Serena Williams is eager to return to spotlight at Wimbledon | Tennis
In case there were doubts out there, Serena Williams wants to make perfectly clear she is going to be around tennis awhile longer. So is older sister Venus. "I have no intention of stopping, and I don't think she does either," Serena said.
The Associated Press
At a glanceSite: The All England Lawn Tennis and Croquet Club.
Schedule: The women's singles final is July 7; the men's singles final is July 8.
TV: ESPN starts a 12-year U.S. TV rights deal with Wimbledon and will have live coverage every day of the tournament on ESPN/ESPN2. ABC will re-air some matches on tape delay, but there will be no live action on broadcast television.
2011 men's singles champion: Novak Djokovic of Serbia.
2011 women's singles champion: Petra Kvitova of the Czech Republic.
Key statistic: 9 — Consecutive men's Grand Slam events won by either Djokovic or Rafael Nadal.
WIMBLEDON, England — In case there were doubts out there, Serena Williams wants to make perfectly clear she is going to be around tennis awhile longer. So is older sister Venus.
"I have no intention of stopping, and I don't think she does either. We're definitely connected at the hip," the 30-year-old Williams said Saturday, two days before Wimbledon begins. "I enjoy being out there on the court so much."
Asked what she likes most about tennis, Williams said, "I love competing. I love the challenge. I love holding up trophies. So I guess if ever I feel that I can't do that, then maybe I won't play anymore."
On a bit of a roll, she continued: "That's what I love. I love stepping out on that court, having that atmosphere, that moment. That moment is all about me. Maybe it's a little selfish, but I love that feeling."
The last time she was on a court at a tournament, though, things did not go as planned, and there was no trophy anywhere in sight.
On May 29, Williams lost to 111th-ranked Virginie Razzano of France 4-6, 7-6 (7-5), 6-3 at the French Open, the American's only first-round exit in 47 Grand Slam tournament appearances.
Serena led 5-1 in the second-set tiebreaker — all told, she was two points from winning nine times — but she wasn't able to close the deal.
After a few weeks to ponder that disappointment, and to get ready for the switch from clay courts to grass, Williams is ready to seek a fifth Wimbledon championship and 14th major title overall.
"Whether I had won in Paris or lost like I did in the first round, I am always extremely motivated," she said. "If anything, you know, I think losing makes me even more motivated."
A decade ago, Williams won the French Open and Wimbledon one after the other, mastering the difficult surface transition and short turnaround.
No woman has taken those two trophies home in the same year since.
The latest to try will be No. 1-ranked Maria Sharapova, a Russian who won her first Roland Garros title two weekends ago — completing a career Grand Slam.
"It's the toughest back-to-back, Grand Slam-wise, no doubt. Especially if you're coming off a French Open win ... as much as you want to celebrate and enjoy, you come here and it's like a whole new ballgame," Sharapova said.
Going from clay to grass is "certainly an adjustment," she said. "The first two days, you're like, 'Wait, I can't really slide that much.' So you have to take a few more steps. I'm like, 'That's kind of unfortunate. I kind of got used to it.' ... I mean, on a fast grass court, you're not playing more than five-ball rallies. If you are, probably doing something wrong."
Sharapova's triumph in Paris was the fourth major title of her career, but the first since having surgery on her right shoulder in October 2008.
Her first major championship came at Wimbledon in 2004 at age 17. Last year, Sharapova made it back to the final — her first at a Grand Slam tournament since the 2008 Australian Open — before losing to Petra Kvitova.
Williams isn't used to long stretches between major titles. Her last came two years ago at Wimbledon; less than a week later, she cut her feet on glass at a restaurant, precipitating a string of health problems that sidelined her for three majors in a row.
Meanwhile, in the men's bracket, Roger Federer of Switzerland won Wimbledon for the sixth time in 2009 but lost in the quarterfinals in each of the past two years.
"I want to do better; I have to do better in this event, because I could have gone further," the 30-year-old Federer said. "Maybe a bit unfortunate at times. Maybe the other guys were just too good. Maybe I wasn't quite at my best. Who knows what the combination was?
"But it's up to me to make that difference now and take it to the next step. ... A seventh would be amazing."