Over the course of her career, Serena Williams has been guilty of not being quite serious enough about several things to do with the tennis. And now, even though Australian Open quarterfinal opponent Sloane Stephens declares the winner of 15 major titles is her role model, the 31 year-old shrugged off any sense of duty.
Williams and Stephens struck up a friendship when they represented the United States in Fed Cup against the Ukraine last year but as they shaped up for their second Aussie meeting in the space of month, Williams declared: “I feel no responsibility. I doubt she has any expectations of me to be responsible for anything.
“Maybe some of the younger players look up to me. It’s hard to be a real mentor when you’re still in competition. I’m here to compete and do the best I can, as well as she. I would need a better definition of the word ‘mentor.’”
When the pair met at the Brisbane International, the confrontation ended with a touch of annoyance from 19 year-old Stephens after accusing Williams of over celebrating her winning points.
Now Williams will contest the last eight of a Grand Slam singles event for the 35th time, Stephens the first. And there is clearly no long lasting animosity from the youngster as she declared: “I’m ready to play already,” said Stephens. “Let’s just get to it. I really think it’s going to be fun.
“It’s just kind of normal. I think I’ve just worked so hard for it that I just feel like now it’s supposed to come. I know it’s coming. It’s supposed to happen.”
©Daily Tennis News Wire