Tennis star Serena Williams knows there's always a competitive target on her back, but she's not sweating it.
After defeating unseeded Kristina Mladenovic of France 7-5, 7-6 (2), Telegraph reporter Jamie Johnson asked Williams what it was like having to up her game every time she played, per SB Nation. Players from around the world always give the star their best, but, as always, they fall short.
— Jamie Johnson (@JamieoJohnson) July 7, 2018
“What do you think? I mean, you have to deal with that every single time you go on court knowing you are number one, the one to beat,” Johnson asked. “Have you just got used to that now?”
Johnson was not prepared for her brutal honesty.
“I’m glad someone admitted that. Of course Madison does, she’s just so smart and so on it. Every single match I play, whether I’m coming back from a baby or surgery, it doesn’t matter. These young ladies, they bring a game that I’ve never seen before. And it’s interesting because I don’t even scout as much, because when I watch them play, it’s a totally different game than when they play me," she answered. “That’s what makes me great. I always play everyone at their greatest. So I have to be greater.”
Fellow player Madison Keys doesn't know how Williams deals with the pressure. She reportedly said it must suck to be Serena Williams. But Williams has gotten over it and welcomed the competition.
“At first it did, but I like it because it kind of backfires because everyone comes out and they play me so hard, and now my level is so much higher because of it, from years and years of being played like that. So, it’s like, you know what, my level, if it wasn’t high, then I wouldn’t be who I am. So I had to raise my level to ‘unknown’ because [it forces them into] playing me at a level that’s unknown … so now I’m used to it.”
Williams will face unseeded Evgeniya Rodina in the Round of 16 on Monday, July 9.