Vania King admitted that just the occasion of playing Serena Williams was difficult to deal with. King, a former top-50 player, played against Williams for the first time at the 2014 US Open. “I never played in that situation before, it was very different.
Playing Serena on Ashe, prime-time, full stadium,” King said on Tennis Channel’s podcast. In the 2014 US Open second round, Williams thrashed King 6-1 6-0. When they met for the second and last time – in the 2016 US Open second round – King played better but Williams still escaped with a 6-3 6-3 win.
Now, King admits facing Williams was the only time she went out onto the court not believing she had a chance.
King: I didn’t feel I could beat Williams
“So it’s super stressful. Serena was the one player that I felt I could not beat because I knew that it was not just playing her, she was an incredible player of course, but also the moment.
I had to play the moment too. I had a nice threshold of 10,000 people but when we got to more than 10,000…Against Serena, you’re talking 50/100+ broadcasting out so that was the hard part,” King added. Winning just one game in front of a packed Arthur Ashe Stadium was definitely not a very pleasant experience for King.
But she was glad that she was able to perform much better when she met Williams again two years later at Flushing Meadows. “The first one I wouldn’t mind erasing because I lost 0 and 1. The second one was 3 and 3, which was a respectable score.
More importantly, if I lost 0 and 1 and I felt like I was competitive, I felt like I was being able to present myself and my game the way I wanted to, but I just didn’t,” King recalled.