NEW YORK – Among the many lessons Serena Williams has learned in the 13 years since she played her first Grand Slam final is that routine is overrated.
A perfect attitude to bring into the U.S. Open final, where the only consistent thing over the past five years has been that very little goes according to plan.
This year, the women’s final between Williams and Victoria Azarenka was pushed back a day because of a strong storm bearing down on New York. It marks the fourth time in the last five years the women’s final, normally scheduled for Saturday, will be played on Sunday instead. The men’s final, meanwhile, was also pushed back a day and will close on Monday for the fifth straight year.
None of which bothers Williams, who has been in the mix for three of those delayed women’s finals, and said she’s become much better at going with the flow over the years.
“I have really gotten out of being so into routines because it can really drive someone bananas,” Williams said. “I’ve been on the verge of going bananas because I have to have this, this, this. It wasn’t helping me win. It wasn’t helping me lose. It has nothing to do with that. I have kind of chilled off on that.”
Azarenka, who opened 2012 with the Australian Open title, vaulted to No. 1 in the rankings the next week and will stay there regardless of who wins today. Williams said she comes in with nothing to lose because she’s playing the best player on tour this year.
“I always believe that I’m the best, obviously,” Williams said. “But I mean, on paper, I think she’s been more consistent.”