Serena Williams has yet to consider her Wimbledon accomplishments after admitting on Tuesday that she was distracted by movies on her flight to California to play in a WTA event.
“I haven’t had a lot of time to process anything,” the world No. 4 said after confessing to watching “at least five movies” during the trans-Atlantic journey a day earlier to the WTA Stanford Classic.
“I don’t know where I am now. I haven’t reflected on what I did,” joked the Wimbledon singles and doubles winner. “I watched at least five movies on the plane. Like The Hunger Games. That kept me away from too much reflection.”
Williams returned to the WTA top five after lifting her fifth Wimbledon trophy and 14th Grand Slam singles crown.
The titles came after a first-round loss at the French Open, a defeat which the 30-year-old said affected her more than any other in her career.
“I haven’t had a chance to enjoy it. It was a super-hectic two weeks, the most hectic ever, but with the way that I’m feeling, I really wanted to get on that plane and come here,” she said of Wimbledon.
The 30-year-old American also pronounced herself in the best shape of her life and eager to defend her title during a hard-court interlude prior to the July 28 start of the Olympic Games tournament on grass at the All England Lawn Tennis Club.
Williams began her title defense yesterday against teenage Stanford student Nicole Gibbs, who beat Thai qualifier Noppawan Lertcheewakarn 6-4, 6-4 in the first round.
Gibbs, 19 and ranked No. 403, was playing only her second WTA main draw match.
“I will be nervous, no question about that,” said Gibbs, who was a ball girl for Serena at an exhibition tournament in Cleveland, Ohio, seven years ago and actually had a five-minute practice session with Williams and her sister Venus.
However, the challenger said she would not be a lamb to the slaughter.
“I couldn’t have any less pressure,” Gibbs said.
“It’s an experience which I have to enjoy and present myself as competitive in that match,” she said.
Williams returned to tennis just over a year ago after nearly a year of health issues, including two foot operations and blood clots on her lungs in February last year. She now takes nothing for granted.
“You need to enjoy every moment,” said the former world No. 1, who set a record with 102 aces during Wimbledon and who feels no danger of over-playing.
“Coming straight over to play was the best thing that I could have done,” Williams said. “I’m feeling amazing and healthy. As long as it’s like that, I need to keep playing.”
Williams said that after presenting her fashion collection on Wednesday next week, she plans to go to Paris, where she keeps a flat, and then arrive at the London Olympics early prior to the start of the tennis tournament, one day after the opening ceremony.
Williams, second-seeded 2009 winner Marion Bartoli, third seed Dominika Cibulkova of Slovakia and Serbian fourth seed Jelena Jankovic all have first-round byes.
In the doubles tournament, Taiwan’s Chang Kai-chen and Chanelle Scheepers of South Africa were beaten 6-3, 7-5 by US pairing Raquel Kops-Jones and Abigail Spears.
AP, PALERMO, Italy
Top-seeded Sara Errani cruised past Edina Gallovits-Hall of Romania 6-1, 6-1 in the first round of the Italiacom Open on Tuesday, while five-time champion Anabel Medina Garrigues lost 6-1, 6-3 to Italian wild-card Maria Elena Camerin.