Serena Williams tells SI.com that if she could replay any match it would be at 1998 Roland Garros fourth round, when Arantxa Sanchez Vicario moonballed her off the court 4-6, 7-5, 6-3. Sanchez Vicario went on to win her third French Open title that year.
The Spanish veteran accused Williams of trying to hit her and striking a ball on a double bounce on a crucial point — a charge that the then 16-year-old Serena denied. She also denied that she was yelling at Sanchez Vicario during the match, even though she could be heard courtside.
“I never hit her. I know I tried to hit her, yeah sure,” Serena told TENNIS.com at the time. “People were fabricating things…I wasn’t yelling at her, to her, away from her, I was never yelling. I remember the ball was like a double bounce, but it wasn’t a double bounce. I told the umpire. There was no altercation.... Maybe Arantxa said I said something. Maybe she just has a problem with us [she and Venus].”
Serena eventually left the court in tears.
In Rome on Monday, Serena told SI.com: “I was [two points from winning the match twice]. And I tell you, I would have won the French Open that year [if she had beaten Sanchez Vicario]. I know I would have won the French Open that year. Unfortunately, she won.”
Serena also said that she chooses not to dine with other players because she doesn't want to get too close to her competitors.
“Only because, I get along with a lot of players, but I get too emotionally involved,” she said. “ I start liking people too much and it gets too hard to beat them. I feel sorry for them and then when I play them, I get depressed. As much as I would want to — I could name a lot of players, like Caroline [Wozniacki], Jamie [Hampton]. But I would feel so bad. I even lost to Caroline [at the Sony Open in 2012]. I can’t. I get too close to people.”