Engineered specifically for Serena Williams, the NikeCourt Flare delivers stability through a lightweight, minimal design. The shoe, designed by Aaron Cooper at Nike, was created in response to Serena’s ankle issues.
“At the time, I was having issues rolling my ankle,” Williams says. “So I wanted to create a shoe that would give me a lot of stability and make me a better player.”
According to Cooper, the silhouette was inspired by the collection of KOBE signature shoes, kung fu masters and the idea of footwear being an extension of the body.
“Serena was looking for a shoe with more stability that was bigger and more built up,” Cooper says. “What she actually needed was the complete opposite; something that was less built up and with a lower profile. She needed something that would really work with her as a second skin.”
The NikeCourt flare will be Serena Williams’ tennis shoe for Wimbledon.
“This shoe really is an extension of my foot,” Williams says. “And when you think about it, if you’re at home in your house and you don’t have shoes on, you just don’t think about anything else. It’s just your body. And that’s what this shoe is all about.”
Learn more about the design process:
The NikeCourt Flare, a women’s only model, is now available in select Nike retailers and on nike.com/nikecourt.
Interview by Philippe Maria for l’Equipe, June 6, translation by Tennis Buzz.
Former world number one Steffi Graf, while on a visit to Paris, talks about her difficult year in 1988, when she completed the Grand Slam. An unmatched performance that Serena Williams could achieve this year.
Q: You are in Paris this weekend, did you spend some time at Roland Garros, do you still follow tennis news?
I follow results through various media, but with much hindsight. These last four days, for example, I was in Hamburg for my foundation and I haven’t followed what was going on in Paris.
Q: So we won’t see you playing the Legends tournament anytime soon.
No, I’m very busy elsewhere, and it would not be possible physically. I would have to prepare myself, and I don’t have the time nor the desire to do it.
Q: Back to 1988, how much do you remember about that year?
I especially remember the extreme fatigue I experienced in New York. I felt an expectation around me that was not mine, that became oppressive and simply kept me from focusing on my tournament. It was terrible.
Q: This Grand Slam or rather Golden Grand Slam, since you also won gold at the Seoul Olympics, was not a personal goal?
No! It was absolutely not a goal of mine to complete the Grand Slam. As with other things in life, I am someone who advances step by step. In fact, this notion of Grand Slam fell on me during the Wimbledon tournament. The media no longer stopped talking about that. And it reached its highest point in Flushing Meadows. It was absolutely terrible. Everyone was telling me about that, but I didn’t understand this expectation. You have to remember that I was only nineteen. I was literally exhausted!
Q: Even if you had not had a very difficult tournament to the final…
Yes, but in the final, Gabriela Sabatini gave me trouble and the end of the match was complicated. Mentally and physically, I was at breaking point. I remember that at the end of the match cramps began to arrive.
Q: The Grand Slam was not your personal quest. Nevertheless, what did you feel immediately after your success?
Relief. Immediately, I was not aware of the scope of this feat. After my victory? I could not enjoy. Of course, we did celebrate, but I was especially exhausted, and that lasted several days. I can’t say I was proud of what I had accomplished. I was relieved it was over.
Q: And you had to play the Olympics in Korea.
Yes, but I took a break after the US Open. I continued to work out but I hung up my racket. And finally, I loved these Olympic Games, I had a lot of fun. The atmosphere, the fact of finding myself in a team with all German athletes, it did me a world of good, even if the end of the tournament was tougher. It was refreshing.
Q: You end your year with a defeat in the semifinals at the Masters. This final false note was not too hard to digest?
Absolutely not. The season was over, and it was the most important. Today, players can take breaks in their season. We, we played all year. We stopped late November and we set off again for a new season at the end of December. It was really hard to bear.
Q: Twenty-seven years later, what is your opinion on this year like no other?
I find it incredible that I could cope with all that, with the pressure to complete the Golden Slam! It is the fulfillment of my career. Although I have never played for records or for the number one ranking, I think I can be satisfied with me.
Will Serena Williams complete the calendar Grand Slam this year?
- Yes (80%, 33 Votes)
- No (20%, 8 Votes)
Total Voters: 41
I spent a great few days at Roland Garros this year, I tried to share my experience live via my new instagram account @tennisbuzzlive, I hope you enjoyed it. Here’s a recap of my Roland Garros 2015 in 15 instagrams.
1- May 21st, my first day at Roland Garros 2015, the third day of the qualifyings. Few people in the alleys, a relaxed atmosphere, a different way to enjoy the Roland Garros stadium before the actual start of the tournament.
2- My first RG15 match: German hope Alexander Zverev vs Igor Sijsling.
3- Defending champion Maria Sharapova hard at work, I really enjoy watching players at practice, interacting with their teams and fans. More pics of Maria Sharapova at Roland Garros 2015.
