When the 11-times grand slam champion was asked to take a look back at her U.S. Open career on Monday, she said her younger self would find the 2009 version of Serena as “super cool.”
The world number two opened the defense of her title at Flushing Meadows with an easy 6-4 6-1 victory over another American, Alexa Glatch, on Monday and then quickly turned her thoughts to her memoir “On the line.”
Williams said she wrote the book to help motivate people and inspire them to make the best of themselves and was asked what the 10-year-old Serena would think of the 27-year-old incarnation.
“I think that I would just think that this Serena Williams today is super cool – I would love to get her autograph,” she said.
“I think she would have been my idol because growing up there weren’t too many black people. I loved Zina Garrison and Lori McNeil. I would have had a little favoritism toward myself and Venus (Williams).”
The Wimbledon and Australian Open champion said the way the Williams sisters overcame childhood struggles to each become world number one should provide others with the inspiration to achieve their dreams.
“That’s another reason I wrote it because I felt that what makes a champion isn’t how well they do,” she said. “It’s about how well they can recover when they fall, or if they fall.”
Serena slipped outside the top 100 in 2006 after a series of injuries, only to bounce back by winning the Australian Open in January 2007.
“I love Muhammad Ali, he went to jail for a period of time and he came back on top of the world,” she said.
“I just thought (about) what it would be like. I was on top of the world and then things came crashing down. You get to see people who are really your friends and you get to see people that really stick by your side and how you can recover from that and stay strong.
“I just think anyone can do it. You just have to have a kind of guide sometimes to get there.”
Serena Williams Throws Out The Ceremonial First Pitch
After throwing out the first pitch at the new Yankee Stadium in the Yankees vs. White Sox game, Serena headed out to the newly opened Porto Vivo in Huntington. There, Williams, her manager and her sister Isha had dinner with the restaurant’s co-owners Joy Mangano (of Home Shopping Network fame) and Philipp Seipelt, along with Seipelt’s fiancee Christie Mangano.
So, what does a tennis great eat the week before the U.S. Open? Williams had steamed littleneck clams and grilled branzino, washed down with nothing more intoxicating than water. The wine cellar would have to wait.
Shown in the photo are (l-r) Joy Mangano, Serena Williams and Philipp Seipelt. Photo from Porto Vivo.