WIMBLEDON – When Serena Williams takes the court against Julia Goerges in Thursday’s Wimbledon semifinal, it will be her 35th such match in a Grand Slam, and Goerges’ first.
Check any statistical category — career wins, wins on grass, you can even add in the other two semifinalists Angelique Kerber and Jelena Ostapenko, and it’s the same. Williams leads them all by miles.
After missing so much time, the 36 year-old Williams can tell how much her fans want her to reach the pinnacle again. She knows what she does and how she does it is being watched.
“I’ve always embraced being a role model,” Williams said. “I think for me I just fell into that perfectly. Now that I’m a mom, I just want to even be more of that role model for my daughter, for lots of kids out there that want — people out there that just want to be inspired. Here is some good news. Right now there’s so much bad news in the world. We just need a good story.”
Seeded 25th, she’d like that good story to end in a championship here, but there are two more matches to play. Williams may have beaten No. 13 Goerges, 29, in the French Open last month, but grass plays faster and it will be a different game.
“I played Julia in the French,” Williams said. “That was four or five weeks ago. That doesn’t matter. This is a whole new match, it’s a new surface, it’s everything. We’re starting from zero.”
No. 12 Ostapenko, 21, and No. 11 Kerber, 30, are meeting for the first time, and both women have won Grand Slam titles. They will play first on Centre Court.
“I think there are no favorite any more,” Kerber said. “We are in the semis right now. I’m not looking left or right. I’m not looking about the others. I’m really taking care about my game, about my matches, about how I play on court. This is all I care actually, to be honest.”