Just 90 minutes before the woman’s final between Serena Williams and German Angelique Kerber, Serena’s celebrated coach Patrick Mouratoglou – who incredibly has led her to eight slams in just four years – spoke with IT about the women’s final.
INSIDE TENNIS: What is the one thing Serena has to do against a very talented, fast, muscular German opponent who is so good at turning defense to offense?
PATRICK MORATOGLOU: First she has to trust herself. She has to serve the way she’s been serving for the whole tournament. If she does, it will be so much easier. She has to be efficient at the net, where she will have to go.
IT: But there well could be moments of crisis. What will she have to do then?
PM: The most important thing will be for her to handle her nerves and stay calm in any circumstance, because if she does there are a lot of solutions in her game. She has a lot of solutions, and Kerber’s game has a lot of solutions too.
So, she shouldn’t think too much. She has to trust her instincts. This is what I want her to do, to play with her instincts the way she did the whole tournament. If there is a moment that is more difficult, that is the moment to calm down and to look for the solutions. And again, she has to serve well – first and second serve – because that is where she improved a lot during the tournament, on her second serve.
IT: Earlier this fortnight, Serena said she was tougher mentally than anyone else.
PM: Definitely, she is.
IT: And Patrick, talk about Serena’s mindset here at Wimbledon compared with the other recent Slams, where she has struggled. Of course, New York was something else. Paris was difficult too, but here she seems to be more calm. Does playing doubles help?
PM: I had a call with her two or three days after her loss at Roland Garros and when I hung up, I said to myself, “Okay, she’s back.” She’s back.
It has been a zero surprise to me that she’s been playing the way she has. There is one more step to go – for sure. But I am not surprised because the real Serena is back.
IT: Finally mon ami, if Serena ties Steffi and she wins today and gets her 22nd Slam win, what will that mean?
PM: That will mean we have one more to beat the record. Serena is not about equaling records. Serena is about beating them.