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post #1 of 109 (permalink) Old Nov 21st, 2003, 08:46 PM Thread Starter
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Australian Open 2004

Williams sisters will return to tennis at Australian Open

Williams sisters will return to tennis at Australian Open
Nov. 20, 2003
SportsLine.com wire reports

NEW YORK -- The Williams sisters said Thursday they will return to tournament tennis at the Australian Open in January.

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Both Serena and Venus Williams sat out the U.S. Open and WTA Championships after playing in the finals at Wimbledon. Serena had surgery on her left knee and Venus was sidelined by a pulled stomach muscle.

"I feel great," Venus said. "It just took time and rest to get better."

Serena won the Wimbledon final against Venus -- the fifth time in six Grand Slams that the sisters met for the title -- and then underwent surgery Aug. 1.

"I'm feeling stronger," she said. "It's getting better. I'll play some exhibitions in Australia before the Open."

The Williams sisters were selling french fries at a Manhattan restaurant to raise money for Ronald McDonald House Charities as part of World Children's Day.

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post #2 of 109 (permalink) Old Nov 21st, 2003, 08:48 PM
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I really hope that Williams will come back @ the Aussie


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post #3 of 109 (permalink) Old Nov 30th, 2003, 12:16 PM
 
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That fantastic both will be playing

Hopefully another all Williams final
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post #4 of 109 (permalink) Old Dec 8th, 2003, 12:38 PM
 
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If Not An All-williams Final... Then The Sisters Meeting In One Semi-final... That's All There Is At The Australian Open 2004!!!!
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post #5 of 109 (permalink) Old Dec 16th, 2003, 01:10 PM Thread Starter
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Agassi and Williams to defend Australian Open titles




MELBOURNE, Australia (AFP) - Americans Andre Agassi and Serena Williams (news - web sites) will defend their titles at next month's Australian Open (news - web sites), Tennis Australia said.

Williams, who has not played since winning Wimbledon (news - web sites) in July, is on the mend after surgery last August to repair a partial tear in her left quadriceps tendon.

Agassi faces a big challenge to win a fifth Australian Open with three first-time Grand Slam winners in world No.1 Andy Roddick, Roger Federe (2) and Juan Carlos Fererro (3), all out to add to their success in 2003.

Only three of the women's top 100 have not signed up to play in Melbourne -- Iroda Tulyaganova (world ranked 50) and Virginie Razzano (71) because of injury -- and four-time Australian Open winner Monica Seles (60).

The year's first Grand Slam takes place at Melbourne Park from January 19 to February 1.

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post #6 of 109 (permalink) Old Dec 22nd, 2003, 08:24 PM Thread Starter
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Sunday, December 21

Serena withdraws from mixed team event

--------------------------------------------------------------------------------
Associated Press


PERTH, Australia -- Serena Williams has delayed her scheduled return to competitive tennis to concentrate on preparations for the Australian Open.


Williams, the No. 3 player in the world, has not played a tournament since winning Wimbledon in July. She had knee surgery on Aug. 1 and early last month said she had recovered well.


Hopman Cup director Paul McNamee said Williams withdrew from the mixed teams exhibition tournament to focus on her preparation for the Australian Open, which starts Jan. 19.


Williams had agreed to partner with James Blake at the Hopman Cup to defend the title the pair won last year.


McNamee said world Lindsay Davenport would replace Williams in the United States team.

"Serena regrets not being able to come back and defend her title, but we have a wonderful replacement in Lindsay Davenport," McNamee said.


Williams had a 38-3 record in 2003 and won the Australian Open and Wimbledon titles. She was a semifinalist at the French Open, then missed the U.S. Open after having surgery on her left knee.


Her sister Venus has also not played since losing the Wimbledon final.


Venus strained an abdominal muscle in late April. The injury flared up in the Wimbledon semifinals, and she was in obvious pain playing her sister in the final.


She said last month she was on course to play a tuneup event before the Australian Open.

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post #7 of 109 (permalink) Old Jan 2nd, 2004, 08:29 PM Thread Starter
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Serena's hungry to get back on top
Recovered from injury, her aim is to be No. 1 again




After successful knee surgery last August, Serena Williams
will be driven in 2004 to reestablish herself as the most dominant
player in women's tennis, says Tracy Austin of NBCSports.com.

COMMENTARY

By Tracy Austin
NBC Sports
Updated: 9:09 p.m. ET Dec. 30, 2003


The WTA tour will serve up great competition in 2004 as Belgians Justine Henin-Hardenne and Kim Clijsters, each having risen to the top of the sport in 2003, battle for the No. 1 ranking against Serena and Venus Williams, the two most dominant players in women's tennis, both of whom are coming off injuries that sidelined them since last summer.

