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Jackson ultimate celebrity to Serena

June 27, 2009 02:43 IST

Twice Wimbledon champion Serena Williams hailed Michael Jackson on Friday as "the celebrity of all celebrities" and said she was not worthy of having her name mentioned in the same sentence as the late singer.

Questions about Serena's form were few and far between in her latest post-match news conference at the All England Club.

All reporters wanted to know was what she thought of fellow American Jackson, who died suddenly on Thursday aged 50.

"I think any celebrity who met Michael Jackson was completely in awe. I know I was. I kept thinking, 'Oh my God, Oh my God, it's him, it's him'. So for me he was the celebrity of all celebrities," she said.

Asked if she saw any parallels between former child star Jackson and the Williams sisters, Venus and Serena, because they all started so young she added: "I wouldn't even mention my name and his in the same sentence".


Serena said Jackson had not just been an inspiration to black people.

"Michael Jackson goes way beyond the black community. I mean everyone of every colour, every nation, every race is Michael Jackson's fan. The guy literally couldn't walk the streets."

For five times Wimbledon champion Roger Federer, the most abiding memory of Jackson was one from his own childhood.

"Back maybe in '88 or ;89, he came to Basel," Federer recalled. "I was outside of the stadium because there was such excitement that he would come.

"I was still very young. I think I went there with my sister and we just listened from the outside."

Former world number one Andy Roddick said on his Twitter feed: "Oh my lord... Michael Jackson died... RIP sad and surreal. Regardless of what you think of him he was completely revolutionary and will be missed."

Tracy Austin, once a teenage tennis prodigy, said:

"He was an incredible talent, an incredible singer and an incredible dancer. It's along the lines of when Elvis passed away and everybody will remember where they were when they heard the news".

Paul Majendie
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