PARIS — Serena Williams embodies big-match intensity.

She might lose to unknowns in lesser events and occasionally stumble in the early rounds at majors. But almost never when it counts the most.

In Grand Slam singles and doubles finals, Williams is 33-4 (20-4 and 13-0) – not to mention 4-0 in Olympic gold medal matches.

Yet her mindset as the top seed heading into Wimbledon on Monday – where she can win a fourth consecutive major and keep alive her quest for the first calendar-year Grand Slam in 27 years – could not be more blase.

If you take her at her word.

“I don’t think that’s going to define my career or make or break it,” the No. 1-ranked American said.

Two days after beating Lucie Safarova to win her third French Open and 20th major overall, Williams pooh-poohed the milestone on everyone’s mind. She is 14 matches away. Steffi Graf, in 1988, was the last player to win the Australian Open, French Open, Wimbledon and U.S. Open in a single season. No player had captured the first two legs since Jennifer Capriati in 2001.

Williams, 33, said it would have preoccupied her in seasons past, but she has become so comfortable with her place in history, it matters little.

“I don’t know how this sounds but it’s not on top of my list,” she said, still sniffling from the flu-like illness that nearly derailed her run in Paris. “My list right now is to do well at Wimbledon. And then my list is to do well at the U.S. Open. And then Australia.”

Williams, clad in shorts and an orange-and-white top with her Yorkshire terrier, Chip, nestled in her arms, added:

“I don’t really think, nor am I overly concerned about, winning a Grand Slam at this stage of my career. I think five years ago, yeah. Ten years ago, yeah, it might have. Now I’ve got enough. I don’t need a Grand Slam to define my career whereas maybe a few years ago if I didn’t have 20 Grand Slams then I would have needed that.”

It makes sense that Wimbledon – the last leg in her pursuit of the self-styled “Serena slam” – where one player holds all four major titles but not in the same calendar year – remains her immediate focus. Since winning her most recent trophy at the All England Club in 2012, the London lawns have been her least successful major. Last year she crashed out in the third round.

“I just consistently do terrible there, so that is the one I really want to do well. To be perfectly honest, I’ve never really liked grass and I don’t know how I did so well on it,” she said. “I had done well for so long in the beginning of my career and now it’s just been like kinda shaky.”

The Serena slam – which Williams achieved in 2002-03 when she beat her sister Venus Williams in four consecutive finals – isn’t the only thing at stake at Wimbledon, where Czech Petra Kvitova and Novak Djokovic of Serbia are defending champions. A sixth Wimbledon championship would move Williams within one major of Graf’s Open era record of 22. She’ll also be one title shy of taking all four majors in the same calendar year, a feat that hasn’t been repeated since Graf clinched all four in 1988 plus Olympic gold. Rod Laver of Australia was the last man to do so, in 1969.

Still, Williams doesn’t act like she’s simply icing her career cake. Though she is 32-1 in 2015, many of her matches have been drama-filled episodes where she has fallen behind, looked far from her best, then lifted to another level and willed herself to victory.

She has bellowed “C’mons!”, littered courtside mikes with F-bombs, and pleaded to the heavens and to her box, all in an effort to get her game on track.

She plays Margarita Gasparyan of Russia in the opening round and may face her sister Venus in the fourth round. Slam or not, Williams is better than ever and more distant from the field than at any time in her career.

In 61 tournaments since June 2011, she has captured 30 titles, seven majors and compiled a .924 winning percentage (242-20). In the same number of tournaments prior to being sidelined, she won 11 titles, six majors and owned a .800 winning clip (180-45).

Her late-career success is the latest plot twist in a story of convention-breaking feats since she and Venus emerged from Compton, California, in the mid-1990s.

Now Serena returns to Wimbledon on the heels of another mini-comeback. When she departed London a year ago, she had failed to advance past the fourth round in three previous majors. And no exit was more bizarre than in London. Three days after a singles loss, a dazed Serena flailed around the court in a doubles match with Venus before retiring. Speculation about what ailed her was rampant. But Williams rebounded as only she can.

As Serena arrives in London again, her rivals have aided her domination. Reigning Wimbledon champion Petra Kvitova of the Czech Republic, ranked No. 2, has struggled with her health and top form. The 2011 and 2014 Wimbledon champion withdrew from this week’s warm-up event at Eastbourne with an illness.

Last year’s finalist, Eugenie Bouchard, and 2012 runner-up Agnieszka Radwanska are mired in slumps. Third-ranked Simona Halep and No. 5 Caroline Wozniacki have yet to approach last season’s levels.

Then there’s Maria Sharapova. The five-time Grand Slam champion from Russia, who shocked Serena in the 2004 Wimbledon final, hasn’t beaten her in more than a decade and is 2-17 overall.

“No one really pushes her,” said former No. 1 Justine Henin of Belgium, who was 4-3 against Williams at majors. “A few girls took some sets but it seems like even mentally it’s still very hard for the girls to go to the next step.”

The 5-foot-6 Henin, who retired at 28 in 2011, is impressed by Serena’s longevity, durability and motivation. She said Graf’s Open-era mark of 22 majors and Margaret Smith Court’s all-time record of 24 are “in danger.”

“Serena has the physical capacity to be there a long time,” said Henin, a seven-time major winner. “Mentally it looks like she wants to be.”

Like the ageless Martina Navratilova, who advanced to the 1994 Wimbledon final at age 37, Serena is leaving no stone unturned as she winds down her career.

Three years ago, she went outside her close-knit family for coaching help and enlisted Frenchman Patrick Mouratoglou. She sharpened her diet and attitude. She stepped up her off-court fitness with fitness guru Mackie Shilstone.

With Mouratoglou, Serena has won seven of the last 12 majors and become a more well-rounded player at a time when most are fading away.

“What’s most impressive is that he really has a way to motivate me,” said Serena.

But with age comes new challenges. In Australia, Serena spoke of battling nerves in surviving wobbly matches on her way to a sixth Melbourne title in January. At Roland Garros, she battled through five three-set matches, her most at a major.

“It’s not her best level but good enough to almost not lose a match for six months,” said Mouratoglou. “I’m OK with that.”

“On paper she should just breeze though every Wimbledon,” said 18-time major winner Chris Evert.

Serena is proud to hold three majors with a shot for a fourth – 12 years after she first ran the table in a non-calendar year. “Those kind of feats mean a lot to me,” she said.

Maybe she has hit on the right formula, paradoxical as it seems on the surface.

She can tell herself it’s all gravy now, and as long as she avoids the pitfall of disengaging too much of her ego, she can relax.