MELBOURNE — Patrick Mouratoglou has been at Serena Williams’ side as her coach of record since she suffered her only first-round upset at a Grand Slam at the 2012 French Open.
Since she made the call to Mouratoglou asking if she could come and train at his then Paris-based academy for Wimbledon, the two have been a fruitful partnership. Williams not only won Wimbledon and the US Open that year, but a total of 10 majors to date since working with Mouratoglou.
In a news conference Monday after Williams beat Simona Halep, Mouratoglou was asked if he had been worried that he would lose his job after the US Open final in which Williams received a warning for being coached from the box. He indicated the thought never entered his mind.
“No, I didn’t worry about that at all,” he said. “For many reasons….First of all, I hope that every time a coach gets a code violation for coaching he doesn’t get fired, otherwise there will be guys fired every two days. Second, I hope that seven years’ relationship is a bit stronger than a chair umpire. Third, that would be — if she would have done something — I think that would be an emotional decision and she doesn’t do that.”
Later when asked why his relationship with Williams has endured when so many coaching alliances peter out, Mouratoglou highlighted her personality traits as an important dynamic.
“She’s a very loyal person,” he said. “She’s incredibly loyal. Answering another question that you asked, did I think she would stop (with me) after the US Open? No, because she’s loyal.
“I think she’s also very responsible. Like, she doesn’t blame others for her problems. She loses a match, she doesn’t say it’s my fault even though I think it’s my fault, too. She’s strong enough and courageous enough, and confident enough to be able to look at herself and say, ‘I failed.’”
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Mouratoglou went on to discuss the need for trust between coach and player to be a successful partnership.
He also revealed that while he supported Williams’ decision to come back quickly after giving birth to her daughter, Alexis Olympia, in early September 2017, he felt she needed more time to be ready to play full-out.
“I think she was very motivated last year, but it was just too early for her,” he said. “I don’t think she was ready. She was ready to reach a final, but there is a big difference between reaching a final and winning it.
“You cannot buy time. Things take time. To get back in shape after a baby, a few months are not enough.”
Asked if Williams is now in the right place to win a 24th Grand Slam title here at the Australian Open, an accomplishment that would tie Margaret Court’s record for most Grand Slam trophies, he didn’t hesitate in his response.
“Of course I believe she will win,” Mouratoglou said. “If I don’t believe she will win I should coach somebody else. I always think she can win…I think I should be in that state of mind because she’s Serena. I hope she will win. That’s 100 percent the goal.
“I don’t know she will win because I don’t know the history of what’s gonna happen in the future. But I think she will win, yes.”