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Modiac.
Jan 14th, 2006, 11:02 AM
From AO's official site
Williams Adds Bling to Open Banter
by Amanda Buivids
Saturday, 14 January, 2006


She may well be hovering three places outside the top 10 and trailing older sister Venus in the rankings, however, Australian Open defending champion Serena Williams looked every part a world No.1 on the eve of this year's event.

Despite her first non-top 10 finish in seven years, the 24-year-old declared herself fully fit and prepared for her seventh Australian Open appearance.

Wearing a bright green T-shirt, two sparkling fuschia pendants and lip gloss from her fashion-line, Williams looked, acted and exuded the confidence of the woman who held aloft the Daphne Akhurst Memorial Cup 12 months ago.

"I've had more time to prepare this year. I've had more time to prepare mentally and much more physically," she said at a media conference at Melbourne Park on Saturday.

"My preparation has been pretty cool I've been here almost a week.

"As long as I don't beat myself, I'll be okay."

Since her arrival in Australia, the world No.13 has attracted unsavory attention about her fitness - particularly after her lengthy injury lay-off in 2005 and withdrawal from last week's Hong Kong exhibition tournament.

She was the butt of jokes following the publication of a series of less-than-flattering newspaper photographs of her and Venus exercising along Melbourne's Yarra River.

"I saw one (photograph) of me running. And I was like, wow, my hamstring muscle is that big? I had no idea my muscle was like that," she laughed.

On a serious note, though, the former world No.1 confirmed she was very much focused on the forthcoming fortnight.

"It's usually just one match at a time for me. That's the only way I look at it," she said.

"That's how I've looked at it since day one. If I didn't like my chances of winning, I wouldn't be here.

"If I didn't expect to do well here, I wouldn't be here. :D It would be better for me to be on the beach, St Baarts, jet skis. It would be much easier."

Despite her carefree response to fitness concerns, she sounded a warning to anyone who questioned her preparation for the first Grand Slam of 2006.

"That's cool with me that's fine because then people will be like 'Okay, she won't be able to run'. That's a great position to be in."

Setting goals has been part of Willams' repertoire since emerging on the world stage with her first Grand Slam singles title - the US Open - in 1999.

With career prize money totaling more than $US15 million, seven singles Grand Slam titles and 26 career tour titles etched in her scrapbooks, Williams is determined to reclaim the No.1 crown that she first held in July 2002.

The 2005 Australian Open title was the only career high point in an injury-curtailed season.

Plagued by ankle and knee injuries, the fashion design student won only 14 matches from nine events following the Open, reached only one semi-final and failed to qualify for the season-ending championships for the first time since 1998.

"I've always criticised Pete Sampras for saying, you know, he wanted to win lots of Grand Slams," she said on Saturday.

"It was like 'Don't you want to be the best?' I definitely want to be No.1 in the world. I can understand what he's saying because there is nothing like winning a Grand Slam. Both the goals are definitely what I want to do, but it all starts with winning the Slams first."

The confident American plays Na Li from China in her first round match. The pair will clash in the opening Twilight Session on Rod Laver Arena.

Na Li is one of seven Chinese players to make the final 128 in the women's singles draw.

With a singles ranking of 57, the 172cm right-hander reached her second career tour singles final in 2005 and briefly held the position as China's highest-ranked woman in tour history.

A semi-finalist in Hobart, Rabat and Bali and a doubles-semi-finalist in Rabat with Australia's Nicole Pratt, Li will be keen to consolidate her form at the elite level after missing the French Open with an ankle injury and Wimbledon because of commitments in the Chinese national championships.

She reached the third round of the 2005 Australian Open, defeated by Russian Maria Sharapova 0-6 2-6.

"I've always said, everyone talks about the Russians :tape: , and I've always thought the Chinese have a great slew of players coming up," Williams said.

"There are so many Chinese players right now. Not only are they in the draw, but they are actually doing well. I'm going to have to be really ready for the match. I'm definitely not under-estimating my opponent at all."

While Serena Williams wore the confidence and bling of her budding fashion and jewellery empire, Venus, too, was happy with her approach to this year's Open.

Ranked three spots higher than her younger sister, Venus is also keen to begin 2006 as a winner - and as Australian Open champion.

"I think I have a decent chance. My whole thing is I'm not thinking about the final right now. I'm so totally focused on the first round, that's my main goal now. Then it will be round two. I'm not taking it too fast," she said.

"At the end of the day, it's always an even playing field. You don't win a match until it's over. You don't win the tournament until it's over. I think it's important not be over-confident. I think that can be a big flaw, a big downfall. I mean, we all saw what happened to Macbeth. You've got to be careful."

