“It’s one of the reasons I’m here, and one of the main reasons I still play,” Williams told reporters after defeating Annette Kontaveit in three sets.
Jenkins: Master of her mind and body, Serena Williams summons the will of the champ
Woods was an ardent supporter, too, introducing the old tiger fist pump when Williams’ win was complete, and later tweeting, “It was a pleasure watching the greatness.” But he was no ordinary fan.
As their legendary athletic career looms, Woods, 46, and Williams, 40, have built a relationship that has turned him into a mentor, as she recently revealed in Vogue.
Williams has played only four games in the past 14 months, winning only once. Her last game before the US Open was a lopsided and error-ridden loss to 19-year-old Emma Radokano on August 16 that lasted just 65 minutes. Her trip to Wimbledon this summer ended with a first round loss and an injury when she slipped on wet grass.
She had begun to prepare mentally for what she calls her development to the next step – business ventures and perhaps an addition to a family that includes 5-year-old daughter Olympia – but she wasn’t quite ready to leave the sport in which she became a professional. 14 years old. Enter Woods.
“I was talking to Tiger Woods, who is a friend, and I told him I needed his advice on my tennis career. I said, ‘I don’t know what to do: I think I’m over it, but maybe not yet. [tennis],” Williams told Rob Haskell in Vogue magazine. “He is a tiger, and he was adamant that I was a beast as he is!
“He said, Serena, what if you just give her two weeks? You don’t have to commit to anything. You just go out to the field every day for two weeks and give everything you can to see what happens. I said, ‘Well, I think I can do that.’”
The question now for Serena Williams is how far can she go at the US Open?
Williams said she waited a month and then went back to court, where she “felt the magic to pick up a racket again.”
At that point, she said, “It was good. I was really good. I went back and forth on whether I was going to play Wimbledon, or the US Open next. Like I said, this whole development wasn’t easy for me.”
At the moment, its development is pending. Next up at the US Open is Thursday night’s doubles with her sister Venus. On Friday, you’ll play unseeded Ajla Tomljanovic and learn that with Player 2 out of the way, the lottery favors her for a while as she tries to set Margaret Court’s record of 24 Grand Slam singles titles.
“I know there is fan fiction that I may have hooked up with Margaret that day in London [at Wimbledon], then probably broke her record in New York, and then at the cup party say, “See you!” “…But I’m not looking for a final celebratory moment on the court. I’m terrible at saying goodbye, the worst in the world. But please know I’m more grateful to you than I can express in words. You have carried me to so many victories and so many awards. I will miss those The version of me, that girl who played tennis. And I will miss you.”
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