Good thing happens when two women who are members of the “Elite 18″ get together for a chat? ESPN was kind enough to make it happen, when Serena Williams sat with Chris Evert recently to discuss her goals for 2015. I found the interview quite wonderful, as Evert in a delightfully relaxed interview style, had Serena reflecting on this year; as well, as opening up about friendships, disappointments and the joys of the 2014 season.
The two even bantered quite jovially about meeting up on the tennis court someday. ”
Which made Serena ponder the thought, before replying in her witty, winning way:
“It would be different to play someone who’s won 18 grand slams. I don’t know how I would feel. Do you want to play, Chrissie? Let’s play this weekend so I can feel how it feels.”
From the interview we are made privy to one of the many (but not often spoken of by the tennis media) reasons why Serena values deeply her friendship with Caroline Wozniacki. Though they both have tennis in common as a career pursuit, their journey to professional tennis play differs.
Serena shares that the friendship enables her to gain insight about junior tennis; where Caroline, like most women on tour, got her start.
“We talk about how things are different for different players growing up. For me and Venus, not playing junior tennis was good for us. I asked her, “What was it like to play the juniors?” I never knew Junior Wimbledon existed until I was a few years on tour, I’m embarrassed to say. I didn’t realize that there was actually a junior event.”
About 2015 and Changes in Her Game
We gain insight into the coach-player relationship Serena has with Patrick Mouratoglou. She began working with him shortly after an early exit from the 2012 French Open. Evert put his question to Serena: “You turned to Patrick Mouratoglou for some coaching, then had a dynamite year in 2013. What did he see in your game?”
“I was recently watching my old matches on YouTube. I found matches in 2009, 2010 and 2011, and I definitely have to say I think I’m a better player than I was then. I’m smoother. I move better on the court. I’m lighter on the court. My game looks a lot easier, like I’m not trying as hard. It’s a lot more effortless.”
Evert reminds the World#1 that going into last year, her expressed goal was to make fewer errors. Revealing her commitment to greatness in her game; Serena expounded in specifics about changes in her game that will be her focus in training.
“Well, I want to move a lot faster on the court. I want to be more dynamic and just completely awesome out there. And I need to bring my serve back. My serve in 2014 was a little disappointing for me. I want my 2013 serve back, but a better version of that for 2015. I had so many double faults this year: I was hitting, like, seven in a match, and it was driving me insane.”
Enjoy reading the full interview at espnW’s Impact 25 and ESPN The Magazine’s Interview.
As for me and the 2015 tennis season…can’t wait! Having reached the record 18 grand slams and joining Navratilova and Evert in that elite club; Serena expressed her perspective on winning more grand slams and perhaps reaching the ultimate…22.
Chris Evert: “Eighteen Grand Slams now. You’re in the club. How much further can you go?”
“Serena Williams: Well, it’s no secret. I’m going for the gusto. I’m going to try to catch up with Steffi (Graf, who won 22 Grand Slam titles). But right now I’m really focused on 19, which will begin in Australia. Whether I get there or not, I don’t know. But I know if I get to 19, the second it happens I will be thinking of 20.”
Note to Serena: Your legion of fans have nothing but faith in you accomplishing that which you desire! And I know I speak for many when I say:
wish it – you on court – would never end!
Racquets Up…LOL… guest blogger @BlackPearlMoi