Serena Williams shrugs off Wimbledon pressure as history beckons

Serena Williams

LONDON (TIP): Serena Williams insists she doesn’t care about making history even though the world number one can add more lustre to her legacy with victory over Garbine Muguruza in Saturday’s Wimbledon final.

As if winning the sixth Wimbledon title and 21st major of her career wouldn’t be enough to underline Williams’ credentials as one of the all-time greats, she has a slew of other milestones within reach in her 25th Grand Slam final.

After demolishing Maria Sharapova to move into her eighth Wimbledon final, Serena, who has a remarkable 38-1 record in 2015, is just one victory away from holding all four major titles at the same time — a rare feat she last achieved in 2002-03.

A win over surprise finalist Muguruza would also make the 33-year-old American the first woman to land the French Open and Wimbledon back-to-back since she last achieved the double in 2002.

Perhaps most significantly, lifting the Venus Rosewater Dish for the first time since 2012 would leave Serena needing only to defend the US Open to become the first woman since Steffi Graf in 1988 to claim a calendar Grand Slam.

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But rather than dwell on those legacy-defining possibilities, Williams made it clear the only reason she is in such a privileged position is because she no longer frets about her place in the pantheon of tennis greats.

“I don’t want the pressure of that. It’s been okay just to free my brain,” she said. “I’ve won so many Grand Slam titles. I’m at a position where I don’t need to win another Wimbledon. I could lose on Saturday. Sure, I won’t be happy. But I don’t need another Wimbledon title. “Getting to 18 majors was super stressful for me. I was so desperate to do it. After that, I’ve just been really enjoying myself.”

While coy about her achievements, Serena admits her success is fuelled by a fiercely competitive streak that refuses to dim even at an age when many of her former rivals have long since retired.

“I really hate losing. So I’m that kind of person that will work hard, work harder than anybody else to make sure I don’t get that,” she said.

“I keep reinventing myself, always try to improve something or get better.”

Williams, the first woman to reach the finals of all four majors consecutively since Justine Henin in 2006, is heavily favoured to defeat Muguruza, a Grand Slam final debutant who has just one tour-level title compared to Serena’s 67. But Williams need only recall her shock loss against Muguruza at last year’s French Open to ensure she guards against complacency.

“It’s definitely not an easy match-up. She actually has a win against me. She’s given me problems in the past,” Serena said.

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