June 27, 2017

Dominating Start for Serena Williams at Roland Garros


By Karen Pestaina

(May 26, 2013) Just a year ago, Serena Williams lost the only first round match at a major in her career in Paris when she fell to No. 111 Virginie Razzano of France. This year no opening shocker for Williams as the world No. 1 demolished Anna Tatishvili 6-0, 6-1 in the first round of Roland Garros.

Williams cruised to capture the opening nine games, 30 of the first 37 points. In the end Williams won 56 of 78 points, nailing eight aces past her challenger.

“It’s been a good year,” Williams said in contrast to last years’ performance at the French Open.  “But like I can say from last year, you never really know what’s gonna happen or what can happen.”

“I was definitely nervous,” Williams said of the match.  “I have to say I’m always a little nervous going into first‑round matches at Slams, but this time I wasn’t as nervous as I was, you know, previously or another in other Grand Slams.

“But for the most part, I, you know, felt pretty safe and felt good about my game and that if I can just do what I do in practice, I’ll be okay.”

The French Open has been Serena Williams’ least successful major – she’s only won it once, back in 2002.

“Yeah, I just keep trying, and hasn’t been working out for me,” Williams said of Roland Garros.  “Just think I may have gotten nervous in the past or may have basically choked a few matches away, you know.  And played some opponents that played well, but I have probably had opportunities and gave it away.

“I think, you know, some matches I just lost because maybe I wasn’t intense enough or maybe I didn’t do enough work before I got here to the tournament.”

Not only did Williams gain applause for her on-court performance on Sunday, but also for attempt to speak French after her victory.

“I’m a beginner,” Williams said after speaking French in her on-court interview.

When asked about her French skills, the world No. 1 said with a smile: “I have been speaking French for years and years, but I don’t really have a lot of confidence.

“I just had to kind of jump in.  Like once I get there and I get warmed up, I know how to say things and what I can speak.  It’s just getting that confidence to speak in French.  It’s way, way, more nerve‑wracking than playing tennis.”

Williams has an apartment in Paris.

Williams faces Frenchwoman Caroline Garcia next in the second round.