Overseas stars relax before Australian Open
By JACKIE EPSTEIN and SANDRA PETERSON
Posted on 5 January 2003 (+7GMT)
Testing the water: Serena Williams chilled out in the pool before her match-winning performance against Lleyton Hewitt and Alicia Molik in the Hopman Cup final yesterday.
Picture: Alf Sorbello
Tennis's big guns are preparing to gather in Melbourne for the Australian Open and women's No. 1 Serena Williams is already making a big splash.
Williams, 21, cut a stunning figure relaxing by the pool before she and fellow American James Blake beat Australia's Lleyton Hewitt and Alicia Molik 3-0 in yesterday's Hopman Cup final in Perth.
And at Melbourne Airport, Andre Agassi looked every bit the contented family man as he arrived with son Jaden Gill, 15 months, and wife Steffi Graf.
Williams, dressed in a white halter-neck bikini and elaborate belly-button jewellery, showed off her remarkable physique as she relaxed with members of her entourage, including sister Lyndrea Price and niece Justus Bobbitt. But there was no sign of her mother, Oracene, who is also travelling with her daughter.
When the French, Wimbledon and US Open champion wasn't chatting on her mobile phone, she took a brief dip with Justus, had Lyndrea rub lotion on her back, brushed her hair and asked her friends what she looked like in a silky head scarf.
But while she's supremely confident on court, Williams was a little less certain in the water -- despite Perth's 36C-degree day.
Earlier Williams went hunting for clothes in a ritzy Perth shopping strip and was happy to talk to fans.
She will arrive in Melbourne today.
Meanwhile seven times grand slam tournament winner Agassi, 32, looked relaxed after his flight and told fans he felt good.
He arrived at Tullamarine just before 11am and will start preparations for the Australian Open at a traditional lead-up tournament -- the Commonwealth Bank International, which starts at Kooyong on Wednesday.
It is Agassi's first trip to Australia since he abruptly ended his bid for a third successive Australian Open title the night before the tournament was due to begin last year.
Agassi said he had aggravated an old wrist injury against Pete Sampras in the Commonwealth Bank final at Kooyong. Sampras has withdrawn from this year's Kooyong event.
Other confirmed competitors in the Commonwealth Bank International include Mark Philippoussis, Thomas Johansson, Sebastien Grosjean -- who also arrived in Melbourne yesterday -- Alex Corretja, Andrei Pavel and Richard Gasquet