It's not the end of the world if I miss the calendar Grand Slam, says Serena Williams as she struggles against fellow American Bethanie Mattek-Sands 3-6, 7-5, 6-0 to enter Round Four
New York: Serena Williams says she felt much more on edge going for her second career "Serena Slam" at Wimbledon than she does seeking a calendar Grand Slam at the US Open. Top-ranked Williams struggled early but revived in time for a 3-6, 7-5, 6-0 victory on Friday over 101st-ranked US compatriot Bethanie Mattek-Sands to reach the fourth round.
Serena Williams celebrates a point against USA's Bethanie Mattek-Sands in New York on Friday. Pic/AFP
The 33-year-old American's quest to achieve the first calendar Slam since Steffi Graf in 1988 and win a 22nd career Slam singles title to match Graf's Open Era record has drawn huge attention, but supposedly resonates much less with the history chaser herself. "I wasn't nervous at all," Williams said.
"I mean, I don't have to win this event. It's not the end of the world for me." Williams holds all four major titles at once for the second time in her career after four in a row ending with the 2003 Australian Open. Graf and Martina Navratilova have done that as well.
But the calendar Slam was achieved only by Maureen Connolly in 1953, Court in 1970 and Graf among women. Rod Laver did it in 1962 and 1969 and Don Budge did it in 1938 in the men's game.
"Getting to Wimbledon and winning the Serena Slam, that really meant a lot to me. That tournament I felt on the edge a lot," Williams said. "This one I don't feel that way. I think people feel that way more than I do, but I don't feel like I need that more than anything."
'I'm not a robot'
That doesn't mean Williams doesn't feel the pressure of what she could accomplish. "I mean, of course it's there. I'm not a robot or anything," Williams said. "But at the end of the day I'm just here to do the best I can. If that means I win, then great. But if it doesn't, then you know what? I can't let that affect me because I still have other tournaments to play."