The News Courier in Athens, Alabama

Sports

June 26, 2013

Williams runs winning streak to 32 at Wimbledon

LONDON (AP) — A reporter wanted to know whether Serena Williams contemplates adding more variety to her power-based game.

She did not take kindly to the question's premise.

"I don't only play hard tennis. Maybe if you want to get out there, I can show you, like, how I mix things up. I hit a lob today. I'm hitting slices and drop shots, especially more recently," Williams replied.

"Power's often extremely good to have in your game," she continued. "But if I were to sit here and hit every ball hard, my arm would fall off."

It's true that Williams does pound serves, up to 121 mph in the first round of Wimbledon on Tuesday. And her groundstrokes are big, too, enough for a 25-5 edge in winners against Mandy Minella of Luxembourg.

It's also true that Williams has been showing off a soft touch when needed during a winning streak that reached 32 matches — the longest single-season run on the women's tour in 13 years — with a 6-1, 6-3 victory over Minella.

That marked the top-seeded and top-ranked Williams' return to competition following a little break after winning the French Open on June 8 for her 16th Grand Slam trophy.

It was also her first match on a grass court since winning her fifth Wimbledon title and two Olympic gold medals back-to-back at the All England Club a year ago. That was the beginning of a stretch in which Williams has gone 75-3 and claimed three of the past four major championships.

"You can call her pretty much unbeatable," the 92nd-ranked Minella said. "She's playing better than ever. ... Every time she steps on court, you can see why."

Off the court, things have been a little more hectic for the 31-year-old American lately.

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