Interview with Serena Williams’s new adviser, Patrick Mouratoglou. The Frenchman has been working with Williams, who plays Agnieszka Radwanska in the Wimbledon final, since the American’s first-round defeat to Virginie Razzano at the French Open.
So did Serena call you immediately after she lost to Virginie Razzano at the French Open or later?
“No, I don’t think there is a link between the loss and this, I think she just decided to stay a few days in Paris, to practice probably.”
Was it a good experience for you?
“It can only be a great experience. First of all, I like her. I appreciate spending time with her, getting to know her. I knew the player but not the person, now I know her much better so that was great. She’s done already so much in tennis. Those kind of personalities, exceptional personalities, they give you something. Just to spend time with them, work with them, for sure brings you something and makes you bigger in a way.”
You’re not her coach – are you an adviser?
“It’s difficult to call myself anything. I am just working with her. I’ve no idea (how long it might go on), there is no plan.”
So are you going to take credit for her incredible serving?
(Laughing) “Yeah she didn’t know how to serve at all so we decided to spend a little time on the serve and it looks like it works well. No and also she didn’t know how to win a grand slam and so she asked me, and I told her it’s simple, you serve like crazy and you hit everything. I cannot say what we worked on but of course she’s an unbelievable champion, her technique is great. Just little details make big differences because the higher you get, the more that details are important, so there is no of course there is no (big) change but small details that can make big differences.”
Are you impressed that someone who’s won as much as her wants to improve?
“That’s the most impressive thing. She’s unbelievable because she wants to get better every day, to progress and be better. But I’ve been told that champions are not people like others.”
Some say Serena will have too much power for Radwanska. What do you think?
“A final is a final, it’s not a normal match. There is so much more emotion, so many more things to handle. If you look just at the game, maybe you can say that, even though Radwanska has made huge progress. She was always a good player, top 10 but the fact that she could go No 1 if she wins here shows you how much progress she has made.”
What will your routine be before the final?
“The same as every match. I’ll be on the court, then I’ll be downstairs with her before the match and then I’ll be in the box to watch.”
You watch your players all the time. What’s it like to watch Serena?
“Honestly I like to watch her like I look at my players. I try to step back, as much as I can, not to be too emotionally – though that’s tough – some moments I get caught by the emotion but I hope most of the match I can stay back to analyse with a clear eye and not through emotions.”