Sports and Entertainment
Serena Williams Preps for a Run at History
After Years of Dominating the Sport, a Champion Eyes a New Goal
"Right now is a very special time for me, because I've worked for moments like this my whole life," says Serena Williams.
"Every moment counts. All the hard work I put in when I was young has led me here," she adds. "I can't wait to get to New York."
As the US Open kicks off in New York on August 31, the winner of 21 Grand Slam events over two decades of professional tennis has a chance to win all four Grand Slam events in the same calendar year -- something that has only been done six times before in singles competition.
With that 22nd win, she would tie Steffi Graf's all-time record for Grand Slam titles in the Open Era and surpass Chris Evert with the most US Open titles, raising the trophy under the bright lights in Arthur Ashe Stadium seven times.
Following a Dream
"Every year I've won has been so surreal. It's hard to express how you feel in the moment," says Williams. If she wins, she'll remain the oldest woman to have ever won a Grand Slam event, having reached that mark last month at Wimbledon.
"I've been on this journey since I was 17 years old and followed the same dream every year," she says. "Each win reminds me of all the hard work I put in growing up with my mom and dad, and Venus on and off the court."
Does she take winning for granted after having won the last four major titles?
"I'm training like I always do," she says, which includes keeping her mental game in check. "I really believe in the power of positive thinking. When I'm down, I'm focused on my next point. I just keep pushing myself.
"Tennis is a physical and mental game. The balance of both is essential to the game."
She has had to rely on positive thinking in several close calls this summer. Somehow, someway, it always gets her through.
"It's important to breathe and take it all in sometimes," she adds. "I love what I do even when I'm nervous. I just try to do my best."
Williams arrives at the 2015 US Open with a chance to make history in front of a crowd she loves, and that loves her.
"New York is such a spirited city. You can really feel how special it is at the US Open. There's so much energy around you. It's a really exciting event to share with so many supportive fans in the audience."
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Danielle Elliot is a freelance journalist based in New York. She has written features for National Geographic, The Atlantic, Grantland, Vice Sports, Yahoo Sports, and other outlets. She has produced for NBC, Fox Sports, and others.