High praise for Serena, who reveals 'what makes me great’
SERENA Williams had no hesitation in describing herself as "great" after a fellow American said the multiple grand slam winner had an aura around her.
Williams, 36, was reacting to US compatriot Madison Keys saying "it must suck" being Williams as every woman wants to claim her scalp.
"I'm glad someone admitted that," said Williams who stayed on course for an eighth Wimbledon title with a 7-5 7-6 (7/2) win over France's Kristina Mladenovic.
"Every single match I play, whether I'm coming back from a baby or surgery, it doesn't matter, these young ladies, they bring a game that I've never seen before.
"It's interesting because I don't even scout as much because when I watch them play, it's a totally different game than when they play me.
"That's what makes me great: I always play everyone at their greatest, so I have to be greater."
Williams is playing just her second Grand Slam since the birth of her daughter Olympia in September last year.
The seven-time Wimbleon winner made the last 16 at the French Open before a pectoral injury forced her to pull out.
She is back in the fourth round of Wimbledon and will face Russian qualifier - and fellow mother - Evgeniya Rodina.
Madison said of Williams: "Yeah, there's definitely that aura, that kind of thing of playing Serena.
"At the same time these women are proud. They don't go out there and say, I'm going to lose because I'm playing Serena.
"They go out there and say, I'm going to play hard because I'm playing Serena."
Keys, who was knocked out by Rodina 7-5, 5-7, 6-4 despite having led 5-2 in the first set, admitted she had let her mind wander to what it would be like having to face Williams in the next round.
While she was day-dreaming, world No.120 Rodina pounced.
"It must suck every match," said Keys when asked what it must feel like being Williams and spending the best part of two decades being hunted down by rivals.
"It just gives even more props to her."
Serena cannot face sister Venus in the semi-finals after the five-time champion was knocked out by Kiki Bertens 6-2 6-7 (5/7), 8-6.
Venus, seeded ninth, joined Petra Kvitova, Maria Sharapova, Caroline Wozniacki and Sloane Stephens as the most high-profile casualties of Wimbledon's year of the giant-killers in the women's singles.
For the first time in the Open era, fewer than four top 10 seeds have made the Wimbledon fourth round.
Only world number one Simona Halep and former US Open finalist Karolina Pliskova remain.