SERENA'S MOTIVATED
Serena did not play again after winning Wimbledon, for her second major of 2003 as she also captured the Australian Open.
A partial tear in the mid-portion of her quadriceps tendon of her left knee required surgery on Aug. 1.

Overall, Serena was 38-3 last season, but her injury wound up ending her 57-week reign as the world No. 1 when Clijsters claimed the top spot on Aug. 11 after she won a tournament in Los Angeles.
With Venus Williams also injured for the second half of 2003, Clijsters and Henin-Hardenne eclipsed the Williams sisters for the spotlight in women's tennis.

Serena, ranked No. 3 to start 2004, wants that spotlight back as I don't think falling from No. 1 in the world sits too well with her. Serena likes the attention that comes with being top-ranked and that will fuel her desire to get back to No. 1. She is going to start 2004 fresh, eager -- and I think -- very hungry.

The key question is how quickly can Serena get her game back to where it was before she was injured?
Upon returning from a serious injury, most players have to deal with the impact on their tennis of a lack of match play while they were sidelined. A player can take part in many practice matches, but it's not the same as playing tournament matches.

One thing I've noticed with both Serena and Venus is that they are able to get back in a groove pretty quickly after layoffs from competition.
With most players that process takes considerable time, but not with the Williams sisters.

I can't bet against Serena finishing 2004 as No. 1 in the world.

VENUS ALSO RECOVERED
Like Serena, Venus last played at Wimbledon, where she lost to her younger sister in the final.
She sat out the rest of the season due to a strained abdominal muscle that hampered her since late April.
Venus ended 2003 ranked No. 11, the first time since 1997 that she was not in the top five.

With her stomach muscle healed, I think she will be ready for the new season, but if that nagging injury returns, her game suffers as she is unable to deliver her big, booming serve that is such a huge weapon in her game.

Venus needs to get back to the level at which she can win majors. After that she can turn her focus towards beating her Serena, who has won all five of their meetings in Grand Slam finals.

BELGIANS ARE FORMIDABLE
Henin-Hardenne is ranked No. 1 for a reason as in 2003 her game rose a couple of levels and she won the French Open and the U.S. Open. The 21-year-old is on a complete high and she has tons of confidence.

Henin-Hardenne has been training for 2004 in Florida with strength and conditioning coach Pat Etcheberry, who in the past has been the fitness guru for other world-class players like Pete Sampras, Andre Agassi, Jim Courier and Jennifer Capriati.
Henin-Hardenne has gotten so much stronger and she is super fit, two prime reasons why her tennis has elevated so much.

Like Henin-Hardenne, Clijsters' play improved tremendously last season and she spent some time as the No. 1-ranked player.
The 20-year-old ended 2003 as the world No. 2 after reaching the semifinals at 20 out of 21 WTA Tour tournaments. She successfully defended her Tour Championships title by winning the season-ending event last November.

Clijsters has not yet won a major, which is a goal of hers in 2004.

TWO CAREERS AT THE CROSSROADS
Jennifer Capriati, ranked No. 6 to start 2004, faces a pivotal season. Her loss to Henin-Hardenne in the semifinals of the U.S. Open, where she was two points from winning the match 10 times, I think has been psychologically tough on her. Also, shoulder and hip injuries contributed to a disappointing fall for Capriati.

It will be important to guage Capriati's desire in 2004. At 27, is she still willing to put in all the hard work needed to be in top physical condition?

Capriati has won only two tournaments over the last two seasons. She still has the game to give the other top players fits, but she is not winning titles, something she would like very much to change in 2004.

A nerve condition neuroma in Lindsay Davenport's left foot, which began in the fall of 2002, finally forced the American to have surgery on Oct. 15. Davenport told me at the end of November that her foot feels so much better since the operation.

Last July at Wimbledon, Davenport hinted she might be considering retirement, but in talking to her late in the year, I think she is hungry to compete again and gearing towards what she hopes will be a solid and injury-free 2004 season.

The 27-year-old strikes the ball as well as anyone and she has a huge serve, but she needs to be in top physical condition to help her cover ground on the court because she's not as quick as the Williams sisters or the two top Belgians.

Confidence will be a key for Davenport as she must remember she has won three majors and has the weapons to play with the best.

MAURESMO AND SHARAPOVA
Amelie Mauresmo of France, ranked No. 4 to start 2004, is someone I feel can still take out any of the top players on a given day. She has all the shots, but she isn't consistent in her play.

With all her talent, I keep expecting Mauresmo to have a breakout season, but that hasn't yet happened and some are wondering if it ever will.

All the other top players respect Mauresmo because she has come up with big wins, but never knowing what to expect from her match to match makes her the most enigmatic player on the WTA tour.

Maria Sharapova of Russia ended 2003 ranked No. 32 and her star continues to rise at a meteoric pace. She was ranked No. 186 at the end of 2002.

