“I Am a Pro at That”: Serena Williams on Transitioning Quickly From Clay to Wimbledon’s Grass

Published 05/13/2021, 7:30 AM EDT
Tennis – WTA Premier 5 – Italian Open – Foro Italico, Rome, Italy – May 12, 2021 Serena Williams of the U.S. in action during her second round match against Argentina’s Nadia Podoroska REUTERS/Guglielmo Mangiapane


23-time Grand Slam champion Serena Williams set off her clay-court season at the Italian Open 2021. Regrettably, she crashed out in her opening match, but this did not diminish her fondness for the surface.

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Before Rome, the 39-year-old American last played at the Australian Open. After a formidable run there, she fell to World No. 2 Naomi Osaka in the semifinals.

Notably, the four-time Rome winner was excited to play on clay once again. It also marked her 1000th professional match appearance.

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Tennis – WTA Premier 5 – Italian Open – Foro Italico, Rome, Italy – May 12, 2021 Serena Williams of the U.S. in action during her second round match against Argentina’s Nadia Podoroska REUTERS/Guglielmo Mangiapane

However, the over 2-month gap led her to an early exit on a momentous day. Serena lost to 24-year-old Argentine World No. 44 Nadia Podoroska 6-7(6), 5-7.

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Serena Williams aims to improve on clay surfaces

Despite winning every major accolade in tennis, Serena Williams felt frustrated after losing at the Italian Open 2021. Given her 45 wins in Rome, her feelings are justified.

But most importantly, she is happy to be playing again. Hence, when the interviewer asked her if the short 7-month clay layoff had any negative impact, she immediately responded in the negative.

“For me, no. I actually love playing on clay, so I don’t think it’s a negative,” Serena said. She also added that it instead helps players keep the rhythm of the clay surface.

Tennis – WTA Premier 5 – Italian Open – Foro Italico, Rome, Italy – May 12, 2021 Serena Williams of the U.S. in action during her second round match against Argentina’s Nadia Podoroska REUTERS/Guglielmo Mangiapane

But just as the American finished her previous sentence, she realized that she had not been active on the clay-court swing in the past couple of years. Even so, she looks forward to finding her A-game on red dirt.

“Unfortunately, I only played one match last year on clay,” she said. “I haven’t been playing a lot on clay in the last two years. So, it will be good to get back and keep working on it.”

The tennis queen will travel next to Paris, chasing her 24th Grand Slam title at the French Open 2021. In the post-match interview, she also addressed the reduced two-week gap between French Open and Wimbledon.

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Serena does not mind a quick turnaround from clay to grass season

While many players do not feel good about Wimbledon coming one week closer to the French Open, Williams feels differently. Moreover, she insisted that she feels better with the two weeks gap.

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“Well, actually, I am a pro at that,” Serena said. Furthermore, she explained that for most of her career, Wimbledon had happened in two weeks’ time after Paris.

Hence, when it changed to three weeks, the eight-time Wimbledon champion felt elated. But now, she still fine with the change. “I am used to it, so it’ll be fine. It’s a quick turnaround, and I will be ready,” Williams concluded.

Hopefully, the American will find her rhythm at Roland Garros and carry on the form throughout 2021. Do you think Serena will win the French Open 2021?

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Purav Joshi

825 articles

Purav Joshi is a Tennis author at EssentiallySports. Having a degree in Films, Television and Media Production, he guided his passion for writing and journalism into the sport of aces and rallies. With over 2 years of experience as a copywriter, Purav has authored over 500 tennis articles.

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