Serena Williams: Threat to sue Wimbledon was 'heat of the moment'

Serena Williams promised she would never sue Wimbledon after making a "heat of the moment" threat during a fourth-round win over Svetlana Kuznetsova.

The six-time women's singles champion was unhappy with the suggestion she and her Russian opponent should play on at 5-5 in the first set, after light drizzle fell on Centre Court.

She believed it left her open to suffering a slip on the grass that could lead to injury.

Serena Williams speaks with Tournament Referee Andrew Jarrett on day seven of the Wimbledon Championships. Photo: Adam Davy/PA
Serena Williams speaks with Tournament Referee Andrew Jarrett on day seven of the Wimbledon Championships. Photo: Adam Davy/PA

After discussing her concerns with umpire Marija Cicak and tournament referee Andrew Jarrett, Williams and Kuznetsova were allowed to leave the court and the retractable roof was deployed to provide cover.

The players were soon able to return and Williams won every game from that stage onwards, for a 7-5 6-0 victory.

When talking initially to Cicak, Williams could be heard to say: "I'm going to fall. Can't they just close the roof?"

Cicak's response was inaudible but Williams added: "If I get hurt, I'm suing..."

A ball boy then ran across the court, and slipped badly on the grass, showing that Williams had valid concerns.

In her post-match press conference, Williams was asked about her comments on court.

She said: "You guys, don't even try me like that. I was in the moment, I was on the court, and what I say on the court, whether it's smashing my rackets, or... it's in the heat of the moment.

"I have no plans, no future of suing Wimbledon. Like, let's get serious. That's not what I do, that's not what I am, and I'm not answering any more questions about that. Nor will I want anyone reporting that either - that's just completely unfair and wrong. Next question."

It was a trying afternoon for Williams, despite her winning in straight sets.

The interruption came at a key stage, and although she wanted to come off court there was the possibility of being distracted from the task at hand.

It fell on coach Patrick Mouratoglou to provide the words of wisdom to soothe her frustrations, and point the way for the rest of the match.

"I had a little time to think about it and just calm down, really just relax," Williams said. "I think that really helped me out a lot.

"I talked to Patrick. He gave me some tips on what I could do.

"He's very calm. Sometimes I don't understand because I'm really worked up a lot, as you can see. I'm really worked up a lot and I do a lot of things.

"He's just so sangfroid all the time. I think that really helps me. I think he's been a wonderful coach to me."

Williams, who plays Anastasia Pavlyuchenkova next, was also asked about the on-court conditions in a BBC post-match interview, and said: "It was really tricky out there because even though it wasn't raining hard - it was like a dewy - but it's on the grass, you can fall really easy.

"And then it wasn't about that, it was like 'Okay, shall I run for this shot or shouldn't I? Because I don't necessarily want to fall'."

Monday proved a rewarding American Independence Day for the Williams sisters, as Venus reached the Wimbledon quarter-finals for the first time since 2010.

The five-time champion, looking to match Serena's haul of six, dug out a 7-6 (7/3) 6-4 victory against Spaniard Carla Suarez Navarro and will face Kazakh Yaroslava Shvedova on Tuesday.

When it was put to her that some people would not expect her to be at this stage at Wimbledon, Venus Williams said: "I think the toughest critic is always yourself in any case. If anyone's hard on me, I'm harder than anyone out there.

"But I don't really care. How about that? I have a job to do on the court. There are very few people that can get out here and play at this level."

The 36-year-old was last in a Wimbledon final in 2009, losing out to Serena.

"Let's hope I can get to that level I was in '09. That means, hey, finals time," Venus said.

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