The 25-year-old, who claimed the world No.1 crown in February 2002, enters this year's Open at No.10 - a career ranking she believes she will improve on over the next 15 days.

"Hey, in my head, I'm always a champ. I won't usurp anyone's position, anyone ahead of me. They're obviously worked hard to get to that number. So right now I'm going to work on moving up my ranking you guys all know what number I feel I am "

Venus Williams meets Bulgaria's Tzvetana Pironkova in her opening round match. A member of the Bulgarian Fed Cup team in 2005, Pironkova, 18, makes her first appearance on the Rebound Ace at Melbourne Park.

Ranked 88 in the world, Pironkova has met Venus Williams on just the one occasion - losing in straight sets in May last year in a semi-final at a Tier 111 tournament in Istanbul, Turkey.

Modiac.
Jan 14th, 2006, 11:15 AM
it seems that her form is not so bad as we expected.~

Sam L
Jan 14th, 2006, 11:16 AM
Let's go Serena. She's here to win. :clap2:

Portobello
Jan 14th, 2006, 11:16 AM
she's right!!

every1 did expect to do well ;)

Slumpsova
Jan 14th, 2006, 12:52 PM
i hope you know what you saying. go Serena :yeah:

So Disrespectful
Jan 14th, 2006, 01:01 PM
Photo- http://www.australianopen.com/images/pics/large/b_swilliams_0112.jpg

She really looks ready. I think we underestimated her.

jenny161185
Jan 14th, 2006, 01:16 PM
interesting Ive only seen one or two pictures but If she s been there a week Id say she s pretty prepared , she can play herself intot the tournament too

avocadoe
Jan 14th, 2006, 01:22 PM
love that color on her...go Serena...go Venus....

Bezz
Jan 14th, 2006, 01:28 PM
She says that now, lets just wait till she loses.

diekedelver
Jan 14th, 2006, 01:49 PM
Rena :D

shava
Jan 14th, 2006, 02:05 PM
bad news...

Bounty Hunter
Jan 14th, 2006, 02:12 PM
Ok sweetheart, I'm with you all the way no matter what..... I want to see you lifting the winners trophy on January 28th!! :worship:

jrm
Jan 14th, 2006, 02:39 PM
Same as Wimbledon 05???

October
Jan 14th, 2006, 03:02 PM
Come on SERENA! thats the confidence (inspite of being injured and out for many days :sad: !!) But i hink she stands a chance to win the Oz open. All the luck to her.

Geisha
Jan 14th, 2006, 03:04 PM
Terrible news for Na Li...and everybody else.

Keep rockin', girl!

Williams Rulez
Jan 14th, 2006, 03:11 PM
Oh, i love her confidence... Come on Serena! Defend yr title! :)

new-york
Jan 14th, 2006, 03:15 PM
Go Girls.

Diesel
Jan 14th, 2006, 04:59 PM
She says that now, lets just wait till she loses.

All that negative wishing and hoping. Sad.

No Name Face
Jan 14th, 2006, 05:09 PM
Well if I get a LenaD/Serena quarterfinal, that'll just suck. But I want her to do well here...if not win it. That way, she can work her ranking back up to where it belongs.

pisces
Jan 14th, 2006, 05:17 PM
Serena ,you won 7 slams, etc etc.You don"t had to say athing?Just have Fun!Enjoy yourself.Venus you too!

Myggen
Jan 15th, 2006, 03:32 AM
She doesn't seem fit to me, and she will have to run against Na Li, so let's see how she handles that. And of course she had to put in the "As long as I don't beat myself, I'll be okay." insurance to have an excuse if she makes a complete ass out of herself. In her mind she will always be unbeatable. By others, that is. If she loses, she is always losing to herself. Such crap...

ceiling_fan
Jan 15th, 2006, 03:41 AM
I think Serena is right. What a blow to her reputation if she falls in the first round at a tournament she has had great succes at?

We are only fans, and if we think that Serena will lose badly here, don't you think Serena HERSELF, would know that also? I think she knows what she is or isn't capable of more than us.

Mother_Marjorie
Jan 15th, 2006, 04:02 AM
Its good that Serena ignores the tabloids. She is that special type of champion that believes in herself regardless of the negativity lumped upon her.

She's still young and has already won 7 Grand Slam titles.

Hoping Serena has a great Australian Open!

harloo
Jan 15th, 2006, 04:04 AM
Good Luck Serena! Win or Lose I still love you!:kiss: