Millennium Post

Serena out to tame French Open demons

If momentum counts for everything in tennis, nothing will stop Serena Williams from winning the French Open for just the second time in her career in Paris on June 8.

At 31, the superstar of the women’s game is on an unprecedented winning run going in to the consecration of the claycourt season at Roland Garros.
Four straight tournament wins at Miami, Charleston, Madrid and Rome (the last three coming on clay) and 22 matches in all for the loss of just four sets represents the best unbeaten streak of her career.

Nothing suggests that that is about to end in Paris. And yet there are demons to be confronted for the American diva in the city she says is her favourite place in the world.

Namely 11 previous campaigns and just the one championship win -- in 2002 when she defeated sister Venus in the final -- as the first step on the road to her famous ‘Serena Slam’ of all four Grand Slam titles.

Since then a combination of injuries, lack of focus and claycourt calamities have brought losses to the likes of Katarina Srebotnik and, most surprisingly, in last year’s first round, to France’s Virginie Razzano, which saw a frustrated Williams stomp off the Philippe Chatrier Centre Court in a decided huff.

A repeat of last year’s debacle, she says is out of the question - the lesson has been learned. ‘I was feeling excellent last year and I didn’t do great,’ Williams said of her loss to Razzano.
‘This year I feel good, too, but I’m definitely more cautious. I feel I just want to win every point and do every shot the best I can at the French Open. And I’m going to work really hard and not slack at all and do the best I can. 

‘I don’t feel any pressure now. Maybe in the past I have. Like I’ve always said, I’ve won every Grand Slam there is to win. Maybe I’ve only won it (French Open) once, but I know a lot of people who can’t say that. So for me, I don’t feel any pressure anymore.’
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