All the figures add up for Serena

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The Independent Online

Serena Williams doesn't do maths. When asked yesterday what she thought she might be doing 20 years hence, she calculated she would be aged 32 instead of 42.

For the record, she added that, in 20 years' time, aged 32, she hoped to be running a successful clothing company, and be an established movie star, and "hopefully have a few little Serenas running around - two Serenas".

The only other relevant numbers for her yesterday were two and three. Two was the number of sets she needed to brush aside Spain's Magui Serna, 6-4, 6-0. Williams's brutal power and deceptively swift movement were the familiar tools in her victory.

Three is the number of consecutive Wimbledon singles titles Serena will have won if she can win four more matches here this fortnight. Only two other women, Martina Navratilova and Steffi Graf, have completed a hat-trick in the open era.

Serena's next hurdle will be either France's Tatiana Golovin or Switzerland's Emmanuelle Gagliardi, who were level in the third set of their third-round match last night when rain stopped play.

Neither will have a prayer on the champion's form yesterday, of which she gave an accurate assessment. "I started adding the spin and playing grass court tennis instead of clay court or hard court," she said. "I was also beginning to come to the net a bit more. I was pretty excited about it."

She also revealed that her father, Richard, had advised her to take some pace off her serve in the hope of improving its accuracy. "He said don't hit them 120mph if you can hit 110. For the first time in 10 years I decided, OK, I'm only gonna hit 110 and just place it, and it worked every time."

Working all the time was a recurring theme. Williams was asked if she thought that her activities away from tennis were damaging her game. The question is being increasingly asked, most recently by Navratilova.

"I think I had as many outside interests before [when dominating the Grand Slams through most of 2002 and 2003] but I was afraid to act on them," Serena said in her defence. "And I was afraid of how I would be perceived if I acted on them. But once I got over that fear I realised my tennis career is only going to last so long. I don't want to be 32 and not know exactly what's gonna happen. I want my future planned."

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