Following her hard-fought win over Lucie Safarova in the Roland Garros final, Serena Williams posed with her trophy in front of the Eiffel Tower for the delight of the photographs and the fans. A big thanks to Loic for the pics.
Serena Williams road to the final
Much tougher than expected for Serena Williams who rallied four times (!) from one set down to reach the final. The best-ranked player she faced being Sara Errani, seeded 17. Sick in the semifinals, she beat the surprising Swiss Timea Bacsinszky after much drama.
|R1||Andrea Hlavackova||6-2 6-3|
|R2||Anna-Lena Friedsam||5-7 6-3 6-3|
|R3||Victoria Azarenka ||3-6 6-4 6-2|
|R4||Sloane Stephens||1-6 7-5 6-3|
|QF||Sara Errani ||6-1 6-3|
|SF||Timea Bacsinszky ||4-6 6-3 6-0|
Serena will be the huge favorite to lift the trophy on Saturday. That what she said about the pressure to be the player to beat year after year:
It’s not easy. Some days I feel it and the pressure gets to you. It’s kind of hard when you go to every single match and you’re the favourite to win and it’s bigger news when you lose than when you win. But there’s one thing that I learned when I was really young, when I had an opportunity to work with Billie Jean King. She said “Pressure is a privilege”. I’m in a position of privilege to be able to feel that pressure.
Lucie Safarova’s road to the final
|R1||Anastasia Pavlyuchenkova||7-6 7-6|
|R2||Kurumi Nara||6-2 6-0|
|R3||Sabine Lisicki ||6-3 7-6|
|R4||Maria Sharapova ||7-6 6-4|
|QF||Garbine Muguruza ||7-6 6-3|
|SF||Ana Ivanovic ||7-5 7-5|
A Wimbledon semifinalist last year, Lucie Safarova reached her first Grand Slam final without losing a set, an impressive feat when you look at the players she faced: defending champion Maria Sharapova, Sabine Lisicki, Garbine Muguruza… She beat Ana Ivanovic 7-5 7-5 in the semifinals, after an nerve-wrecking end of match. Watch Lucie’s joy after the last point:
A popular player on the WTA tour, Safarova was congratulated by current and former players on Twitter after her victory over Ana Ivanovic in the semifinals:
— A. Pavlyuchenkova (@NastiaPav) June 4, 2015
— Barbara Schett-Eagle (@Babsschett) June 5, 2015
Phew….well done Lucie Safarova…that was so tense at the end. pic.twitter.com/xvmJ5K9rZT
— Jo Durie (@Jodurie) June 4, 2015
Asked if the “good girl” could win the title she said:
I hope so. I think sport should be about fair play. I think people should be nice to each other. Doesn’t matter if it’s in sports or in general. So that’s what I’m trying to do, even here. I have a few good friends on tour. It’s not easy when you play them, but that’s life.
Serena Williams – Lucie Safarova head to head: 8-0
Lucie Safarova has never beaten Serena Williams in eight meetings. Their most disputed match was in fact their first back in 2007, won by Serena 7-6 in the third.
|2014||Beijing R16||Hard||Serena Williams||6-1 1-6 6-2|
|2014||Montreal R16||Hard||Serena Williams||7-5 6-4|
|2013||Charleston QF||Clay||Serena Williams||6-4 6-1|
|2012||Charleston F||Clay||Serena Williams||6-0 6-1|
|2011||Toronto QF||Hard||Serena Williams||4-6 6-3 6-2|
|2009||Toronto QF||Hard||Serena Williams||6-3 6-2|
|2007||Miami R32||Hard||Serena Williams||6-3 6-4|
|2007||Hobart R16||Hard||Serena Williams||6-3 3-6 7-6|
So, epic battle or routine win? Serena or Lucie? Who do you think will win? Please share your thoughts.
I’ll be watching the final at Roland Garros tomorrow and I’ll be rooting for Safarova, hoping she won’t be taken by nerves.
Who will win Roland Garros 2015?
- Serena Williams (43%, 105 Votes)
- Maria Sharapova (30%, 73 Votes)
- Simona Halep (11%, 28 Votes)
- Ana Ivanovic (4%, 10 Votes)
- Eugenie Bouchard (3%, 8 Votes)
- Other (3%, 8 Votes)
- Caroline Wozniacki (2%, 6 Votes)
- Petra Kvitova (2%, 5 Votes)
- Carla Suarez Navarro (1%, 2 Votes)
- Ekaterina Makarova (0%, 1 Votes)
- Andrea Petkovic (0%, 1 Votes)
Total Voters: 247
A few pictures of Serena Williams‘ welcome reception at the Hotel Royal Monceau in Paris:
Many thanks to Loic!