Tuesday, 19 June, 2018

Serena's Comeback, Her Greatest Challenge, Coach Says

Richard Shiro  Getty Images Richard Shiro Getty Images
Cassandra Gardner | 07 March, 2018, 07:25

She'll play an exhibition match tonight at Madison Square Garden in NY, then compete at Indian Wells, California, in her first tour event in more than a year.

The elder Williams sister has not played an official singles match in 15 months since winning last year's Australian Open, but her coach Patrick Mouratoglou has said the 23-time grand slam victor expects to be in tip-top condition for the year's second slam come May.

"Yeah, awesome game." The Williams sisters were the headliners yesterday night in the Tie Break Tens tournament in Madison Square Garden, an eight-woman event in which all matches were 10-point tiebreakers, instead of the usual games and sets.

The birth of Williams's daughter, Alexis Olympia, was followed by complications that scuppered the player's plans to defend her title in Melbourne.

"Serena's target will be to win grand slams". However, she asserts that she is committed to bounce back to the apex of her performance, in a matter of time.

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"I want my daughter to be truthful and honest, strong and powerful; to realize that she can impact those around her".

And she insists she has a good chance of making a winning return at the BNP Paribas Open. "I've always been an extremely motivated person, but my main thing is that I would love for my daughter to be around with me doing great, and playing unbelievable, so that definitely gives me some motivation".

The 23-time grand slam champion beat Marion Bartoli 10-5 before suffering a thrilling 13-11 loss to China's Zhang Shuai in the last four. She plays Naomi Osaka of Japan on Wednesday.

"She had a big year last year - got to the finals of two majors, got to the WTA Finals. It's really just fun to mentor these kids and try to help them reach their goals and their dreams".

"I've never been the right kind of woman - oversized, overconfident, too mean...too black for my tennis whites, too motivated for motherhood", she says. "She can still have a great year".

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