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CanIGetAWhat
Jan 7th, 2008, 02:40 PM
Champion Serena Williams leaving nothing to chance

(Agencies)
Updated: 2008-01-07 10:22

MELBOURNE - When Serena Williams came back out of obscurity to win the Australian Open last year for her eighth grand-slam title, she not only confounded her critics but also surprised herself.

http://www.chinadaily.com.cn/sports/images/attachement/jpg/site1/20080107/0013729ece6b08ebcf141f.jpg (http://www.chinadaily.com.cn/sports/2008-01/07/data/attachement/jpg/site1/20080107/0013729ece6b08ebcece1b.jpg)
Serena Williams and Mardy Fish (not pictured) of the U.S. reacts to a point in their mixed double's against Novak Djokovic and Jelena Jankovic of Serbia during the final of their Hopman Cup mixed team tennis event in Perth January 4, 2008. [Agencies]



Having won the title despite being under-prepared, however, the former world number one arrived in Australia early this year looking fitter than she has in a long time and told Reuters that she wanted to leave nothing to chance this time.

"Last year was cutting it a bit close," Williams said, having begun her season in style by helping the United States to victory in the Hopman Cup, the eight-nation mixed team event held in Perth.

"It definitely pays to be here early. I'm glad I'm here. I have four matches under my belt and I'm definitely excited about that."

Twelve months ago, Williams arrived at Melbourne Park ranked 81st and looking well short of optimum fitness but still walked away with the title, demolishing Maria Sharapova in the final.

But knowing that she can win grand slam titles when she is not fully prepared can be a double-edged sword, Williams said.

"It's definitely been a vice of mine, my biggest vice," said the American, who is now ranked seventh. "I can win without working this hard, it's a blessing and a malediction, so to say.

"(This time) I think I've been training a little more. I am more confident. It's all coming together. I took maybe one week off, if that.

"Other than that I have been training every day. I feel like as long as I play like this, I'll be solid (at Melbourne Park)."

Williams stressed in Perth that she is enjoying her tennis more these days and the way she laughed and joked her way through mixed doubles matches with her partner Mardy Fish at the Hopman Cup suggests a new attitude.

"I started this last year," she said. "Last year I had no pressure on me and I just enjoyed myself and had fun in every match that I played. I like that feeling.

"I put so much pressure on myself because I am a perfectionist, but I realise not everything's going to be perfect in life, there are bumps you have to deal with.

"I wasn't dealing with it last year. I had a court case, eight hours of every day and it was very difficult." Williams, her sister Venus and their father, Richard, were accused of reneging on a deal to play an exhibition match.

She added: "It's hard to sit down for eight hours, sometimes even longer, for over a month. The fact that I didn't have to do that (this year) pretty much explains it (her relaxed attitude)."

When Williams won the title last year, the only top 10 player missing from Melbourne was Belgian Justine Henin, who captured the French and U.S. Open titles later in 2007.

Henin has beaten Williams in their three most recent meetings and will be the favourite for the title in Melbourne, starting on January 14, but Williams said she had another motivation to win the tournament.

Victory at Melbourne Park would take her to nine grand-slam titles, level with Monica Seles, Williams's hero growing up.

"That would be awesome," Williams said.

"She was definitely a big factor. I love her and I think she's a great person. She was my favourite player.

"I'm feeling really match fit and ready. I am never where I want to be. I am getting there. I can't put a percentage on it right now, but I am getting there."

Nemo_Kool
Jan 7th, 2008, 02:49 PM
Yup!!!! Serena is looking healthy and happy and if nothing else that makes me very happy!WOOP WOOP!!! i like ur sig. it was an awesome week last weeek!!!woo!!! i cannot wait for the Oz 1 week 2 go!!!!!!!!!!!

Bijoux0021
Jan 7th, 2008, 02:52 PM
Keep working hard, Serena, you will get there.

serenus_2k8
Jan 7th, 2008, 02:57 PM
Wow , amazing.

She is sooo hyped!

Dino?Dino.Dino!
Jan 7th, 2008, 03:01 PM
I think 2008 is going to be a big year for both Williams sister. It's just something in the way of things.

