French Open: Serena Williams says 20th grand slam win was ‘most difficult’

Serena Williams

Serena Williams said that winning her third French Open title and her 20th grand slam crown had been the toughest victory of her career.

The world No1, who had been suffering from flu for much of the second week, beat Lucie Safarova 6-3, 6-7, 6-2 to win her third consecutive grand slam. The 33-year-old led by a set and 4-1, and 40-15 but as Safarova hit back and the nerves set in, Williams had to come from 2-0 down in the third to clinch victory.

“I can’t believe I won,” she said. “It makes this trophy really special. I really wanted it. I wanted to win so bad and I just felt like I had every opportunity in this match, so being down a set in the second, third, fourth round, semi-finals, wasn’t very easy. I probably topped my most difficult time to win.”

Williams said she had stayed in bed until 5pm on Friday. “When you have flu your whole body aches,” she said. “That’s what I’ve been dealing with. Even now I don’t have any energy and I just want to go to bed. It has nothing to do with why I lost those first sets in the beginning, that was just poor starting.”

Victory at Wimbledon would give Williams a second “Serena Slam” of all four grand slam titles in a non-calendar year and, should she then win the US Open, she would be the fourth woman to win all four in the same calendar year.

“It will be awesome,” she said. “But it’s pretty awesome to have 20. But obviously I would love to win the Grand Slam.

“I haven’t done great at Wimbledon the past two years so my goal is to do better,” she said. “It’s perfect for my game so now that my arm [injury] is better I’m hoping to get better there.”

Safarova was gracious in defeat. “It’s been a great two weeks here for me,” she said. “Serena, you were amazing, you are a great player and a great fighter.”

Powered by article was written by Simon Cambers at Roland Garros, for The Observer on Saturday 6th June 2015 19.44 Europe/London © Guardian News and Media Limited 2010