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Serena Williams: 'I always play everyone at their greatest, so I have to be greater'

Tennis star Serena Williams discusses having to play every opponent at their best. (AP Photo)

Serena Williams has dominated the sport of tennis for years 23 years, winning 23 grand slam titles. And like every exceptional athlete, Williams has had to overcome adversity.

She has battled injuries. She has had to return to title-winning shape after having a child. But maybe most notable of all, she has competed against every opponent’s best.

Ahead of her Round of 16 matchup at Wimbledon against Evgeniya Rodina, Williams was asked about having to face her opponents’ bests.

“That’s what makes me great,” Williams said. “I always play everyone at their greatest, so I have to be greater.”


Since she turned pro in 1995, Williams has scouted less and less over time.

Why?

“Because when I watch them play, it’s a totally different game than when they play me,” Williams said.

Williams’ answer to the question — a question referencing fellow American tennis player Madison Keys (who applauded Williams for her efforts every time out) — came with much thought.

In response to Keys saying it must suck to be Williams because of how challenging it must be, Williams provided perspective.

“At first, it did (suck),” Williams said. “But I like it because it kind of backfires as everyone comes out, and they play me so hard.

“Now, my level is so much higher because of it.”

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