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US Open: Serena Williams struggles to cope with having a target on her back

“As Billie Jean King said, pressure is a privilege. So I wouldn’t want it any other way”

Last Updated: 06/09/20 9:50am

Serena Williams admits she struggles to cope with having a target on her back

Serena Williams admits she struggles to cope with having a target on her back

Serena Williams admits she struggles to cope with having a target on her back as she moved four wins away from a place in history alongside Margaret Court on 24 Grand Slam victories.

Williams booked her place in another Flushing Meadows fourth round with a three-set win over 2017 champion Sloane Stephens as she kept alive her quest for a 24th Grand Slam singles title.

The American, who reached 23 in taking the Australian Open when pregnant in 2017, has been unable to win that illusive 24th major having stumbled at the final hurdle in four Grand Slam finals since that victory in Melbourne.

Williams is approaching her 39th birthday and has been at the top of the women’s game for the best part of 20 years, but has still not learned to fully cope with the pressure of her status.

“Sometimes it’s harder than others. Every day having ‘Serena’ on your back is a massive target for the tour, for press, for stress,” she admitted.

“But as Billie Jean King said, pressure is a privilege. So I wouldn’t want it any other way.

“So I just try to think about how fortunate I am to have been in this position, and honestly, to be Serena. It feels weird to say that.”

Sofia Kenin also confessed to feeling pressure

Sofia Kenin also confessed to feeling pressure

King should trademark that quote. Sofia Kenin also used it after booking her last-eight spot with victory over Ons Jabeur.

The No 2 seed, who won the Australian Open in January, is looking a good bet for a second successive Grand Slam, but also confessed to feeling pressure.

“I feel more pressure but after Australia it got to me in a way,” she said in her on-court interview.

“I feel like I am just playing better, I am trying not pressure myself, I have enough pressure from the outside. It’s good to have the pressure, everyone is looking up to me. Pressure is privilege – Billie Jean King.”

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