In case you missed the memo, Serena Williams is really fucking good at tennis; so much so that it’s easy to lose sight of how exceptional she actually is.
But on Tuesday, she was kind enough to provide us all with a timely reminder of how ruthless she’s been on the court for over two decades now after she gave fellow American Kristie Ahn the business (7-5, 6-4) for her 102nd win at the U.S. Open.
CNN reports that by doing so, the greatest female tennis player who ever lived surpassed Chris Evert as the all-time leader in matches won at the U.S. Open.
“I don’t think I appreciate it enough, which is unfortunate,” Serena told reporters after her latest career milestone. “But I’m in the middle of a grand slam, so it’s not the time to be focused [...] on records when I’m thinking about winning a tournament.”
The journey leading up to her record-breaking win has been anything but effortless as of late, as she caught a few surprising L’s leading up the tournament, and 96th-ranked Ahn proved a viable foe. However, in her quest to collect her 24th grand slam title, Williams admits that she’s still adjusting to not having fans in the stands due to COVID-19 precautions.
“I think the hardest [thing] is making sure you stay pumped,” she said. “For me, it was clearly easy because I’m always overly passionate. I love being passionate. It’s what I’m best at.”
On the flip side, her sister Venus, who’s won two U.S. Opens her damn self, suffered her first-ever opening match defeat (6-3, 7-5) at the hands of Karolína Muchová, but stayed positive despite the loss.
“I love this game,” Venus told reporters. “It’s easy to stay motivated and excited about doing something so amazing. Not many people get to do this.”
On Thursday, Serena will face off against Russia’s Margarita Gasparyan.