Tennis: No regrets over ratings slump, says Serena
13 minutes ago
Seven-time Grand Slam champion Serena Williams says she does not regret her ratings freefall which has left her precariously placed entering next week's Australian Open.
The two-time Australian Open winner is unseeded after finishing an injury-riddled 2006 ranked 95 and goes into the season's opening Grand Slam facing a queue of seeded players through the opening week.
The 25-year-old American, once the most feared player in women's tennis with her powerful groundstrokes, shapes up to Italian 27th seed Mara Santangelo in her opening match.
She has a potential third-round match with fifth seed Nadia Petrova, followed by possible showdowns with the in-form Jelena Jankovic and third seed Svetlana Kuznetsova in her quarter of the draw.
Williams played only 16 matches last season and this week's Hobart International was her first tournament back from knee surgery since the US Open last September.
She was was eliminated in the Hobart quarter-finals by Austrian Sybille Bammer, 3-6, 7-5, 6-3.
Williams is philosophical about her standing in the game heading into the new season.
"I definitely think I wouldn't be ranked where I am right now. I don't regret anything that's happened to me," Williams told a press conference here Saturday.
"When I did get injured and I had surgery, I did things I would have never been able to do, like spending time with my family, spending time with my sisters. I wouldn't give that up for anything.
"It was just a learning experience. I've been able to spend some time that I've never been able to get back or never be able to have again.
"I welcome the challenge of being where I am. I just think mentally I'm in a different place. I'm excited to be playing, just to be travelling again, more than anything."
Williams believes her three matches in Hobart have given her a good start to regaining full match fitness.
"I thought it was awesome. I played three solid matches, like eight sets. So it worked out good," she said.
"I'm glad that I started out there and didn't start out here. It was definitely a good decision on my behalf."
Williams said she missed playing tennis and in turn tennis missed her.
"I would be kind of pontificating if I said I think tennis needs me. But I think we work together," she said.
"I think tennis needs me. I think I need tennis. I think I'm happiest playing tennis. I love to be on the court. I love walking out in the crowd. I love the competition. I think it works both ways."
"I definitely expect to play a full schedule this year. Physically, I'm feeling nice."
Asked how she felt that there was no seeded American woman in the Australian draw, Williams said: "It won't happen again, at least as long as I'm playing. I'll try to make sure it doesn't happen any more. I take the blame for that."
Sister Venus, who has won five Grand Slams, has also been by riddled with injuries and has pulled out of the Open with a wrist injury.