The 16-year-old is feeling more comfortable on the tour after winning two singles titles in 2003 (Tokyo and Qubec City). She doesn't lack confidence and she has great weapons so I expect big things from her as she gains more experience.

Sharapova belongs in the top 20 and could very well get there in 2004.

2003 MSNBC Interactive

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post #8 of 109 (permalink) Old Jan 8th, 2004, 01:38 PM Thread Starter
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Clijsters off on the wrong foot
By Scott Coghlan and Chip Le Grand
January 08, 2004
The Australian Open preparations of world No.2 Kim Clijsters are in disarray after she injured an ankle at the Hopman Cup yesterday.

Clijsters' injury further adds to the intrigue surrounding the women's singles at Melbourne Park, with many of the key players suffering interrupted preparations.

Perth tennis fans who turned out in record numbers for yesterday's much-anticipated "love match" were left disappointed when Clijsters was forced out of the mixed teams tournament.

In front of a record Hopman Cup crowd of 8564, the Belgian injured her ankle during a lengthy singles match with Alicia Molik.

The 20-year-old complained of acute soreness and immediately left the Burswood Dome to have preliminary scans.

Tournament director Paul MacNamee, who is also Australian Open chief executive, was cautiously optimistic about Clijsters playing at Melbourne Park. However she is in doubt for next week's Adidas International.

"Kim went for an MRI," MacNamee said.

"We've just the report from Dr Peter Steel, who is medical director for the tournament, and Kim jarred her ankle late in the match.

"The MRI shows bruising on the bone at the back of the ankle joint.

"Kim needs a combination of rest and treatment.

"She does need to withdraw from the Hopman Cup. It will be re-assessed in the next 24 to 48 hours with regards to whether she could play next week in Sydney.

"The medical advice is such that they are cautiously optimistic that she'll be okay for the Australian Open.

"There is some optimism there – if it was more serious she would be out of everything."

Clijsters' injury further opens the door for countrywoman and world No.1 Justin Henin-Hardenne to add the first grand slam of the year to the French Open and US Open titles she won last year.

The Williams sisters, Serena and Venus, are coming off long injury lay-offs and fellow American Lindsay Davenport has admitted she is underdone after surgery in October.

Jennifer Capriati, twice a winner in Melbourne, has pulled out of a Hong Kong event next week because of a back problem.

Jelena Dokic's summer campaign is also in doubt after she withdrew from this week's ASB Classic in Auckland due to personal problems.

As the casualties mount ahead of this month's Australian Open, last year's champion Serena Williams has dismissed speculation that she is in any doubt to defend her title.

Williams has been absent from the professional circuit for six months with a knee injury and following her withdrawal from this week's Hopman Cup, will go into the opening round of the Australian Open – which starts on January 19 – stone cold from competition.

But Carlos Flemming, the manager of both Williams sisters, said the former world No.1 was determined to make her long-awaited return at the first grand slam of the year.

"She is planning to play," Flemming said from Hong Kong, where Venus Williams is playing an invitational tournament.

"She is practising, she is doing everything she can to prepare herself for the Australian Open and in talking to Serena, I haven't heard anything to the contrary.

"She won it last year and she wants to come back and defend her title. At this point, she is not considering not playing."

Flemming's comments will come as some relief to Australian Open organisers, who yesterday watched Clijsters hobble off the court in Perth. Both Clijsters and Williams have featured heavily in their advertising campaigns.

Despite not having hit a ball in anger since her Wimbledon triumph last year, Williams remains one of the world's most marketable female athletes, as evidenced by a five-year, $US40 million endorsement contract signed last month with Nike.

While Venus competes in Hong Kong, Serena will continue her preparation on the family's practice courts in Florida. A wild-card is available for her to enter next week's Adidas International in Sydney but tournament officials have so far received no interest from the Williams camp.

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post #9 of 109 (permalink) Old Jan 12th, 2004, 01:17 PM Thread Starter
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Friday, January 9, 2004
ESPN.com news services

Serena Williams will not defend her Australian Open title, she said in a statement Friday.

" I really looked forward to competing in the Australian Open," Williams said in a release issued by Davis, Bain and Associates, Inc. "However, after conferring with my trainers and coaches, we really don't think that I've had sufficient time to prepare and train for it. My knee feels great, but my rehabilitation took a little longer than I expected. I'm on the courts daily, and look forward to coming back in championship form."

Williams made history at last year by completing her "Serena Slam" in Melbourne. She became only the fifth woman to win four majors in a row.

She reached the semifinals of the French Open and won the title at Wimbledon before undergoing knee surgery on Aug. 1 for a partial tear in the mid-portion of her quadriceps tendon of her left knee.

