Serena Williams' telling response to question about former coach

Seen here, Serena Williams speaking to reporters before Wimbledon.
Serena Williams made a shock admission after being asked a question about her longtime former coach before Wimbledon. Pic: Wimbledon

Professional sport can be a cut-throat industry, just ask Patrick Mouratoglou.

The longtime former coach of Serena Williams parted ways with the 23-time grand slam champion before Wimbledon, ending a decade-long partnership that bore multiple grand slam singles titles.

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Mouratoglou had worked with Serena since 2012, helping her win 10 of her 23 grand slam titles and an Olympic gold medal.

However, the French coach has now teamed up with former World No.1 Simona Halep after weeks of uncertainty about whether Williams was going to return for Wimbledon.

The 40-year-old Williams ended a 12-month hiatus from tennis to team with Ons Jabeur in last week's Eastbourne doubles, in a positive tune-up for her tilt at a 24th grand slam title at the All England Club.

Speaking ahead of her opening round match against France's Harmony Tan, the American gave a brutal response to a question about what it felt like to head into Wimbledon without Mouratoglou by her side.

“I didn’t even think about it," Williams said about her long-time former mentor.

"I don't know, it feels good. I’m having a wonderful time here and I just didn’t even think about it.”

Mouratoglou recently revealed how he gave Serena an ultimatum before the French Open because he couldn't wait any longer for her to make a decision on her playing future.

"I wanted to be fair to her and not be disappointed at the end of my career," he said at a sports festival in Romania.

"I went to ask her what she was going to do. It was very clear to her.

"I asked her if she wanted to go to Roland Garros. She told me she didn't know.

"It was six weeks before the tour. I told her I was waiting for her on Monday for training and if she didn't come I would consider myself free."

Evidently, Serena didn't show up for training and Mouratoglou decided to team up with Halep.

Pictured left to right, Patrick Mouratoglou and Serena Williams at the Australian Open in 2020.
Patrick Mouratoglou and Serena Williams at the Australian Open in 2020. (Photo by Daniel Pockett/Getty Images)

Serena Williams teams up with sister Venus' coach

The high-profile split has seen Serena enlist the help of sister Venus' coach Eric Hechtman.

The renowned coach shared Serena's announcement on his Instagram page before arriving in England, writing: "LFG! So pumped for this trip with the GOAT."

Hechtman has been Venus' coach since 2019, but the elder Williams sister also hasn't played since before Wimbledon last year.

The American has previously worked with the likes of Rafa Nadal and Roger Federer as a hitting partner and was also the Director of the Royal Palm Tennis Club in Florida.

Seven-time Wimbledon singles queen Williams has not won a grand slam since 2017's Australian Open, and has lost two finals at SW19 during the drought, to Angelique Kerber in 2018 and Halep in 2019.

However, her doubles partner and third seed Jabeur expects the 40-year-old to give a positive account of herself when she gets her Wimbledon campaign under way against Tan.

"I feel Serena was playing well and moving well. I think she can win matches at Wimbledon," Jabeur said in a BBC Sport column.

"We were put in opposite sides of the draw so that means we couldn't play until the final. That's okay - I'll send her to Iga Swiatek's half instead and leave the possibility of those two great players facing each other.

"I, for sure, didn't want to play her in the first round. You don't want to play Serena, especially at Wimbledon. But if it did happen then it would be amazing to play her and that would add another thing to the dream list for me."

with agencies

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