“I trained for the past two-and-a-half weeks at Patrick’s academy, and then training a lot on the clay in the United States with team members,” Williams explained in her pre-tournament press conference. “Mackie came back and other people joined, and that was really exciting for me.
“So, we had an intense, several weeks of training, very intense.”
“I feel like I’m good. I’m in Rome. I’m going to have some good matches here hopefully, and then I will be at another Grand Slam which always makes me excited. So, I think either way I’ll be ready.”
The Foro Italico has often served as an accurate measure of her clay-court comfort: in four title runs, Williams has gone on to reach the Roland Garros final three times (winning two). Rome has also been her most successful clay tournament, winning it most recently in 2016.
“I don’t show what I do. I don’t always show my cards.”
Serena Williams was conspicuously absent from the WTA circuit as the clay-court season got underway, having not played since a painful Australian Open defeat to Naomi Osaka. While coach Patrick Mouratoglou announced her intent to play this spring, the 23-time Grand Slam champion took to Instagram at the end of April to break her own sporting silence, promising fans she was working hard ahead of Roland Garros.
“No one asked, but I just felt like #RenasArmy needs to know that I’m out here doing all the work, and that this is for you,” she concluded.
True to her word, she arrived at the Internazional BNL d’Italia fresh off a cross-continental training bloc that included former Wimbledon finalist Zina Garrison and fitness trainer Mackie Shilstone.
Former Wimbledon finalist Zina Garrison also wrote on her instagram page about her training block with Serena Williams and also wrote positive comments about her personalty.