LONDON, July 1 – Serena Williams admitted that she would be happy to play five sets at Grand Slams as new questions arose over the credibility of the women's game.
Williams, sister Venus, as well as Russian duo Dinara Safina and Elena Dementieva will contest the Wimbledon semi-finals on Thursday, all having virtually coasted into the last four.
Serena, a double Wimbledon champion, five-time winner Venus and fourth seed Dementieva have reached the semi-finals without dropping a set; world number one Safina has dropped two but still came through.
The total time it took the Williams sisters and Dementieva to negotiate their quarter-finals was half an hour less than it took Britain’s Andy Murray to get past Stanislas Wawrinka in a cliffhanger men’s fourth round on Monday.
"I’m ready for five-set matches. On grass it would be fine. I can definitely play five sets," said Serena Williams who cruised past Belarusian Victoria Azarenka 6-2, 6-3 in her quarter-final.
Serena insists that Wimbledon fans are getting value for money despite a raft of lob-sided matches.
"You get to see these female players playing their best tennis not losing a set. I think that’s tremendous," she said.
"The top four seeds are in the semi-finals. Those top players are really playing their top game so definitely (fans are) getting their money’s worth."
There has been a Williams sister in the Wimbledon final in seven of the last eight years; they have played each other in three of them.
Venus, who brushed aside Poland’s Agniezska Radwanska 6-1, 6-2 in her quarter-final, believes she and her sister have simply discovered the secret of playing on grass.
"I think that the style of game that Serena and I play, we play better than the other women. If you’re talking about another style, maybe we don’t play that as well," she said.
Serena insists that despite a decade of virtual dominance at the All England Club, the sisters’ work ethic should not be under-estimated.
"I definitely put most of it to hard work and good training," she said.
"I feel like I do have talent but also feel like I’m not sitting down on my couch never training. I actually work pretty hard at what I do to turn that talent into more talent."
Despite Serena’s willingness to play five sets on grass from the quarter-final stage, outgoing WTA chief Larry Scott said that women’s tennis is not yet moving in that direction.
"It’s something I have discussed with players. We discussed it over the years during the equal prize money debate," said Scott.
"We always said that if it’s determined that the women should play five sets or are asked to play five sets, the players would support that.
"I don’t personally believe that’s the direction that the sport is going in or that that’s the best format for television or for fans. I think it would present all kinds of scheduling issues."