Serena Williams' coach says Slam total biggest target
Two people close to history-chasing Serena Williams, coach Patrick Mouratoglou and older sister Venus Williams, say the world number one is relaxed and feeling fine as she aims for a calendar Grand Slam.
New York: Two people close to history-chasing Serena Williams, coach Patrick Mouratoglou and older sister Venus Williams, say the world number one is relaxed and feeling fine as she aims for a calendar Grand Slam.
And Mouratoglou hints at a reason why, saying the 33-year-old American`s biggest target at the US Open is Steffi Graf`s Open Era record 22 career Grand Slam singles crowns, not the calendar Slam.
"Definitely the biggest thing is trying to beat the record of Graf," he told ESPN.
"If it doesn`t happen here, it will happen next year at Australian Open or Roland Garros. Serena has many opportunities to do this one."
Three-time defending champion Williams can become the first player to sweep all four Grand Slam singles crowns in the same year since German legend Graf in 1988.
That`s a rarer opportunity, but Williams has already won four Grand Slam titles in a row twice in her career, the second time by taking the Wimbledon crown in July.
"I don`t feel that fresh pressure," Serena Williams said. "If I make it far maybe I`ll start to feel pressure."
A seventh career trophy at Flushing Meadows would pull Williams level with Graf and move her only two shy of Australian Margaret Court`s all-time record of 24 Slam singles titles.
"I think she`s quite relaxed," Mouratoglou said. "Her focus every day at every event has gone to another level. That focus makes her a more consistent player. This gives her more options when she gets into a tough match. She`s able to win more matches because of it."
Mouratoglou dismisses any notion he can be credited for Williams` finding the best form of her career at age 33.
"Serena is Serena with or without me," he said.
Williams has won six Wimbledon, Australian Open and US Open crowns as well as three French Opens.
Venus Williams, Serena`s older sister who owns seven Grand Slam crowns of her own, has noticed her sibling`s extra focus paying off as well.
"She deserves every single thing she has," Venus Williams said. "At the same time, she`s not focused on everything else. She`s focused on the tennis and the results show."
Venus hesitated to call Serena`s victory run something anyone could pick up.
"I don`t know if you`d call it contagious, but it becomes a habit and she has developed an unbelievable habit," Venus Williams said. "I think she feels good. I don`t see any signs of her not feeling good."
But when it comes to talking about Slam win totals or calendar Slams, Venus says she and Serena talk about other topics.
"We don`t talk about that," Venus Williams said. "What am I going to tell her? Sometimes its better not to talk too much. Sometimes it`s better to go in with a clear head."