Dominic Massa / Eyewitness News
NEW ORLEANS -- Local fitness guru Mackie Shilstone was once again one of Serena Williams’ weapons in her fight to reclaim a singles title at Wimbledon Saturday, helping her train for this comeback as he has for many years.
The renowned fitness trainer, who has worked with Williams since 2008, said that in light of Williams’ health issues in recent years, her victory Saturday was even more exciting.
“It's an incredible win, especially when you look at her and you see where she came from, from a pulmonary embolism which could have killed her,” he told Eyewitness News.
“All the training that we did – including working in the pool to improve oxygen function – everything that she's gone through, I could just see the emotion come out,” Shilstone said of the win.
"She's an incredible human being,” said Shilstone, who is based at East Jefferson General Hospital and has worked with top athletes locally and nationally for years.
Williams won her fifth singles title on Saturday, beating Agnieszka Radwanska. Then five hours later, she and her sister Venus Williams were back on Centre Court to beat Czech duo Andrea Hlavackova and Lucie Hradecka 7-5, 6-4 in the doubles final. It was their fifth Wimbledon doubles title together.
Both sisters have battled health issues over the last two years, with Venus having been diagnosed with an energy-sapping illness and Serena overcoming blood clots in her lungs and two operations after cutting her feet on glass in 2010.
Serena was the last woman to win both the singles and doubles titles at Wimbledon, in 2009.
"It's a story of dedication, perseverance and discipline and not willing to cave in,” explained Shilstone.
-- with reporting by Tania Dall and material from Associated Press