Serena Williams: in the bubble, not 100%, but she’s looking at the bright side

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The Roland-Garros experience has been a huge change-of-pace for players, and Serena Williams will be taking it head-on as she looks for her 24th major.

The COVID-19 pandemic has put a wrench in a lot of things, including the routines and scheduling at tennis tournaments. Serena Williams is one of them with her routine disrupted, and personal health issues seem to loom. For one, she has to stay in a hotel instead of her apartment in Paris.

“It’s definitely weird. This has always been my home away from home. I always loved being here. It has been really different for me staying at an apartment when I’m like, Oh, this is what we normally do.”

She also has to overcome personal health issues as she head into the clay swing, with her wanting to just keep playing to come back to her top form.

“For me, it was really important to do everything that I could to just create my own personal bubble, just to stay in it, a travel bubble, like everything that I can possibly do we kind of do. It works. It definitely beats staying at home.”

Serena is not “at 100%”

After an Achilles problem in the US Open, Serena opted to sit out of the clay swing, missing some match preparation ahead of the final slam of the season. She has been doing rehab and training at her coach Patrick Mouratoglou’s academy in France, and although she doesn’t feel 100 per cent, she still looks to perform.

“Yeah, I’m here. I wouldn’t be playing if I didn’t think I could perform. I’m not at 100% physically. But I don’t know any athlete that ever plays physically when they’re feeling perfect. That’s just something I think as athletes we have to play with.”

She also mentioned the importance to stay positive in this environment, where fatigue could set in with the schedules, traveling and rigorous routines — in a way that “nothing is guaranteed” and that one wouldn’t know if an event would be the last time in one’s life.

“I don’t quite look 39”

The big thing about Serena is also managing expectations — despite just turning 39 and by her standards, being in a bit of a slump, she is still always a favorite to make it deep in majors. To Serena, she didn’t expect to be playing up until 39.

“Yeah, I honestly never thought I would be playing at my age. I mean, I don’t quite look 39. But yeah I don’t know when it’s going to stop for me. I just have fun. When I feel it’s over, it’s over.”

She also remains her lofty expectations on herself, saying that she’s happy she could feel like a semi-final is not good enough and she thinks that in this point of her career, she can’t sit down and feel satisfied about herself.

Getting a shoutout from six-time F1 champion Lewis Hamilton is not too shabby either as they both look to equal a historic record in their respective sport.

At least she kept her positive attitude for dealing with the possible cold weather, and the roof over Chatrier might help.

“I hate the cold. I’m from L.A. and I live in Florida. For half my life I’ve never seen snow. Cold weather and me do not mix. That’s my Achilles’ heel.”

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