“I have not heard a crowd that loud,” Wilander said on Eurosport.

“I think a lot of people must be seeing Serena for the first time here.

“She is playing great. She beat the number two player in the world and that’s a ranking that means one of the most consistent players, I am stunned.”

“The movement is much better than I ever could’ve expected and the serve is coming back. She is a threat now,” he continued.

“I am surprised that she can keep it up but we’ve seen Serena do this at Grand Slam tournaments when she hasn’t had a lot of matches. She wins a match, then two, then the tables flip completely and now she is one of the favourites.

“I think this is a sign that there is more to come, she believes there is more to come. That’s how you win 23 Slams I guess. She internalises the problem in front of her and uses the crowd. She becomes Serena and she has that eye of the tiger – amazing.”

After the win Serena admitted that for the first time in a long time she is playing without pressure and she had to take a moment to remind herself that she has already won.

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“I feel like everything is a bonus,” she said in her post-match press conference.

“It’s that weird mixture of embracing but also staying focused. I just feel like I have had a big red X on my back since I won the US Open in ’99.

“It’s been there my entire career because I won my first Grand Slam early in my career.

“But here it’s different. I feel like I’ve already won, figuratively, and mentally. It’s just pretty awesome the things that I’ve done.

“I never accept that. I never think about it. So tonight I was just like, ‘Serena, you’ve already won, just play, be Serena. You’re better than this.’ That’s what I was able to do.”

Every match of Serena’s US Open run is a gift to fans of the titan of tennis and two deep she has already laid on some treats.

One match at a time we will all be along for the ride and many of us don’t want it to end at all.