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Serena inspired by boxing great Ali

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MOSCOW (Reuters) - Serena Williams, winner of eight grand slam tennis titles, says she has been inspired by her fellow American, boxing great Muhammad Ali.

After beating top-seeded Russian Svetlana Kuznetsova in straight sets on Saturday to reach her first Kremlin Cup final, the former world number one revealed the secrets of her graceful movements on court.

When a Russian reporter told Williams that she reminded him of Ali’s famous phrase ‘Float like a butterfly, sting like a bee’, she smiled and said: “I love Mohammed Ali and I live by the same principles, that’s why nobody’s going to mess with me.”

Another reporter took up the boxing theme with the Australian Open champion, asking her if she would watch American challenger Evander Holyfield taking on Russian title holder Sultan Ibragimov in the heavyweight championship fight in Moscow later on Saturday.

“Well, I love boxing and I would love to see him (Holyfield) fight,” she said. “I know him as I’ve met him once but unfortunately I can’t go, it’s just too late.”

Williams plays another Russian, Elena Dementieva, in Sunday’s final.