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Serena 'selling' serve

09 July 2012, 13:35

London - A day after winning her fifth Wimbledon singles title while raising her ace total to 102 for the tournament, Serena Williams joked at the All England Club champions' dinner on Sunday night that she's bottling that powerful stroke and putting it up for sale.

"I have a package at the door. If you guys want to buy my serve, you can get it," Williams told the attendees at the formal dinner at a London hotel. "It's only a million dollars per bottle. They're available."

Williams, who also won the women's doubles title with older sister Venus, and men's singles champion Roger Federer made brief remarks to guests while interviewed by Virginia Wade, the 1977 women's winner at the All England Club.

Wade called Williams' serve "absolutely phenomenal" and "perfect." Pointing out that the 30-year-old American is "a business person at heart," Wade asked Williams whether she had considered making money by "selling" her serve.

"It's so funny you should mention that," said Williams, who wore a gold-coloured gown to the dinner.

Williams hit 17 aces in her three-set victory over Agnieszka Radwanska in the women's final Saturday. Williams broke her own Wimbledon records with 24 aces in one match and 102 for the two weeks.

All England Club chairperson Philip Brook noted at the dinner that Williams finished with far more aces than Federer, who hit 71.

"I don't practice it that much," Williams said, drawing loud laughter from the dinner guests. "I promise you I don't. I don't know, this week it was just amazing. I hope it keeps coming."

It had been three years since Federer won the grass-court Grand Slam tournament, and 2 1/2 years since he won any major title. Those gaps are nothing compared to what Britain has endured, of course: The player Federer beat in four sets on Sunday, Andy Murray, was trying to become the first man from the host country to win Wimbledon since 1936.

"Although he isn't here, I thought we might show our appreciation to Andy Murray," Brook said during his speech, drawing several seconds of loud applause.

Federer, wearing a three-piece dinner suit with his All England Club membership badge pinned to a lapel, spoke about attending the champions' dinner so many times - only he, Pete Sampras and William Renshaw (in the 1880s) have won seven men's titles at Wimbledon.

"It does feel familiar, but you don't take it for granted," said 17-time major champion Federer, cradling the replica trophy that he gets to keep. "I also had to wait a few years, and I had a couple of tough losses along the way, so I do enjoy it, I guess, so much more. It was very emotional out there. Andy playing his part, me playing my part. So it was a very special occasion today for men's tennis, I thought."

Federer noted that it was particularly moving for him to have his twin daughters, who turn 3 this month, at Centre Court to see him accept his trophy.

"Three years, when I was (at the dinner) last time, and I played against Andy Roddick, my wife was heavy pregnant then. And now here the girls are, out and watching me lift the Wimbledon trophy. It's very, very special for me. I don't think they'll remember one day, but at least they have the pictures to go with it," he said. "And for us, the memories are amazing. And for me, today, on court, it was one of the most incredible experiences - as a player, and as a dad, at the same time."

Wade noted that there is not a lot of time for Federer to rest up before the London Games start July 28.

The Olympic tennis competition will be held at the All England Club.

"Oh, yeah, three weeks. That's like, I don't know, three years' vacation for you guys," Federer joked. "Three weeks is plenty. I'll do one week vacation, and then I'll prepare."

- AP


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