Jetlagged? Losing your match? World No.1 Serena Williams came up with a winning answer for those conundrums – a coffee break.
Williams was staring down the barrel of an uncharacteristic loss after coughing up the opening set 6-0 in 19 minutes to Italian Flavia Pennetta during their Hopman Cup clash on Monday.
Struggling for energy and flailing badly, Williams got a ball girl to fetch her an espresso during the break, and the caffeine hit did wonders as the 33-year-old won 10 straight games to secure the match 0-6 6-3 6-0 in 89 minutes.
“It’s miracle coffee,” Williams joked after the match.
“I am a coffee drinker. I didn’t have mine this morning and I was just feeling it, so I just had to get some coffee into me.
“I just asked them to get me a shot of espresso. I asked them if it was legal, because I’ve never done it before.
“I needed to wake up – it’s just the jetlag. It gets you all the time.”
United States took an unassailable 2-0 lead in the tie after world No.18 John Isner beat Fabio Fognini 5-7 7-5 7-6 (7-4) in a 147-minute epic.
The 3-0 sweep was secured after the US saved two match points in the mixed doubles to prevail 6-2 2-6 11-9 (match tiebreak).
With the temperature peaking at 44.4 degrees in Perth, Isner said the decision to shut the Perth Arena roof was a good call.
“You could fry an egg on that court if the roof was open,” Isner said.
“But thankfully they had pity on us and closed it.”
Isner was forced to pull out of the past two Hopman Cups due to knee and ankle injuries, but said he was feeling good this time around.
“This tournament has sort of been my bug a boo the last couple of years,” Isner said.
“I’ve been nicked up at this event.
“But this is the first time I’ve walked off that court and felt healthy. I’m tired, but healthy, so it’s a good feeling.”
Williams said the round-robin nature of the Hopman Cup meant she didn’t need to stress as much, and her goal this year is to enjoy herself more on court.
“My dad says, ‘Serena, you’ve done everything, enjoy yourself, I promise you’ll play better’. “I’m trying to relax a bit more and play how I know I can play,” she said.
Williams will face another stern test on Tuesday night when she takes on world No.6 Eugenie Bouchard of Canada.