| LONDON, July 7
LONDON, July 7 She now has five Wimbledon
singles titles, has a serve that is almost unplayable on the
lawns and even named her dog after one of greatest men's players
to grace the surface, yet Serena Williams still says she really
does not like grass.
The 30-year-old American carved another landmark on the All
England Club's famous Centre Court on Saturday when she
overpowered Poland's Agnieszka Radwanska to move level with her
sister Venus's singles haul at the championships.
Despite being a relative veteran of the women's game, the
American is clearly not finished yet and, should she stay fit
and healthy, few would bet against her matching the six of
fellow American Billie Jean King here in 12 months' time.
Yet the girl who learned her trade belting balls on the
public hardcourts in Compton, insists the plush Wimbledon lawns
still have her scratching her head at times.
"I don't love grass, to be honest," Williams told reporters
before heading back out to contest the women's doubles final
with Venus. "I always say that every year.
"I'm like, Gosh, the grass! I'm not the biggest grass court
player because I always get bad bounces and I'm always
complaining, and I hate it when I get a bad bounce.
"But, for whatever reason, I do really well here."
The serve certainly helps. During her seven singles
victories here this past fortnight she slammed down 102 aces, 24
of them coming in the semi-final against Victoria Azarenka and
another 17 against Radwanska.
She also served a perfect game of four aces in the third set
on Saturday to regain control of a match that she had let slip
out of her control after breezing through the first set.
Serena said she rarely practises the swing that she modelled
on seven-times men's champion Pete Sampras - one of the greatest
servers of his generation.
"I used to want to serve just like Pete," said Williams, who
now has an identical grand slam haul to that of Sampras - 14
titles from 18 finals.
"But I think my motion changed. It doesn't look anything
like his. But I definitely wanted to. That was the intention."
"I really loved Pete when I was younger," added Williams.
"My dog's name is Jackie Violet Pete after Pete Sampras, so
obviously I'm a little bit obsessed.
"I didn't realise I had the same stats. Clearly my career is
not over, so I definitely want to do a few more."
Williams, who has battled back from a career-threatening
foot injury and serious health problems since her previous grand
slam singles title at Wimbledon in 2010, said all that she had
achieved was inspired by her sister.
"I don't know what I would have (won) if Venus didn't
exist," she said. "I don't even know if I would own a grand slam
title or if I would play tennis, because we do everything
together. Growing up I copied Venus, everything she did. She was
a real big influence for me.
"When she started winning, I wanted it so bad. When she
became number one, I had to be number one. I had to work harder.
I had to do everything in my power to get there.
"I just am so influenced and amazed by her playing and doing
so well. It's just amazing."
(Reporting by Martyn Herman; editing by Toby Davis)