Serena Williams gave the impression yesterday of being impatient to start her Wimbledon campaign as she targets an historic fortnight in London.
The 34-year-old American sealed a self-described ‘Serena Slam’ last year with her victory over Garbine Muguruza in the All England Club final.
It followed her 2014 US Open win and triumphs at the Australian Open and French Open early in 2015, making Williams champion of all four majors at the same time, for the second time in her career.
Hopes of a calendar Grand Slam of all four majors in the same year were left in tatters by a startling US Open semi-final loss to Italian Roberta Vinci, and defeats by Angelique Kerber in January’s Australian Open final and to Muguruza in this month’s French Open title match have left questions being asked of Williams.
She is achieving more in a period of supposed decline than most will fit into a career, and few would bet against her winning another slam to match Steffi Graf’s Open era record of 22 majors.
The talk about records does not stimulate Williams though, and she gave clipped responses to much of the questioning she faced, two days out from her opening match against 27-year-old Swiss qualifier Amra Sadikovic, whose first match in a grand slam will be on Centre Court at 1pm tomorrow.
“This year I don’t feel as much tension as I usually do,” said Williams.
“Well, there’s some years I haven’t felt any tension either. I’m feeling pretty good. I don’t feel any pressure or stress.
“I think it’s important to learn from every loss that you have. Throughout my whole career I have been able to learn a lot, to come back a much better player.
“I’m definitely ready to start playing at this point. I’m kind of over-practising every day for two hours, then going to the gym for some time.”
She remains the women’s world No 1 and the player to beat, in what otherwise looks a wide open field.
Muguruza has experienced mixed fortunes since surprising many with her run to the final on grass – a surface she once loathed – last year. The French Open title, and the way she saw off Williams in straight sets to earn that maiden grand slam, means she may be a serious contender.
But all eyes will be on Williams, and when it comes to match time that is how she likes it.
“It’s just that one time a year you get to go on this amazing, beautiful surface. It feels really good,” she added.