LONDON, July 12 — Tiger Woods’s remarkable Masters win this year at the age of 43 serves as an inspiration to Serena Williams, who is just three years shy of 40 herself, she said after reaching her 11th Wimbledon final yesterday.
Williams, who if she beats Simona Halep tomorrow will equal Margaret Court’s Grand Slam singles haul of 24, believes that technology has helped her continue to succeed even afer taking time out to have a baby.
The American superstar lost just three games to her 33-year-old semi-final opponent Barbora Strycova in easing to a 6-1, 6-2 victory in less than an hour yesterday.
“I think technology has really changed,” said Williams, who at 37 years of age and 291 days is the oldest Grand Slam finalist in the modern era.
“That’s the only reason I’m able to compete.
“I feel like if we had this technology 20 years ago, maybe Michael Jordan would still be playing basketball.
“I just feel like we know so much more about our bodies.
“Things I do different now than when I first was on tour, it’s lengthening my career.”
Williams, whose early part of the season was affected by a knee injury, said it was not just her and Woods who were enjoying extended careers.
“It’s not just me, it’s Roger (Federer, 37), Tom Brady (41-year-old New England Patriots six-time Super Bowl winning quarterback), Peyton (Manning, NFL quarterback who won two Super Bowls during his 18-year career) played forever.
“There are so many athletes now that are able to do better and play longer, even play some of their best way after 30s.
“Those athletes, Tiger obviously, what he did at the Masters, was on top of my mind.
“Those athletes are incredibly inspiring. That’s one thing that keeps me moving forward.”
‘I’m far from perfect’
Williams, watched by her husband Reddit co-founder Alexis Ohanian, said despite being proud of what she was achieving at her age she still hankered after her mentality when she was younger.
She revealed she had recalled prior to her semi-final how she felt when she won her first Wimbledon title beating elder sister Venus 7-6 (7/4), 6-3 in 2002.
“I was trying to tap into those emotions,” said Williams.
“I was really calm. I remember I think I hit an ace.
“I just remember, like, how it’s so, so different when you’re younger as opposed to now.”
Williams, whose two sets win took her to 200 career sets won at Wimbledon joint second with Chris Evert in the all-time women’s list behind Martina Navratilova (249), says that she is in a better frame of mind than she was when she ended up losing in both the Wimbledon and US Open finals last year.
“Yeah, I had to get to those finals, looking back, to even be in those two finals last year was unbelievable,” she said.
“Now I’m in a different place. Like I just am more calm.
“Instead of having nothing to lose, I feel like I have things to lose, but I also have nothing to lose.
“It’s like I’m in the middle.”
However, come tomorrow’s final Williams said there was no guarantee it would be the young calmer version walking out on to Centre Court but the one that was pumped up in her three-set quarter-final victory over Alison Riske.
“I was calm today,” she said. “It’s a day-today basis with me. We all know that.
“I’m far from perfect.” — AFP