Serena Williams speaks out after setting new US Open record
Serena Williams became the player with the most match wins in US Open history after her first-round victory against compatriot Kristie Ahn.
Williams, a six-time champion, won her 102nd main draw match in New York – surpassing Chris Evert’s previous record – as she began her quest for a 24th Grand Slam title.
The third seed and home favourite booked a second-round tie with Margarita Gasparyan – the world No. 117 from Russia who earlier defeated Monica Puig from Puerto Rico – by dismantling Ahn 7-5 6-3, securing her first win in straight sets since the WTA Tour resumed. Indeed, all five of her previous matches had gone the distance.
It’s another record that the 23-time Grand Slam champion has broken, another legacy she will leave behind when she hangs up her racquet.
But she admitted she struggles to appreciate such landmarks given her laser sharp focus on the ultimate prize: winning another major title.
‘Yeah, in a weird way I feel like every time I come here I’m being told I broke another record,’ said Williams. ‘I felt like I had something last year. Maybe it was a tie for Chris Evert.
‘But it’s cool. I don’t think I appreciate it enough, which is unfortunate.
‘But I’m in the middle of a Grand Slam, so it’s not the time to be focused for me on records when I’m thinking about winning a tournament.’
Reflecting on her match, which was played on Arthur Ashe without fans, Williams added: ‘It’s quiet but it’s such a big stadium, there’s the screen and the atmosphere and it’s a Grand Slam so I’m still as passionate and tense out there.
‘I was really happy with how I just fought for every point, no matter how I was playing.
‘I was like “Okay, Serena. I’ve got to get by Serena focus back.” So that’s what I’ve been working on today.
‘I love my job, I love what I do. I’ve always said you can’t do it forever, even though I’ve been kind of doing it just over forever so one of these days it’s going to end. I love being out here.
She joked: ‘It’s been years – since the 90s since I won a match in straight sets. It felt really good I was just like, “Serena, just be Serena and close it out.” I know I can do that. It felt really good.’
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