Appearing on the latest episode of the La Fileu podcast, Romanian No. 3 Sorana Cirstea spoke about being “intimidated” by 23-time Grand Slam champion Serena Williams’ presence in the locker room.
Cristea said that the American was trained to intimidate opponents, pointing out that she never spoke to them before matches. The Romanian added that so many players grew up watching Williams play on TV and that is how she developed an aura of invincibility.
“Serena [Williams] used to intimidate me badly, she was trained to do this thing. To intimidate you in the locker room. First of all, Serena wouldn’t talk to anyone in the locker room, to any other player,” Cirstea said.”We have a shared locker room. It’s a little weird at first, when you see someone on TV, and then you go play against them. In the locker room he wouldn’t talk to anyone and he had an aura that intimidated you,” she added.
Recalling the 2013 Rogers Cup final, Cirstea said she remembers Williams being surrounded by a big team — including her trainer, physio, and family members among others, whereas she was alone waiting to be called onto the court.
The 32-year-old went on to add that the response that Serena Williams receives upon entering the court further adds to the pressure on her opponents. During the warm-up, the Romanian said that Williams came at her with full power as she looked to fine-tune her volleys.
“I’ll never forget, I was playing in the finals in Toronto in 2013. You have the tunnel that leads you to the arena. Normally, in the tunnel, until you are called, you have about 5 minutes, the moment they take you over, you go alone. The team goes to the other side and goes into the stands. Serena stayed with all the staff, always. I was alone there, small, and she was with the staff,” Cirstea continued.”She was surrounded by many people. A trainer, sparring, trainer, physio, mother, sister, puppy, puppy groomer. They were laughing, joking, and making a bit of a joke. You enter the field, then she enters, cheering, delirious. In the warm-up, from the back, she gave the ball easily, at 2 km per hour. When it came to volleys, she gave you full power,” she added.
“Serena Williams was an extraordinary player” – Sorana CirsteaSerena Williams pictured at the 2013 Rogers Cup.
Serena Williams pictured at the 2013 Rogers Cup.
Dubbing Serena Williams an “extraordinary player,” Sorana Cirstea said she was nearly unplayable when playing in her best form. Highlighting her serve in particular, the Romanian said Williams could hit the 200 kmph mark consistently
Cirstea also praised the 23-time Grand Slam winner for her match management, saying she knew exactly when to hit the gas and pull away from her opponents.