January 23, 2008

Serena to play in Bangalore Open

The $600,000 WTA Bangalore Open (Tier II Tournament), to be held in Bangalore from March 3-9, received a big boost on Wednesday with former world number one Serena Williams confirming her participation.

The 26-year-old American is the winner of eight Grand Slam singles titles as well as an Olympic gold medal. She is currently ranked seventh on the WTA Tour. Officials of Karnataka State Lawn Tennis Association, the hosts for the tournament, are sure Serena is going to turn up this year.

“Her office called and said she would like to come back to Bangalore as she missed coming here last year and would like to make up for that,” Tournament Director and KSLTA Secretary Sunder Raju told reporters.

The Bangalore Open champion would take home $95,500 and 300 WTA points. CEO of the WTA Tour, Larry Scott, will visit Bangalore during the event.

January 22, 2008

Serena gives credit to Jelena and remains optimistic

Serena had the following (positive) things to say about her future and her opponent, Jelena Jankovic, during her post match (Quarter-Final) interview:

Q. What are your comments on the singles?
SERENA WILLIAMS: Well, I had time to think about it. I think that I went crazy, maybe, and I made a lot of mistakes. I didn't really play the game I wanted to play, yeah.

Q. You were quite listless in the first set there. Wasn't an injury or a problem with movement?
SERENA WILLIAMS: I was having some issues, but I don't like to make excuses. We won't discuss those.

Q. Any comments on the way she (JELENA) played?
SERENA WILLIAMS: Yeah, she played really solid.

Q. Did those issues extend to the doubles? Was there a bit of a problem all through the day?
SERENA WILLIAMS: Yeah, definitely all through the day. But it was ‑‑ it's, you know, nothing life threatening, so I'll be ‑‑ it's fine.

Q. How much do you think it restricted you in your singles match?
SERENA WILLIAMS: I wasn't moving the way I wanted to and the way I was in the previous rounds, but I was ‑‑ and I wasn't able to serve the way I wanted to, so I think maybe that could have affected my serve, at least. But I think Jelena played some good tennis and she hung in there.

Q. It seemed like even when you were trying hard in the second set to get things going you just couldn't find your rhythm.
SERENA WILLIAMS: Yeah, I definitely couldn't find any rhythm out there. I felt like my shots were spraying and everything like that. It just ‑‑ I was just kind of all over the place, and out there for sure.

Q. You were treated for a blister during the match, right?

Q. Was that a factor during the match or not?
SERENA WILLIAMS: No, it wasn't a factor.

Q. What about the sun, Serena? We don't see you in a cap too often down here. Was that a problem?
SERENA WILLIAMS: On the one side the sun was ