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Victoria Azarenka calls Serena Williams best ever, says she is closing the gap

Victoria Azarenka Serena WilliamsPrior to losing to Venus Williams at the Toray Pan Pacific Open this week, Victoria Azarenka was speaking confidently about her game.

In an interview with AFP before the tournament began, Azarenka called Serena Williams the best player ever, though she clarified that she can only judge players from her era when making such a declaration. She also said that despite losing to Serena in the finals of the US Open, she is closing the gap on the American superstar.

“Serena is playing the best tennis of her life and so am I,” Azarenka told AFP.

“It’s been really noticeable the gap from last year we have in the matches has minimised. I’ve beaten her twice this year. No one else has done that.

“It’s just exciting to be in the era of somebody and competing with somebody who is considered the best ever and being their toughest opponent.”

Azarenka probably is Serena’s best competition right now, though Sloane Stephens beat Williams too and will surpass her eventually. And we all know where Maria Sharapova falls in this discussion.

Serena has only lost four times this year, with two of the losses coming to Azarenka. One win came in Qatar early in the year, and the other was in Cincinnati before the US Open. Both wins were in the finals, so that is definitely a strong sign as Azarenka says.

Azarenka is 3-13 against Williams all time and 0-8 against her in grand slams. But she might be right that she is closing the gap; she went 2-3 against her this year after going 1-10 previously. The big difference is she needs to finally beat Serena in a grand slam. Now, if she could only figure out how to beat Venus …

Serena Williams’ shoes have custom US Open hearts

Serena Williams US Open shoes

Nike created some customized shoes for Serena Williams to wear at this year’s US Open. The shoes have four hearts on the side to note the times Williams won the grand slam event, and each heart has the year she won the tournament etched into it — 1999, 2002, 2008, and 2012.

Williams looks like she’ll claim her fifth US Open and 17th major title with the way she’s been rolling.

This actually is something pretty common for Nike to do for its top tennis players. Two years ago, Roger Federer had special Australian Open shoes that had Swiss flags on them.

H/T CJ Zero

Serena Williams thinks Andy Roddick has a huge butt

Serena Williams is known for having a large derriere, but she actually thinks Andy Roddick has a bigger butt than she does.

Serena sat down with Roddick for an interview that appeared on FOX Sports 1 this week. Roddick asks Williams several questions about the US Open, and brought up Serena’s fashion choices at the tournament. Williams defended the outfits she’s worn, and then she had some fun with Roddick when he asked how he would look in a cat suit like Serena wore.

“How do you think I would look in a cat suit?” Roddick asked.

“I think you would look hot in a cat suit,” said Williams. “I think you would look really hot. You would of course have to adjust it and make it a little longer. Maybe if we just gave it a full-length leg. That cat suit was fabulous.”

“Would my butt look bigger than yours?”

“Yes, because you have a really big butt. You have a huge butt. It’s underrated.”

[Video: Andy Roddick stuffs towels in his butt for Serena impression]

I’m sure Brooklyn Decker will be happy to know that Serena’s been scoping out her husband’s backside. Roddick and Williams have actually been friends for years, and Serena even beat the former No. 1 men’s tennis player when they were much younger. Because they’ve known each other for so long, Roddick was able to bring out a playful side of Serena in the interview. He also described Serena as a “sweet” girl, which is a side of Serena most don’t get to see.

So what does this underrated, huge butt look like? If you’re interested, that’s below:

[Read more...]

Serena Williams: Patrick Mouratoglou thinks like my dad

Serena Williams Patrick MouratoglouSerena Williams is playing some outstanding tennis and, at 31, may be getting better with age. She won Wimbledon and the US Open last year, and she captured the French Open this year. Williams was upset by Sloane Stephens in the quarters at the Australian and Sabine Lisicki in the fourth round at Wimbledon this year, but she’s looking dominant through the quarterfinals in Flushing. Williams’ new coach and boyfriend Patrick Mouratoglou is getting a lot of credit for helping Serena play so well.

Mouratoglou’s coaching relationship with Williams was the subject of a USA Today Sports feature on Monday. In the article, Williams says a big reason why she and Mouratoglou connect is because Mouratoglou is similar to her father, Richard Williams, who was her original coach.

“That’s the only reason I was able to work with him — because of that mind frame,” Williams told USA Today. “We have the same forward way of thinking.”

Williams elaborated on that thought in a post-match interview on ESPN’s set following her 6-0, 6-0 win over Carla Suarez Navarro in the quarterfinals.

“The things [Mouratoglou] told me were identical to some of the things that my dad says,” Williams explained. “That’s the only reason I could work with him because if it weren’t for my dad, I wouldn’t be sitting here right now.”

