Serena not distracted by Maria

2013-06-25 19:30
Serena Williams (AFP)
London - Five-time Wimbledon champion Serena Williams insisted on Tuesday that her bitter, public feud with Maria Sharapova was not on her mind as she stormed into the second round.

World number one Williams racked-up her 32nd successive win with a 6-1, 6-3 triumph over Luxembourg's Mandy Minella, but faced more questions over her controversial remarks about Sharapova's romance with her ex-boyfriend, Bulgarian player Grigor Dimitrov.

"No, it hasn't been a distraction. Like I said, I'm just here to focus on the tennis," said the 31-year-old Williams.

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"I am just here to play Wimbledon. It's the premier tournament in the world, of the year, so that's what's most important."

Williams said at the weekend that she had apologised to Sharapova for the jibe which had appeared in a Rolling Stone interview.

The Russian star had hit back with a vitriolic attack on Williams' current relationship with French coach Patrick Mouratoglou.

However, the two players have yet to meet on site at the All England Club since the storm broke which may be just as well as they would share the same Champions locker room, separate from the other women.

"We're playing on opposite days, so we don't really see each other," said Williams.

The American took out her frustrations on the hapless Minella, the world number 92 who has never defeated a top-30 player, let alone one of the calibre of Williams, whose French Open title three weeks ago took her majors haul to 16.

Victory was also her 75th in her last 78 matches, a run that stretches back to her shock first round departure at Roland Garros in 2012, the worst Grand Slam exit of her career.

Tuesday's 32nd successive win took her to within just three of the record set by older sister Venus in 2000.

"I never think about the run, I just treat every match like a new one," said Williams after her 57-minute win.

"It was special coming out as defending champion. I played great and I have some great memories."

Williams did not concede a single point on her serve in the first set but Minella, playing in only her eighth Grand Slam compared to the American's 52nd, at least had the consolation of breaking her opponent's serve for a 2-0 lead in the second set.

But she couldn't capitalise on that slim opening and Williams roared back, finishing the match with 25 winners to Minella's five.

Williams goes on to face French qualifier Caroline Garcia, who she beat in the second round in Paris, for a place in the last 32.

Read more on:    wimbledon  |  serena williams  |  tennis

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