Her Spanish opponent’s game picked up towards the end, forcing Williams to fight harder to win the Wimbledon 2015 title.
Maybe the most telling statistic about Williams’ ability to turn it up a notch when the spotlight is brightest is this: Her record in major semifinals and finals is 47-7.
“Every single time it’s overcoming those feelings”.
“I just keep reinventing myself in terms of working out, in terms of my game”, Williams said. “I’m really nice right now, but sooner or later I have to cut it out because I can’t think about that”.
In her on-court interview afterward, Muguruza told the crowd: “I am proud to play in front of you“. The last time any woman did that was Steffi Graf in 1988.
“I’ve also learned it takes teamwork”.
“It does happen, but I embrace it, I bottle it up and I throw that bottle away”. I’ve kind of solidified my place at number one. This year, in an attempt to mix up her workout routine, she started pole dancing, and by the time she won her sixth Wimbledon title, the secret was out.
“It usually is the same one song: it’s actually Flashdance by Irene Cara”.
“I definitely don’t feel old”, Williams said. Williams previously won the championships at the Australian Open and French Open this year and will need a win in the U.S. Open in September to accomplish the feat.
Williams vows that at some point during that period she will shut down questions in regard to the Grand Slam, much like she did during Wimbledon, the weight of expectation too much to bear during this fortnight.
“I can’t believe I’m standing here with another Serena Slam“, Williams beamed after seeing off Muguruza in one hour and 22 minutes on tennis’ most famous centre court.
“Even after the French Open I didn’t think about winning a Serena Slam so that’s super surprising”.
Despite playing an opponent who was appearing in her first grand slam final, the win did not come easy for the top-ranked women’s player. “I just never dreamt I would be out here still and let alone winning”.
When someone is one of the few people in a sport historically dominated by caucasians, foolish comments nearly always follow.
When it was over, when she was assured of being this year’s Wimbledon runner-up and not this year’s Wimbledon champion, Garbine Muguruza shed some tears.
“I was doing really well then I ended up in the hospital – but that stage of my career set up this stage, I think it worked out for me”, said Williams.
The six-time US Open victor acknowledged the scrutiny will be even more intense at Flushing Meadows, but once again she will try to focus on each match rather than the legacy-defining success at her fingertips.
“It’s been really good to have that extra ear, having an easier way about a match”.
Williams said she served poorly, but she still hit 12 aces. And that’s the only reason I want to be there. “I just feel like I want to go in there and hope for the best”.
The Williams entourage was a constant feature at Wimbledon, from stars like balladeer John Legend and rapper Drake to regulars, sister Venus and family matriarch Oracene Price.
But liking grass, and playing Serena Williams and her history of five previous titles on it here, were two entirely different things.
She is just one major title behind Graf on the Open era leaderboard and within three of all-time record holder Margaret Court’s tally of 24. The Grand Slam is, she admits, the ultimate goal, but the Serena Slam is still pretty impressive.