Serena Williams enters her quest for a sixth Wimbledon title with a chip on her shoulder planted by a lackluster French Open performance. Knowing her, she'll quickly knock it off with a dominant run at the All England Club.
Despite losing to Garbine Muguruza in the second round of the 2014 French Open, Williams enters this year's Wimbledon as the No. 1 seed and runaway favorite. That's because the 17-time Grand Slam champion is always the favorite.
The 32-year-old star has little to prove in terms of bolstering her already indelible legacy, but the short-term storyline shifts to her needing a Wimbledon win to sustain her stronghold over the women's tennis division.
After all, longevity is hard to preserve in this trying sport. As Tennis.com noted on Twitter, Williams has put herself on a field of her own by still holding a No. 1 seed at Wimbledon.
At 32 years old, Serena Williams is the oldest No. 1 seed in the Open Era. #Wimbledon— TENNIS.com (@Tennis) June 23, 2014
Unfortunately for everyone else fighting to claim her throne, an angry, focused Williams is their worst nightmare. When asked about her French Open loss to Muguruza, Williams did not offer a hackneyed line about moving on, per Sports Illustrated's Beyond the Baseline Twitter page.
Q: “How long did it take you to get over the French Open loss?” Serena Williams: [long pause] “Who says I’m over it?” #wimbledon— SI Tennis (@SI_Tennis) June 21, 2014
Before the tournament began, she also shared her motivated state of mind with The Independent's John Skilbeck.
"I'm going to go home and work five times as hard to make sure I never lose again," Williams said. "If I couldn't play better I would be even more disappointed. But I know I can, so I know I have something to look forward to."
She went right to work during the opening round in England, extinguishing Anna Tatishvili in two quick sets. Looking more like herself, Williams earned 31 winners and dropped just three games to earn a convincing victory.
Anyone expecting her to dwell on her past shortcoming was barking up the wrong tree. While Williams is prone to some lapses of play, they rarely come in succession. When faced with defeat, Williams refuses to accept a similar result shortly after.
Her early French Open exit was not the first time Williams was sent packing prematurely at Roland Garros. In 2008, Katarina Srebotnik pulled off a stunning upset during the third round. Williams bounced back to make the finals at Wimbledon, where she fell short against her sister, Venus.
Two years ago, Virginie Razzano knocked out Williams during the opening round in Paris. Williams wasted no time redeeming herself, capturing first place at All England Club months later. Although the star is erratic, she usually does not falter in consecutive majors.
|2013 Wimbledon||Round 4||2013 U.S. Open||W|
|2012 French Open||Round 1||2012 Wimbledon||W|
|2011 Wimbledon||Round 4||2011 U.S. Open||Final|
|2008 French Open||Round 3||2008 Wimbledon||Final|
|2006 U.S. Open||Round 4||2007 Australian Open||W|
Of course, a long path still awaits Williams before she can achieve redemption. On Thursday morning, she'll face Chanelle Scheepers, who won her first career Wimbledon match in five tries earlier this week. Later on, the bracket gets difficult.
Williams would face Alize Cornet, who defeated her in Dubai this year, if both women advance past Round 3. A French Open-semifinalist in Eugenie Bouchard or Andrea Petkovic would likely be waiting in the next round, and Maria Sharapova is lurking for a potential quarterfinal bout.
Still, they should all be the ones fretting a matchup with Williams, who touts a career 70-9 Wimbledon record. Don't mistake her French Open shortcoming as a sign of deterioration. It's just a slight hiccup that the top-ranked tennis titan will quickly subside at Wimbledon.