Via NYDailyNews reports:
At 31 years old and chasing history, Serena Williams has overpowered everything on her court, ranked or unranked, finding health and peak performance behind a new coach who apparently doubles as her rumored boyfriend.
It has been this way for months — ever since Patrick Mouratoglou began overseeing her career last year.
“Mentally, she’s different. She really wants it,” the Frenchman coach said. “She’s working like she’s 19 years old and wants to win her first Grand Slam. She has the same appetite.
“That makes a huge difference. How many players being (almost) 32 have the same appetite and especially after winning so many Grand Slams? I mean, they are different. Serena is really different, mentally.”
Williams, who turns 32 on Sept. 26, is the unbeatable force at Flushing, a lock, it would seem, to bowl through Friday’s semifinals and move one step closer to the three women with more Grand Slam titles — Chris Evert (18), Martina Navratilova (18) and Steffi Graf (22).
Williams, who faces fifth-seeded Li Na on Friday, has 16 Grand Slam titles and counting. She has dropped just 13 games through five rounds at the Open.
But Mouratoglou said history or records are never discussed.
“She doesn’t speak about it,” Mouratoglou said. “What she says is she wants to be the best she can be. She wants to keep on improving. She said to me at the start, ‘I’m prepared to do anything to be back to the top and to be winning Grand Slams.’ ”
According to reports and paparazzi pictures, Mouratoglou, 43, is more than a coach to Williams. He started working with Williams in June last year, following her first-round ouster at the French Open. Williams responded with three Grand Slam titles and an Olympic gold medal, while her off-the-court relationship with her coach raised eyebrows.
The pair has been photographed together during intimate moments, whether holding hands on a boat, or cuddling on a street in France. Both have declined to discuss their relationship beyond tennis, but it’s clear they’re comfortable in each other’s presence.
Maria Sharapova, who skipped this U.S. Open because of a shoulder injury, brought negative attention to the relationship in a back-and-forth with Williams during Wimbledon.
“Maybe she should talk about her relationship and her boyfriend that was married and is getting a divorce and has kids,” Sharapova sniped.
Mouratoglou, who has three children, is separated from his wife. Williams is by far his highest-profile client, and certainly a success story after guiding her through the best stretch of a 17-year career. So what adjustments has Mouratoglou made to Williams’ game?
“When you have a player at that level, small changes make big differences,” he said. “Small changes make major differences. They can make someone play from a great level to an unbelievable level.
“The better you achieve what you want to achieve, the more confidence you get. The more confidence you get, the more difficult to beat also you get. So little things have many consequences.”
Well being that Mouratoglou is married, but legally separated from his wife, it shouldn’t really matter if they’re dating or not, especially in a story that is praising her athletic ability. Serena is busting ass and knocking her opponents out of the game, and they’re focusing on her private life of course.