Flushing Meadows, NY – By the end of the second set, Serena Williams was seeing the US Open title and her $1 million bonus slip-sliding away.
Heavy wind at the Open was affecting the eventual champion, to a point where Victoria Azarenka had a real shot to beat the No. 1 seed.
“The wind was unbelievable today, “Williams said. “It just got worse and worse. It just never let up. But at this point you have to be able to play under any circumstances. It wasn’t very easy. I think I made a lot of errors because of that.
“Maybe I could have done ‑‑ I definitely could have moved my feet better or gotten into position better, which I didn’t do at all. Next time I’ll have to remember that, you know, I just have to move more in order to adjust better.”
The wind was allowing Williams to do her best Marilyn Monroe imitation, blowing up her skirt and the high cut was interfering with her play.
But if you are a champion, it shouldn’t be easy and it wasn’t for Serena in her 7‑5, 6‑7, 6‑1win over Azarenka.
“Yeah, I think at that point just getting the win under your belt is awesome,” Serena said. “I obviously would have preferred to close it out in straight sets. But going against a great opponent like Victoria, you have to be able to realize that that can happen, and, you know, you have to keep fighting for everything.”
This is now Serena’s 17th Grand Slam title and she is one of Chris Everett and Martina Navratilova and just five behind Steffi Graf. She also has just tied Roger Federer.
” It’s an honor to be even with Roger,” she said. “He’s been such a great champion throughout the years, and he’s just an unbelievable competitor and he’s still playing still, and he can probably still win more. So it feels really good to be, you know, in that same league as him. He’s just been so incredibly consistent, so we have had really different careers.
“Then to be compared with Crissy and Martina, not yet, because I’m still not quite there yet. I can’t necessarily compare myself to them, because, you know, numbers‑wise they’re still greater.”
But at age 31, you have to wonder how much Serena has in the tank to pass Graff. However, Serena still is a league above the competition and even Azarenka, who has the best chance to beat her, isn’t on the same level.
So it might just happen, since Serena is still at the top of her game and maybe on the same level as a 17 year-old who won the Open back in 1999.
“I have been looking at film when I was 17,” she said. ” I remember I played Steffi Graf in Indian Wells, and, gosh, I was good (laughter). I was really ‑‑ I had no idea. I came to the net, and I’m like, Me? I had volleys. I was like, I hit volleys?
“Yeah, so, I mean, I don’t know. Both of us are fighters. We both never give up. So it would be interesting to see. ”
And interesting over the next few years. Serena is already an immortal but she still has time to continue to pile up the titles.