Venus Williams hungry for Australian Open


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    Declaring age just a number, tennis superstar Venus Williams is intent on keeping the Australian Open trophy in the family.

    While her sister Serena isn’t ready to defend her crown just four months after having her first child, Aunty Venus has arrived in Australia desperate to go one better than last year’s defeat in a retro all-Williams title decider.

    “What else could you do beside try to win and be confident on court and beat whoever’s across the net,” Williams said when asked if she hoped to win the Open for the first time.

    “What else do you hope for?”

    Turning 38 in June, Williams would become the oldest grand slam champion in history if she raised the Daphne Akhurst Memorial Cup on January 27.

    But the former world No.1 and seven-times major winner insists playing for records doesn’t even enter her mind.

    As well as her run at Melbourne Park, Williams also reached the finals at Wimbledon and the season-ending championship and returns to Australia ranked fourth in the world.

    The veteran will open her 2018 season at the Sydney International – 20 years after losing the 1998 final to Arantxa Sanchez Vicario when the event was still staged at White City.

    It’s been 17 years since she played in Sydney, but she returns with the fondest of memories having collected singles and doubles gold medals at the 2000 Olympics.

    “It’s been too long,” the American said.

    Williams is seeded second in a heavyweight draw featuring six grand slam champions, including her Wimbledon final conqueror Garbine Muguruza, French Open titleholder Jelena Ostapenko and US Open winner Sloane Stephens.

    “I’ve seen the amazing draws here and it’s the best way to get out there and test your game and I’m definitely looking forward to playing the best players in the world here,” Williams said.

    She won’t have to wait long.

    After a first-round bye, Williams could strike 2016 Australian Open champion and former world No.1 Angelique Kerber – if the German beats Lucie Safarova – in her first match of the year.

    “I’ll definitely play a lefty in the next round, so we’ll see how it goes,” Williams said.

    “I definitely would like to win and I would like to play well. The first match of the year is not easy for anyone.

    “I feel like I’m in good form, but matches are definitely different than practice. You have to race to a fast start.

    “It’s a super strong field.”

    Claiming her sister Serena was “here in spirit” supporting her, Williams rejected the notion she had nothing to lose in the twilight of her celebrated career.

    “I feel my biggest expectation is from myself,” she said.

    “So no one ever wants to let themselves down.”

    © AAP 2018

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    The Crowd Says (2)

    • January 7th 2018 @ 11:38am
      Grahame said | January 7th 2018 @ 11:38am | ! Report

      In the Rugby category?

      If she had a chance to play 15 aside rugby what position would she have? Prop?

      • Roar Rookie

        January 8th 2018 @ 12:54pm
        piru said | January 8th 2018 @ 12:54pm | ! Report

        Perhaps hooker, you think with that arm she could throw a decent lineout?

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