Although Williams has not played any tournaments since the surgery, she's been actively pursuing her acting and design careers this fall. But the Williams family also has been distracted after suffering the loss of sister Yetunde Price, who was shot to death in September.

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post #10 of 109 (permalink) Old Jan 12th, 2004, 01:17 PM Thread Starter
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Venus seeded third for Australian Open
Fri Jan 9,11:50 PM ET Add Sports - AFP to My Yahoo!

PERTH, Australia, (AFP) - Venus Williams (news - web sites) will be the third seed for the Australian Open (news - web sites) tennis matches after the withdrawal of her sister and defending champion Serena from the event, tournament director Paul McNamee said.

McNamee said he was disappointed Serena had pulled out of the event, citing ongoing problems with her left knee.

The former world number one had surgery in Los Angeles for the problem last August.

She had been scheduled to play in the Hopman Cup international mixed teams event in Perth this week but pulled out at the last minute to be replaced by Lindsay Davenport.

"She's the defending champion but I knew when she pulled out of Hopman Cup that there must be something afoot," McNamee said.

"As you know her management was continuing to confirm she was going to come but it wasn't coming from Serena herself.

"Her folks had said she was coming here so obviously that was always going to effect her preparation for the Australian Open.

"I think the good news is that Venus is playing in Hong Kong. She beat Chanda Ruben last night so Serena is out and Venus is in. So there will be a Williams at Melbourne Park."

The Australian Open, the first Grand Slam of the year, starts in Melbourne on January 19.

Serena, the world number three-ranked player, broke the news on her official web site but McNamee said he had been called directly by her management company IMG.

"I really looked forward to competing in the Australian Open. However, conferring with my trainers and coaches, we really don't think that sufficient time to prepare and train for it," she wrote.

"My knee feels great but rehabilitation took a little longer than I expected."

McNamee said the draw for the Australian Open would be done next Friday with the official seedings finalised a day or two before.

He said the top two seeds would obviously go to Belgians Justine Henin-Hardenne and Kim Clijsters, the world number one and two players respectively. France's Amelie Maursemo would probably be seeded four, he said.

"I can say Venus will be seeded third as we stand right now behind Henin-Hardenne and Clijsters. Under a special seeding, the WTA had recommended that for the next group of tournaments that Venus has a special seeding which means she will come in at three," he said.

McNamee said he was confident Clijsters would play in the event after pulling out of the Hopman Cup with an ankle injury this week.

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post #11 of 109 (permalink) Old Jan 12th, 2004, 01:21 PM Thread Starter
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Mauresmo criticises seeding changes
2004-01-11 08:51:42 GMT (Reuters)

SYDNEY, Jan 11 (Reuters) - Amelie Mauresmo has slammed Australian Open officials for elevating Venus Williams to third in the tournament seedings despite her lower ranking.

Australian Open tournament director Paul McNamee announced world number 11 Williams would be seeded behind Belgian pair Justine Henin-Hardenne and Kim Clijsters after her sister Serena pulled out injured.

As the world number four, Frenchwoman Mauresmo had expected to be elevated to third seed but lost the spot to Venus under a recommendation from the Women's Tennis Association (WTA).

Venus suffered a slide in the rankings after she missed the second half of last year through injury.

"I feel like I'm being punished because she was injured," Mauresmo said.

"It's a strange feeling and one I don't really understand. But it's something I have to deal with."

The Australian Open has traditionally chosen its seeds according to their world rankings but McNamee said they made an exception for Venus, who was runner-up to Serena last year.

A former world number one, Venus has not played a competitive match since losing to Serena in last year's Wimbledon final in July but made her comeback in an exhibition tournament in Hong Kong this week.

Former Australian Open champion, American Lindsay Davenport, could have expected to have been elevated from fifth seed to fourth if organisers had not protected Venus but said she was unconcerned.

"In the past I have benefited from it. It unfortunate that I am the one affected but that's how it goes," Davenport said.

World number one Henin-Hardenne was also unconcerned.

"I don't mind too much by that. Venus did something great for the WTA and she's won so many titles. She has the level to be the third seed," Henin-Hardenne said.

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post #12 of 109 (permalink) Old Jan 13th, 2004, 06:11 AM
 
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Serena

Great decision to place Venus @ #3, she's definitly worthy of it
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post #13 of 109 (permalink) Old Jan 13th, 2004, 05:29 PM Thread Starter
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Venus Williams of the USA in action during practice on an outside court January 12, 2003 at Melbourne Park in Melbourne, Australia.

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post #14 of 109 (permalink) Old Jan 13th, 2004, 05:29 PM
 
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We wish you the best SERENA WILLIAMS.Now Venus kick butt.
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post #15 of 109 (permalink) Old Jan 13th, 2004, 05:30 PM Thread Starter
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