Tongue-tied Serena into fourth round

World number one Serena Williams exudes a supreme confidence on the tennis court that could be deemed as a sign of an intense ruthless streak, even bordering on arrogance.

However, the American admitted after she had advanced to the Australian Open fourth round with a 6-0, 6-3 victory over Spain’s Carla Suarez Navarro on Saturday that she can get star-struck. “Every time I see [actor] Leonardo DiCaprio I get totally speechless,” a giggling Williams told reporters. “Every time I’m like, ‘hi’,” she added while mimicking being tongue tied and unable to get another word out.

Williams said her infatuation with the 35-year-old Academy Award nominee had begun with his leading role in 1997 blockbuster Titanic.

“It was how he just sacrificed [his] life,” she said.

Williams, who had said she felt the same way when she met the late Michael Jackson, met Britain’s Prince William on Thursday when he visited Melbourne Park, but did not get as nervous.

“I told him that I might like his little brother better because he’s the little brother, and he laughed and said he might like [sister] Venus better because she’s older,” she said.

“So we just had a little joke about that.”

Williams, who will next meet 13th seed Samantha Stosur, said her match against the diminutive Spaniard, who beat Venus last year at Melbourne Park, had been a bit tougher than the one-sided scoreline indicated.

The final game of the first set took eight set points before she sealed it and only after she had spent a short time deep behind the baseline talking to herself.

“It was definitely the toughest six-love set. Especially in the end because she was really fighting for it.

“I didn’t want to lose that game… [so] I thought, ‘okay, Serena, don’t put too much pressure on this. Worst case scenario it will be 5-1’.

“At the end of day I’m glad I didn’t lose that game.” – Reuters

Subscribe to the M&G

These are unprecedented times, and the role of media to tell and record the story of South Africa as it develops is more important than ever.

The Mail & Guardian is a proud news publisher with roots stretching back 35 years, and we’ve survived right from day one thanks to the support of readers who value fiercely independent journalism that is beholden to no-one. To help us continue for another 35 future years with the same proud values, please consider taking out a subscription.

Related stories


press releases

Loading latest Press Releases…

The best local and international journalism

handpicked and in your inbox every weekday