Serena Strikes 32, Matches Justine
Published June 25, 2013 12:01
The No.1-seeded Williams looked in control of the match right from the beginning - she had a little stumble early in the second set, falling behind 2-0, but won six of seven games to finish Minella off.
"It felt good," Williams said in her post-match press conference. "I love playing here. Being the defending champion is always special, knowing for 12 months you're going to play at 1 o'clock on Tuesday. It definitely felt good to step out there and be on the court and hit some balls around.
"I feel like I was a little rusty for some reason today. I don't feel like I played my best tennis. I felt really upset when I lost my serve at the beginning in the second set - with that being said, I think Mandy played really well. I thought she was really mixing up her shots, mixing up her game. It wasn't an easy match for me. To be honest, I'm a little excited I was able to play a tough match and get through it.
"There's so many ways I can improve and that I'll need to improve if I want to be in the second week."
Williams came into Wimbledon as the favorite for the title. Likewise, Rafael Nadal came in as the favorite for the title on the men's side - he went out first round though. Williams' thoughts on that?
"Well, I'm a huge Nadal fan, as we all know," Williams said. "I'm probably his biggest fan. Obviously I was really sad about yesterday. But in a way I was happy, too, because I felt like he'll have time to rest up and get ready for the hardcourt season. But it's tough out there. I played a lot of matches on clay this year, more than I've played ever, I think, and I had a little tough time adjusting today. So for him it must have been a lot more difficult because he didn't play any hardcourt, he only played on clay.
"But it's not the end of the world, and he'll come back."
The World No.1 elaborated on the difficulties of switching from the slow clay to the slick grass.
"You definitely have to adapt to the bounce," she commented. "You have to adapt to the games going really fast, the match moving really fast, points are fast. Also they're really low. You really have to bend your knees, get low, stay low, and just be really dedicated to that out there on these courts."
Williams is ready, though. "I feel that I'm always ready," she said. "But I never feel invincible. I always feel I have to be ready for each opponent in each game, and I never become overconfident.
"I think when I do or if I do, that's the moment that I'm most vulnerable."
The Williams win streak is now at 32 matches in a row, the longest since Justine Henin won 32 in a row across the 2007 and 2008 seasons - Maria Sharapova ended that streak at the 2008 Australian Open.