LONDON - Serena Williams thinks of herself as Wimbledon royalty and the seven-time champion will be cheered on by her friend, the Duchess of Sussex, in Saturday's final against Angelique Kerber.
Just two months after attending her friend Meghan's wedding to the Duke of Sussex in Windsor, Serena will perform in front of the new royal on Centre Court. "There's word on the street," Williams said when asked if Meghan would attend the final.
Told that Kensington Palace had announced the Duchess would be there, Serena smiled and said: "There you go. It came from the palace that she is coming on Saturday." The American star is so close to Meghan that she postponed her pre-Wimbledon media duties to go with her to watch her husband Prince Harry play polo in Ascot.
Two weeks on from that outing, Williams has reached her first Grand Slam final since becoming a mother, only 10 months after giving her birth to daughter Olympia. The 36-year-old will be the first mother to compete in a Wimbledon final since Australia's Evonne Goolagong in 1980. Serena is well established as one of her sport's all-time greats and winning the title for the third time in the last four years - she missed the 2017 tournament due to her pregnancy - would only enhance her standing.
Responding to a question about her place in the Wimbledon hierarchy, the 23-time major winner said: "If there was a Wimbledon royalty, I would like to believe I would be Wimbledon royalty because I've done pretty well here in the past. I am a member, so that kind of counts."
If she beats Kerber on Saturday, Williams, who first won Wimbledon in 2002, will become the first mother to lift the Venus Rosewater Dish since Goolagong 38 years ago. "Oh, wow. I never thought about that. That's pretty cool," Williams said of the British public's respect for her achievements.
"Honestly, I'm just me. I don't feel any different. I know that sounds weird, but I don't. That's an attitude I always want to keep, something I want to teach my daughter to always just have this humility. We're all human."