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Thu Apr 24 16:11:24 SAST 2014

Mobbed Serena wants security probe

Steve Griffiths, Sapa-AFP | 03 July, 2012 09:010 Comments
The Championships - Wimbledon 2012: Day Seven
Serena Williams of the US looks on during her fourth round match against Yaroslava Shvedova of Kazakhstan on day seven of the Wimbledon Championships at the All England Lawn Tennis and Croquet Club on July 2, 2012 in London, England
Image by: Julian Finney / Getty Images

Serena Williams called on Wimbledon chiefs to beef up their security after the four-time champion’s 6-1, 2-6, 7-5 victory over Yaroslava Shvedova was marred when she was mobbed by frenzied fans on the way back from Court Two on Monday.

Serena had to run the gauntlet of autograph-hunting fans eager to get close to the sixth seed as she walked to and from one of Wimbledon’s outer courts.

Although Serena was escorted by a posse of security guards, she admitted the journey through the All England Club’s crowded walkways got a little intimidating after her fourth round victory.

It is not the first time in her illustrious career the 30-year-old American has been scheduled outside Wimbledon’s show courts and she believes security must be improved if the sport’s biggest stars have to play away from the better-protected arenas.

“I was totally mobbed. I literally was almost knocked over after the match. It was crazy out there today,” Serena said.

“I guess that comes with the territory. There was tons of security guards in there just going nuts and screaming. I’ve never heard them scream so loud.

“Maybe that can be taken into consideration. I think they should take that into account.” 

Serena joked that she was happy to take on any fans who got overzealous, but she was right to be concerned by the situation after having to deal with stalkers at various tournaments including Wimbledon in the past.

“I wasn’t scared. Nobody going to knock me over for real! I’d like to see that happen. You guys know how I can get,” Serena said.

“Maybe that’s why I got on Court Two, because they knew I could back myself up. When it boils down, I guess I really didn’t need security.” 

Wimbledon officials later issued a statement in response to Serena’s complaints.

“The safety of the players and spectators is of paramount importance to the club and we take any concerns very seriously,” the statement read.

Before the off-court drama, Serena looked set to cruise through as she took the first set in emphatic fashion, but Kazakh wildcard Shvedova has been in superb form, winning all 24 points and dropping none in a Golden Set against Sara Errani in the previous round, and she hit back impressively to force the American to a final set.

Williams, also taken to three sets by Zheng Jie in the previous round, showed why she is a 13-time Grand Slam champion as she finally subdued her gritty opponent to set up a last eight clash with defending champion Petra Kvitova.

Serena hasn’t won a Grand Slam since her fourth Wimbledon triumph in 2010 and her first round exit from the French Open against Virginie Razzano last month ranked as her worst ever result at a major.

But Williams clearly still has the appetite for more success, even if she might need to up her game to pass the even sterner tests that lie ahead.

“Drama again! I love the drama,” she added. “As long as I get the win I’m fine. I don’t feel mental strain. If anything, I feel tougher. I’m Serena Williams; I’m very confident.

“I’m really fit. I don’t feel tired at all. This match, it was long, but it wasn’t arduous, so I feel totally fine.”

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