WIMBLEDON, England — When Serena Williams completed her first-round Olympic victory, the tall spectator in the front row near the Royal Box rose, smiled and added her lusty applause to the roar from the Centre Court crowd.
Michelle Obama liked what she saw Saturday at Wimbledon. The first lady sat with Williams’ family during the 6-3, 6-1 victory over former No. 1 Jelena Jankovic of Serbia.
Williams met with Obama after the match.
“Before, I would have been too nervous,” Williams said. “We talked about how I loved her dress. She’s always looking good.”
Williams looked good, too, picking up where she left off three weeks earlier, when she won her fifth Wimbledon title.
Crowds were smaller than for Wimbledon, with stands on the outer courts less than half full at the start of play. Centre Court was almost at capacity for Williams’ match, although four of the six rows in the Royal Box were empty at one point.
To the left sat Obama, who sometimes chatted between points with Williams’ sister Venus. Serena had met the first lady before and was advised she would be in attendance.
“They asked me did I mind if she sat in the family box,” Williams said. ”I was like, `Of course not. Please, it would be my honor.’ I mean, I love Michelle.”
As was the case during Wimbledon, Williams won with a dominating serve. She hit eight aces against Jankovic, lost only 10 service points and faced no break points.
The winner of 14 major titles and two gold medals in Olympic doubles, Williams said the incentive to win the singles is different from a Grand Slam event.
“Let’s face it, tennis players play to win Wimbledon,” she said. “We play to win Australia. We play to win the U.S. Open. The Olympics is a bonus. So sometimes you get the bonus; sometimes you don’t.”