Serena coach says she is only human

Fri Sep 5, 2014 1:24am EDT
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By Larry Fine

NEW YORK (Reuters) - Even the best players have their ups and downs, and crises of confidence, says tennis coach Patrick Mouratoglou, who believes Serena Williams has now regained her way in pursuit of a third U.S. Open title in a row.

Williams who failed to reach the quarter-finals in the first three majors of 2014, has reached the semi-finals of the U.S. Open, closing in on an 18th grand slam singles crown that would tie her with Chris Evert and Martina Navratilova for fourth place on the all-time list.

The French coach, who has also been linked romantically to world number one Williams, said hard work and some soul searching helped the 32-year-old American.

"The first six months of the season were really tough. She kind of lost her way, in a way," Mouratoglou told Reuters. "This is tennis. You cannot perform all the time. You have ups and downs."

Williams failed in the fourth round at the Australian Open, was ousted in the second round of the French and in the third round at Wimbledon.

The American has regained momentum since turning her focus on the hard court season.

"I think she reacted really well. She worked even harder," the Frenchman said. "She entered in a smaller tournament when she was not playing well and she fought, and in a way got her confidence back by winning Stanford.

"And she’s playing better and better. I think she’s back to her level."   Continued...

Serena Williams of the U.S. listens to her coach Patrick Mouratoglou during a training session at the French Open tennis tournament at the Roland Garros stadium in Paris May 25, 2013. REUTERS/Vincent Kessler