LONDON (Reuters) - Dealing with screaming fans jostling for photos and autographs is part of the job for Wimbledon’s serial winners, but it would seem some are being asked to practice a little more than others.
A wet and windy Court Two was chosen as the fitting venue for four-times Wimbledon champion Serena Williams to face Kazakh Yaroslava Shvedova on Monday, but before that battle could commence another one was already brewing in just getting there.
Hoards of excited fans eager to get a glimpse of the 13-time grand slam winner flocked to see her make the long walk down from the locker room.
All were on standby once more when she returned victorious after a 6-1 2-6 7-5 win.
“I was totally mobbed. Literally I thought I was going to fall down today after the match. I guess that comes with the territory. I don’t know. It was crazy out there today,” Williams told reporters.
“I’ve never heard them scream so loud.”
While Williams was busy seeing off a battling Shvedova as the rain came down, Ana Ivanovic and Victoria Azarenka were limbering up for a match among the serene roof-covered conditions of Centre Court despite not having a Wimbledon title between them.
Asked if she thought organisers should reconsider putting the game’s biggest names on outside courts, Williams agreed, but was eager to remind reporters that security aside, she can look after herself.
“I wasn’t scared. Nobody going to knock me over for real. I’d like to see that happen... maybe that’s why I got on Court Two, because they knew I could back myself up.”
But the 30-year-old is getting used to tackling the All England Club on foot, even walking to Wimbledon today with an entourage trailing behind, one holding an umbrella over her as black clouds loomed above the venue.
The route to Court Two, which dips past a towering Centre Court and winds between other smaller courts, is one she knows well having mysteriously been placed there a lot in previous years together with her sister Venus, despite both being in their pomp at the time.
Having made it into Tuesday’s quarter-finals, Williams can be sure of moving at least one ratchet higher on the schedule with her match against holder Petra Kvitova to be played on either Centre Court or Court One.
Asked if she was confident Williams replied: “Well, I‘m Serena Williams; I‘m very confident.”
Editing by Pritha Sarkar