Serena insists pressure not a factor in Grand Slam bid

Thu Aug 27, 2015 5:56pm EDT
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By Larry Fine

NEW YORK (Reuters) - Serena Williams said on Thursday she is treating the upcoming U.S. Open just like any other, even though she is well aware of the historical impact the year's final grand slam may have.

The three-times defending champion enters the Aug. 31-Sept. 13 tournament in New York as the odds-on favorite to win and become the first player in 27 years to complete a Grand Slam by capturing all four majors in one season.

"I don't feel that fresh pressure," Williams, who has already claimed the Australian Open, French Open and Wimbledon titles in 2015, said after the draw for the U.S. Open.

"If I make it far, maybe I'll start to feel pressure. But as of now I really don't feel any. I'm just here to perform and do the best I can."

Williams said that going for her second 'Serena Slam' at Wimbledon, where she triumphed in July to hold all four slam titles at once, prepared her for the media onslaught at this U.S. Open.

"At Wimbledon I was going for the second Serena Slam. That is rare. That really gave me the best practice and preparation in terms of going for the Grand Slam," Williams said.

Williams, dominating the women's game at the advanced age of 33, would join Maureen Connolly (1953), Margaret Court (1970) and Steffi Graf (1988) as the only female Grand Slam winners.

But Williams is playing for much more.   Continued...

Serena Williams of the U.S. speaks during a news conference at the USTA Billie Jean King National Tennis Center ahead of the 2015 U.S. Open tennis tournament in New York, August 27, 2015. Play begins at the U.S. Open on August 31.  REUTERS/Mike Segar