Williams plays down rivalry with Capriati - Tennis - Sport - The Independent

Williams plays down rivalry with Capriati

Let's just get one thing straight. Serena Williams and Jennifer Capriati, who set up a quarter-final meeting yesterday with respective victories over Tatiana Golovin and Nadia Petrova, are not enemies. Far from it. But then again, don't run away with the idea that they are friends. Far from it.

Let's just get one thing straight. Serena Williams and Jennifer Capriati, who set up a quarter-final meeting yesterday with respective victories over Tatiana Golovin and Nadia Petrova, are not enemies. Far from it. But then again, don't run away with the idea that they are friends. Far from it.

As today's collision loomed large in the minds of the American media, there was strenuous investigation of the supposedly turbulent relationship between two of the leading ladies in US women's tennis. And each in turn made strenuous efforts to say everything except what seems obvious: they are rivals, and they don't particularly care for each other.

Williams, whose 6-2, 6-1 pounding of her 16-year-old Russian-born opponent included a Wimbledon record serve of 126mph, denied having any problem with the woman who beat her twice last month, in Rome and at the French Open.

"I think it was more or less you guys who perceived..." she maintained at her post-match press conference, adding with a slowly widening grin: "I know it was a particular commentator, for a fact. An American commentator, a lady, who said that ­ but I won't mention any names. She said: 'You can just see that they don't like each other.' But it was really never... I'm always professional.

"When I was younger I used to watch her, and I admired her being able to come back, do so well, win those Grand Slams. You can really see now that she's really happy... I never knock anyone for being happy," she added.

At least the question gained the younger Williams' attention, which at one stage appeared to be taken up by leafing through some match statistics ­ or perhaps a fashion magazine? ­ as the same old questions rained in.

Asked to endorse Serena's assessment that both players had respect for each other, Capriati duly obliged, before making it clear that it was a bare minimum, working relationship-type respect. "I mean obviously, you know, away from the court, everyone has their own life," she said. "Just when we come to the same work environment, we're seeing each other all the time so there's no need to be hostile... I think she respects my game, I respect her game, and that's basically it. We're not like enemies... but I'm not saying that we're best friends either and that we're going to go and hang out after."

So much for the relationship. The question of who will progress to the semi-finals is equally hard to fathom, although the tide appears to be running with Capriati, who has won their previous two meetings ­ at last month's Italian Open, and subsequently at Roland Garros.

Williams produced power of shock-and-awe proportions en route to victory yesterday, but she also made fitful unforced errors in a match where the scoreline slightly flattered her.

After losing her service in the first game of the second set, the woman who is seeking a hat-trick of Wimbledon titles was twice only one point away from going 2-0 down, but hung on to break back before winning the next four games.

Her mega-serve ­ roughly equal to Roger Federer's best ­ was the mightiest of three thunderous aces with which she secured her fourth game of the set, and it was hard to see any opponent being able to resist such fearsome power.

But the suspicion persists that Williams has not fully reclaimed her form since returning from the eight-month absence which followed a knee operation she underwent soon after defending her title here last July. She also endorsed that assessment afterwards. "I really didn't think I played well today," she said. "I thought I wasn't moving."

It only remained to check on how her much-publicised wider ambitions were progressing. Asked what her next casting call was for television or film, she responded like a trouper: "I don't know," she said. "I'll have to talk to my agent."

As for the question of whether it would mean more to her to earn an Oscar in the future or to win another Wimbledon title ­ and God knows, we have all had to riddle our way round that one in our time ­ she responded by underlining her desire to be victorious once again in SW19.

Possibly just as well.

