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