This content was published 7 years ago. It may refer to a past edition of the Internazionali d’Italia.
Serena Williams is always confident and as well as she might with her extraordinary achievements in tennis. She has remarkable self-assurance and believes she remains good enough to retain her No.1 ranking. But she is always quick to praise other players too.
Victory over fellow American Christina McHale 7-6 6-1 set up a quarter-final clash against Svetlana Kuznetsova and Serena is well aware just how tough the match on Friday will be.
“I think it’s great,” she said. “I think right now she’s probably one of the best clay-court players. I couldn’t ask for a better match going into Roland Garros, so this is a perfect opportunity for me, win or lose, to see where I am and get ready for what I’m ready for, which is the main event.”
Serena has stayed strong in a time where plenty of seeds have struggled.
“I’m just trying to stay afloat myself,” she said. “I just think it’s a lot of depth. You never know. Anyone can win on any day, and everyone’s going and gunning. No one is coming out and saying: ‘Oh, I play a seed so I’m going to lose’. They are saying: ‘Oh, I play a seed so I’m going to win this match.’ And I think that’s what we need in tennis.
“I feel good. My focus is just to do well at the Slams. Obviously I want to do well at the other tournaments, too, because if you don’t do well like in Rome or all the other tournaments then you’re not going to do well at the Slams. So those are all important.
“In my mind I’m always No. 1, and I think I have always thought that since I have turned pro. And in everyone else’s mind, even when I was injured they are like; ‘You’re No. 1.’ I’m like: ‘Yeah, sure.’ So everyone else thinks it. Now my main goal is just to focus on winning tournaments and the ranking, I guess, will come.”
Kuznetsova beat Daria Gavrilova in three sets and looking ahead to the Serena match still has a Miami win over the Floridian in her mind.
“Serena will be favourite, anyway, so that’s cool,” she said. “I won in Miami, but that doesn’t matter, you know. Serena is No. 1. She’s playing great on any surface. And it just gonna be another great match, great opportunity for me to play and to enjoy my game, and I’m looking forward to it.
“I know where I am at. I feel great on the clay. I’m doing better. I have couple days off after here to prepare my things.
“It’s great to play top player on clay before French. It’s amazing and it will be amazing match. And I know Serena will go for her best.”
There was disappointment for Eugenie Bouchard, who 24 hours after a stunning win over second seed Angelique Kerber, suffered a 6-1 6-0 loss to Barbora Strycova.