Life and Style
tech
Arts and Entertainment
Robin Thicke's video for 'Blurred Lines' has been criticised for condoning rape
music
News
Paper trail: the wedding photograph found in the rubble after 9/11 – it took Elizabeth Keefe 13 years to find the people in it
newsWho are the people in this photo? It took Elizabeth Stringer Keefe 13 years to find out
Voices
Yes supporters gather outside the Usher Hall, which is hosting a Night for Scotland in Edinburgh
voicesBen Judah: Is there a third option for England and Scotland that keeps everyone happy?
PROMOTED VIDEO
Arts and Entertainment
Matt Damon as Jason Bourne in The Bourne Ultimatum (2007)
filmMatt Damon in talks to return
News
peopleThe report and photo dedicated to the actress’s decolletage has, unsurprisingly, provoked anger
Arts and Entertainment
Evil eye: Douglas Adams in 'mad genius' pose
booksNew biography sheds light on comic genius of Douglas Adams
Life and Style
tech... and together they're worth at least £100 million
Arts and Entertainment
While many films were released, few managed to match the success of James Bond blockbuster 'Skyfall'
filmsDaniel Craig is believed to be donning skies as 007 for the first time
Arts and Entertainment
Fringe show: 'Cilla', with Sheridan Smith in the title role and Aneurin Barnard as her future husband Bobby Willis
tvEllen E Jones on ITV's 'Cilla'
Life and Style
Bono and Apple CEO Tim Cook announced U2's surprise new album at the iPhone 6 launch
tech(but you can't escape: Bono is always on your iPhone)
Sport
Tim Wiese
sport
Life and Style
Kim Kardashian drawn backlash over her sexy swimsuit selfie, called 'disgusting' and 'nasty'
fashionCritics say magazine only pays attention to fashion trends among rich, white women
Arts and Entertainment
TVShows like Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D are little more than marketing tools
Arts and Entertainment
Hit the roof: hot-tub cinema east London
architectureFrom pools to football pitches, rooftop living is looking up
Caption competition
Caption competition
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Daily Quiz
Independent Dating
and  

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

Mystery of the Ground Zero wedding photo

A shot in the dark

Mystery of the wedding photo from Ground Zero
His life, the universe and everything

His life, the universe and everything

New biography sheds light on comic genius of Douglas Adams
Save us from small screen superheroes

Save us from small screen superheroes

Shows like Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D are little more than marketing tools
Reach for the skies

Reach for the skies

From pools to football pitches, rooftop living is looking up
These are the 12 best hotel spas in the UK

12 best hotel spas in the UK

Some hotels go all out on facilities; others stand out for the sheer quality of treatments
These Iranian-controlled Shia militias used to specialise in killing American soldiers. Now they are fighting Isis, backed up by US airstrikes

Widespread fear of Isis is producing strange bedfellows

Iranian-controlled Shia militias that used to kill American soldiers are now fighting Isis, helped by US airstrikes
Topshop goes part Athena poster, part last spring Prada

Topshop goes part Athena poster, part last spring Prada

Shoppers don't come to Topshop for the unique
How to make a Lego masterpiece

How to make a Lego masterpiece

Toy breaks out of the nursery and heads for the gallery
Meet the ‘Endies’ – city dwellers who are too poor to have fun

Meet the ‘Endies’ – city dwellers who are too poor to have fun

Urbanites are cursed with an acronym pointing to Employed but No Disposable Income or Savings
Paisley’s decision to make peace with IRA enemies might remind the Arabs of Sadat

Ian Paisley’s decision to make peace with his IRA enemies

His Save Ulster from Sodomy campaign would surely have been supported by many a Sunni imam
'She was a singer, a superstar, an addict, but to me, her mother, she is simply Amy'

'She was a singer, a superstar, an addict, but to me, her mother, she is simply Amy'

Exclusive extract from Janis Winehouse's poignant new memoir
Is this the role to win Cumberbatch an Oscar?

Is this the role to win Cumberbatch an Oscar?

The Imitation Game, film review
England and Roy Hodgson take a joint step towards redemption in Basel

England and Hodgson take a joint step towards redemption

Welbeck double puts England on the road to Euro 2016
Relatives fight over Vivian Maier’s rare photos

Relatives fight over Vivian Maier’s rare photos

Pictures removed from public view as courts decide ownership
‘Fashion has to be fun. It’s a big business, not a cure for cancer’

‘Fashion has to be fun. It’s a big business, not a cure for cancer’

Donatella Versace at New York Fashion Week