Serena Williams hails Tiger Woods’ influence as she continues her US Open run
In an interview with French sports newspaper L’Equipe on Thursday, a day after dropping out at the Australian Open, Serena Williams praised former world number one Tiger Woods as an inspiration.
Woods had been involved in a spat with Williams and her sister Venus that erupted in public last September when he told a press conference they are both “crazy”, following back-to-back wins at the French Open.
Williams says the “honest mistake” could have cost the Australian Open champion two tournaments and her confidence for the rest of the season.
She also thanked Woods for providing her with opportunities and support that she never expected.
“He gave me a lot of confidence. He was the one who was really confident in me, he didn’t need to do that. He gave me a lot of opportunity that I couldn’t have imagined,” said the American, who has three Roland Garros titles to her name.
“He gave me everything I needed. He made a mistake. I made a mistake for him. He’s a really good friend. He’s very down to earth. He’s humble. He’s a very, very sweet, very friendly person. So he’s, all these things, I miss him a lot.”
Williams, who has won the French Open twice and the Wimbledon and US Open championships during her career, said that she would have retired after the Australian Open had it not been for Woods’ support.
“It’s hard for me to talk about him. I was really happy for him, really happy for him to know me the way he knows me. Because he’s become a really big star, one of the best in the world, but I wasn’t a star at all. I was not popular and I wasn’t the best.
“He always pushed me to try to be better and play the way I played the last years. And it paid off.”
“I learned how to