Wang pays touching tribute to late coach after Serena shock

China’s Wang Qiang celebrates after victory against Serena Williams of the US during their women’s singles match on day five of the Australian Open tennis tournament in Melbourne January 24, 2020. — AFP pic
China’s Wang Qiang celebrates after victory against Serena Williams of the US during their women’s singles match on day five of the Australian Open tennis tournament in Melbourne January 24, 2020. — AFP pic

MELBOURNE, Jan 24 — China’s Wang Qiang said her late coach remains in her dreams after she beat seven-time Australian Open champion Serena Williams for the finest victory of her career today.

Wang said Australia’s Peter McNamara, who died of cancer in July, would be proud after her steely triumph over the 23-time Grand Slam winner.

“I always dream about him. I think he could see how I played today,” said Wang, who beat Williams 6-4, 6-7 (2/7), 7-5 to reach the fourth round.

“He will be proud of me. I really wish he could be here to watch me play. Yes, I miss him.”

McNamara, who also coached Mark Philippoussis and Grigor Dimitrov, is credited with turning Wang, 28, into a force on the women’s tour during their four years together.

Under the Australian, Wang’s career began to take off in 2018, when she won two titles and beat Venus Williams en route to the Roland Garros third round.

Last year, Wang had her best Grand Slam season yet, culminating in her quarter-final appearance at the US Open — where she was humbled 6-1, 6-0 by Serena Williams.

Wang, who last year became the highest ranked Chinese player since two-time Grand Slam champion Li Na, said she had been working hard since the defeat at Flushing Meadows.

“I think I have more power than last year... I did a lot of work in the gym. I think it worked,” said Wang.

“Playing against (Serena), she’s a really aggressive player. You cannot be only passive, you have to stay with her,” she added.

“For me, this match was a really aggressive match. She hit more winners than me, but that’s the way she plays. I think she missed a lot today. I think that’s the point.” — AFP

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