Saturday, August 4, 2012
Serena Williams wins Gold Medal at London Olympics
Serena Williams demolished Maria Sharapova 6-0, 6-1 to win the Olympic singles gold medal.
Serena is also the first woman to complete a Golden Slam in both singles and doubles. And the 14-time Grand Slam champion isn't finished yet.
"Oh my gosh, I got the gold. Wow, I'm so pumped," Serena said. "It's too much. I just never expected gold in singles.
"I didn't think it could be better than winning Wimbledon but you can see how happy I am. I've never played better.
"I was so happy with my doubles golds but now I have singles, doubles, actually everything there is to win in tennis. Where do I go from here?"
"Now I can go to Disneyworld," she added.
"Serena was playing incredibly confident tennis today, particularly considering how windy it was. With every match in the tournament she was playing better and hitting harder," Sharapova said. "There are always things you think you could have done better, but my opponent just played too well today; she was too quick and too powerful. She wasn't making many mistakes either.
"A silver medal means a lot to me, though. It's always disappointing to lose in the final but it's great to get a medal in my first Olympic Games.
"For sure I'll be trying again in Rio. I want that gold medal!"
After a brief delay when Serena returned to the locker room, leaving Sharapova standing on the baseline waiting to start the match, the American hit three aces in the first game of the match.
Sharapova was broken to love in the next game and that was all the encouragement Serena needed to go for the kill.
She kept peppering Sharapova with ferocious groundstrokes from the baseline and even a player of the world number three's calibre was rendered helpless in the face of such a relentless barrage.
Another break in the fourth game sealed the set for Serena and she kept her foot on the gas in the second set.
Serena broke in the second game of the second set and held to lead 3-0. Sharapova then was able to get on the scoreboard at last after losing nine consecutive games.
The American broke again for a 5-1 lead before clinching the gold in 63 minutes with, fittingly, one last thunderous ace.
"I was so focused here," she said. "I remember I was serving and I was thinking: 'Serena, this is your best chance to win a gold medal. You're at Wimbledon, you're on grass, you play great on grass, pull it together, just win this.' And that's what I thought about."
The career Golden Slam was first achieved by Steffi Graf, who did it when she won at the Olympics in 1988 after sweeping all four major titles.
"Growing up watching her, I always liked her," Williams said. "Having a chance to be mentioned in the same name - I always thought, 'OK, one person I'll never be mentioned in the same name is Steffi Graf. She's done everything.'"
"Against Maria, if you give her any hope, she's trying to come back," Williams said. "She won that one game and I could see her pumping her fist, and I was like, 'Oh boy, here she comes.' It was really important for me to almost go out there and just do everything."
Williams was still hopping as she put on her Team USA jacket for the medal ceremony. Then she began to dance.
"I don't think I've ever danced like that," she said. "I don't even know where the dance came from."
Photo by Getty Images