Williams also said that problems in her personal life led her to leave the US to train in France. There were some rumors that she was having difficulty with her father, which could be the personal issues to which she alluded.

“I was going through some stuff in my personal life and I just needed to get out of the states. I went to France and needed a place to practice, and that’s how the relationship started,” Williams told Hannah Storm.

Williams and Mouratoglou declined to discuss their personal relationship in the article. Reports first surfaced last year that the two were dating, though Williams later denied the claims. They have been photographed together in romantic embraces, and Maria Sharapova essentially confirmed the relationship during a spat with Serena earlier this year.

They might not want to talk about it, but there’s no denying that Mouratoglou seems to be good for Williams’ game.

Francesca Schiavone hugs ball boy while being routed by Serena Williams (Video)

Francesca-Schiavone-hugs-ball-boyFrancesca Schiavone had a tough day on Monday. She drew Serena Williams in the opening round of the US Open, and the match went as many anticipated it would. Williams defeated Schiavone 6-0, 6-1. Realizing that she was totally out of it at one point, Schiavone decided she needed a hug.

The 33-year-old Italian startled a young ball boy, who was nice enough to give her a pat on the back once he realized she was just going in for a hug and wasn’t going to take her frustrations out on him.

“I don’t need a hug in that moment. I needed a game, points,” Schiavone joked after the match. “I went to the ballboy to say, ‘Well, that’s tough.’ It was just a joke.”

At least she had a sense of humor about the whole thing.

Serena Williams not sure if she has peaked yet

Serena WilliamsAt 31, most female tennis players are retired or winding down their careers. At 31, Serena Williams feels like she is still getting better.

Williams, who turns 32 in September, is currently ranked No. 1 in the world and coming off a win at the French Open in June. She is in Toronto for the Rogers Cup where she is the top seed, and she talked about where she stands in her playing career.

“I don’t know if I’ve peaked yet,” Williams said this week, via the Toronto Sun. “I don’t know if I’ve gotten to the top of the mountain yet.

“If I’m there, I want to stay there.”

Though Williams lost earlier than expected at the Australian Open and Wimbledon, she has had a very successful year. She has won seven tournaments, including a span of five in a row which culminated with her win at Roland Garros. Last month, she won the Swedish Open without dropping a set.

Williams used to be criticized for playing a light schedule and seemingly not worrying about her world ranking. Many questioned whether she was too active with interests outside of tennis, such as her involvement in fashion. And there were serious doubts about her career when she took several months off in 2004 and 2006, partly because of depression. But it looks like the light schedule and all of Williams’ outside interests have helped prolong her career rather than burn her out. Maybe that’s why Williams remains at the top of the sport while many of her peers have retired.

Serena Williams apologizes for ‘insensitive’ rape comments

Serena WilliamsIt took a few days, but Serena Williams has finally issued a real apology for comments she made in a Rolling Stone article about the highly-publicized Steubenville rape case.

Williams did not blame the victim — a 16-year-old West Virginia girl — for being raped, but she was quoted in the Rolling Stone article as saying that the victim put herself in the situation and is lucky because “it could have been much worse.”

Making matters worse is that Williams wasn’t very apologetic for her remarks. Instead, she mostly blamed the writer for supposedly misquoting her.

“What happened in Steubenville was a real shock for me,” Williams said in an initial statement on her website. “I was deeply saddened. For someone to be raped, and at only sixteen, is such a horrible tragedy! For both families involved – that of the rape victim and of the accused. I am currently reaching out to the girl’s family to let her know that I am deeply sorry for what was written in the Rolling Stone article. What was written – what I supposedly said – is insensitive and hurtful, and I by no means would say or insinuate that she was at all to blame.”

It looks like Williams wanted another opportunity to make good on her apology, so she issued a new statement on her website that took the place of the old one. Here’s what the new one states:

“I am deeply sorry for my insensitive and misinformed comments. It was not my intention to cause the victim and her family any additional pain. But I did, and I am sorry. I am grateful to them for the opportunity to personally apologize, and I am humbled by their strength, grace, and forgiveness.

“I also want to extend an apology to the millions of sexual assault victims in America whose pain could have been compounded by my inappropriate remarks. Rape and all forms of sexual assault are completely unacceptable, no matter the circumstances. Sexual assault perpetrated against women and men is never acceptable and *never* the fault of the victim.”

I wonder if Serena’s feelings on the matter changed after she spoke with the victim’s family. Or maybe between this and the drama with Maria Sharapova, she felt the need to completely repair her image. Regardless, it’s nice that she actually apologized in her new statement rather than blame the writer.