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Serena Fighting Fit for French Open Defense
Sun May 25, 2003 09:08 AM ET
By Ossian Shine
PARIS (Reuters) - The Serena Williams 'catwoman' outfit may stay firmly under wraps at the French Open this next fortnight but the world No. 1 and top seed is not remotely concerned -- she feels the need for no superpowers at all.

The skin-tight, black Lycra outfit she sported to win the U.S. Open last year made her "run faster, jump higher, fight harder" she said.

But as she prepares to slide into action at Stade Roland Garros on Monday, Serena is happy just the way she is.

"My fitness is unbelievable right now," she said on Sunday after a brief practice session on the Parisian clay.

"I just don't get tired. I've been really working on my fitness so I am in really good shape right now ... I am happy."

The news will come as no comfort to anybody looking to dethrone the American phenomenon, especially as she is now forming something of a love affair with the tricky slow surface.

"It is not difficult for me to play on clay at all ... I love the clay," she smiled.

"You know, I just love it -- actually it means I can be lazier. I don't have to work as hard. I can be out of the point and get back into it. I really like that.

"It feels really great to be back here. I think for me Roland Garros is really, really special. I am very happy to be back."

Last year's victory in the final against elder sister Venus paved the way for a phenomenal year. She has won each grand slam since -- also against her sister in the final -- and is taking it all in her stride.

"You know, I don't remember it being at all tough last time," she said. "I just remember winning my matches."

Serena will be going all out to ensure this year's progress is just as smooth.

"It is important for me to go all out in the first rounds and not lose focus. It is important, whoever I am playing, to give 200 percent as opposed to just 100 percent."

Germany's Barbara Rittner -- Serena's first-round opponent on Monday -- had better watch out.
 
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