MrSerenaWilliams
Jan 7th, 2008, 03:01 PM
:bounce: Can't wait :yeah:

doni1212
Jan 7th, 2008, 04:15 PM
The Australian Open needs to start now!!!! :lol:

BuTtErFrEnA
Jan 7th, 2008, 04:26 PM
:) just no huge injuries plz :)

Destiny
Jan 7th, 2008, 04:27 PM
can't wait till the draws

Ryan
Jan 7th, 2008, 04:46 PM
I really like her attitude coming into Melbourne this year. I think in other years she might have shrugged off her lack of fitness in winning the AO last year, but she is very candid about how winning with no preparation isn't exactly a motivator to get fitter. I havent seen any of the Hopman Cup matches so I dont know how she's playing, but I think the other top players should be worried.

50Sense
Jan 7th, 2008, 05:07 PM
This is the first time I've seen Serena admit that she can win without practicing much, and how its a blessing and a curse. This entire article reflects a clarity of thought within her that isn't always apparent. It's refreshing to see that, and I am very excited to see her in this form.

serenus_2k8
Jan 7th, 2008, 05:11 PM
This is the first time I've seen Serena admit that she can win without practicing much, and how its a blessing and a curse. This entire article reflects a clarity of thought within her that isn't always apparent. It's refreshing to see that, and I am very excited to see her in this form.

Agreed!

So when is the draw? Perhaps the confusion in days is due to time difference? For an Aussie it could be friday or thurs night for a Brit? Is it televised? :confused: :confused: :bounce:

serenafan08
Jan 7th, 2008, 05:15 PM
Serena seems focused and anxious to hit the courts this year. That's a great sign, and she's looking fantastic! It's going to be a totally different year from last.

RenaSlam.
Jan 7th, 2008, 05:29 PM
Serena seems refreshed and I think she is going to have a BIG year.

If she can win the AO in the kind of shape she was in last year...I can only imagine what great things she can accomplish with good fitness and preparation. :)

Dodoboy.
Jan 7th, 2008, 07:06 PM
Serena!

ninanina19
Jan 7th, 2008, 07:09 PM
The Australian Open needs to start now!!!! :lol:
I agree.

jujufreak
Jan 7th, 2008, 07:13 PM
"I can win without working this hard, it's a blessing and a malediction, so to say.


it's a malediction when you lack the character to work hard...

hotandspicey
Jan 7th, 2008, 07:14 PM
Nice expression of self! :yeah: Go Rena!!! :bounce:

Mina Vagante
Jan 7th, 2008, 07:21 PM
can't wait till the draws


:o I can:lol:

RenaSlam.
Jan 7th, 2008, 07:21 PM
S. Williams :worship: :worship:

Dodoboy.
Jan 7th, 2008, 07:28 PM
draws are saturday!!...cant wait that long!!

SAEKeithSerena
Jan 7th, 2008, 07:30 PM
amazing article :) best of lucky babydoll

Mrs. Peel
Jan 7th, 2008, 07:58 PM
Love her spirit. She already has started the season strong! Go win the AO08!!!! :bounce:

serenus_2k8
Jan 7th, 2008, 08:02 PM
WoO!!!! :bounce:

Dunlop1
Jan 7th, 2008, 08:09 PM
Good to see her preparing and working hard.

MrSerenaWilliams
Jan 7th, 2008, 08:19 PM
it's a malediction when you lack the character to work hard...

or when you lack the character to go through a match without getting illegally coached :yeah:


Serena's obviously put in the hard work over the off season, so....:shrug: to whom were you referring? :unsure:

dya74
Jan 7th, 2008, 08:30 PM
Well, good to see you in shape, Serena! There are huge probabilities that you lands in the same half of the draw as Henin and Sharapova:bounce:

Diesel
Jan 7th, 2008, 09:41 PM
Love her spirit. She already has started the season strong! Go win the AO08!!!! :bounce:

Win and be Merry! :yeah:

Denise4925
Jan 7th, 2008, 10:25 PM
it's a malediction when you lack the character to work hard...

:lol: Well, we'll defer to you on someone having a lack of character, since being a Justine fan, you should be an expert.

RenaSlam.
Jan 7th, 2008, 10:30 PM
:lol: Well, we'll defer to you on someone having a lack of character, since being a Justine fan, you should be an expert.

Touche. Hopefully the freak learns.

Midnite Surfer
Jan 8th, 2008, 06:26 AM
Well she was fit long before certain other players jumped on the bandwagon. Ahem Pat Etcheberry?

it's a malediction when you lack the character to work hard...

OrdinaryfoolisNJ
Jan 8th, 2008, 06:36 AM
Venus and Serena are looking good this year... I don't know who to route for to take the GS!