“He’s one of the reasons I’m here,” Williams told reporters After beating Anett Kontaveit Three sets, “one of the main reasons I still play.”
Woods was also an enthusiastic supporter, offering a vintage Tiger fist pump after Williams’ victory and later tweeting that it was a “privilege to see greatness”. But he was no ordinary fan.
With both their illustrious athletic careers stalled, Woods, 46, and Williams, 40, developed a relationship in which he turned her into a mentor. She revealed recently Current.
Williams has played just four matches in the last 14 months, winning just once. His last match before the US Open was a flop, full of errors Loss to 19-year-old Emma Raduganu On August 16 it lasted only 65 minutes. His trip to Wimbledon this summer Ended with a loss in the first round She was injured when she tripped on the wet grass.
She began to mentally prepare for what she calls the next step in her evolution — business ventures and perhaps adding a family. This includes their 5-year-old daughter Olympia – but he wasn’t ready to leave the sport he turned pro at 14. Enter Woods.
“I was talking to a friend, Tiger Woods, and I told him I needed his advice on my tennis career. I said, ‘I don’t know what to do: I think I’m over it, but I’m not. [tennis],’” Williams told Rob Haskell at Vogue. “He was a tiger, and he was sure that I was an animal like him!
“He said, ‘Serena, what if you give it two weeks? You don’t have to commit to anything. You go out on the court every day for two weeks and give it your all and see what happens.’ And I said, ‘Well, I guess I can.'”
Williams waited a month and then returned to the court, where she said it “felt magical to pick up a racket again.”
At the time, she said, she was “good. I was really good. After that I went back and forth about whether to play Wimbledon, and the US Open. Like I said, this whole evolution wasn’t easy for me.
For now, her evolution is on hold. Next up is Thursday night’s doubles with her sister Venus at the US Open. On Friday, she will play unseeded Ajla Domljanovic and will know the draw is in her favor with the No. 2 seed out as she tries to equal Margaret Court’s record of 24 Grand Slam singles titles.
“I know there’s a fantasy that I might have tied Margaret up in London that day [at Wimbledon]may have broken her record in New York, and later at the trophy ceremony, she said, ‘See ya!'” Williams told Vogue. “… But I’m not looking for some ceremonial, on-court final moment. I’m terrible at saying goodbye, the worst in the world. But I’m more than I can express in words. Know that I’m so grateful for you. You’ve led me to so many victories and so many trophies. I’m going to miss that version of that girl who played tennis. And I’m going to miss you.
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