The Associated PressWIMBLEDON (AP) — Serena Williams walked into her news conference at Wimbledon holding her phone, a cold bottle of water and a stat sheet that reinforced what was clear from watching her third-round singles victory Saturday: She is as close to being back to her best as she has been in a while.
Williams, hampered for much of this season by injuries or illness, took a step forward against 18th-seeded Julia Goerges, a powerful hitter in her own right who lost to the American in last year’s semifinals at the All England Club. Sure enough, Williams hit serves at up to 193 kph, put in a tournament-best 71 percent of her first serves, never faced one break point and won 6-3, 6-4.
“It’s been an arduous year for me,” said Williams, who had competed only 12 times in 2019 until this week, mostly because of a bothersome left knee that finally is pain-free. “So every match, I’m hoping to improve tons.”
Maybe it was a good thing she played twice Saturday, then.
About 4½ hours after getting past Goerges at No. 1 Court, Williams headed out to Centre Court for her much-ballyhooed debut as Andy Murray’s teammate in mixed doubles. Other than one slip near the net when she lost her footing in the first set — she was fine and laughed it off — Williams looked good during the 6-4, 6-1 win against Andreas Mies and Alexa Guarachi, including smacking one serve at 197 kph, equaling the fastest hit in singles by any woman (her, naturally) during the tournament.
“Andy and I both love the competition. I know we both want to do well,” Williams said. “We’re not here just for show.”
She rarely is.
But if Williams is going to win an eighth singles championship at Wimbledon, and a record-tying 24th Grand Slam singles title overall, she will want more performances like the one she gave against Goerges.
Forceful, yes, but nothing was forced.
“I play pretty good when I’m calm, but also super-intense, just finding the balance in between there,” the 37-year-old Williams said. “So it’s a hard balance to find, because sometimes when I’m too calm, I don’t have enough energy. Still trying to find that balance.”Speech