Serena's touching tribute to coach-father
The mother in Serena Williams is helping her appreciate the precious parenting gifts she received as a daughter.
As she charges relentlessly towards the record-equalling 24th grand slam singles crown she so craves, Williams has recalled the greatest gift of all: her father's love and devotion and iron will to ensure Serena and Venus became the most successful siblings in sport's history.
Only now, after bringing her own daughter Alexis Olympia into the world two years ago, does Williams have a full perspective of the sacrifices her father and lifelong coach Richard made for her.
"I don't get to do something with my daughter every day but he used to get out there every day and hit with us. As a mother I can appreciate that now," the American said after storming into the US Open semi-finals with a 6-1 6-0 rout of Wang Qiang.
"He's not here but he's probably texting me right now saying 'Serena, you should have done this' ... okay, I got it."
Williams has also got another golden opportunity, perhaps her best yet, to equal Margaret Court's all-time record number of singles slams in New York.
The only major champion left in the draw, the eighth seed plays world No.5 Elina Svitolina on Wednesday night for a place in the final for a 10th time at Flushing Meadows.
"It feels good. It feels like, okay, this is what I've been training for," Williams said.
"This is how hard I've been working. It feels like, you know, hard work pays off when that happens."
But the 37-year-old isn't underestimating Svitolina, the 2018 season-ending champion who knocked the American superstar out of the 2016 Rio Olympic Games.
"That was a tough Olympics for me," Williams said.
"Oh, man. Lost in doubles for the first time. Just really devastated about that doubles loss. Then obviously singles shortly after.
"She is obviously a fighter. She gets a lot of balls back. She doesn't make a lot of mistakes.
"She's one of those players that does everything really well. So I have to do everything well, too."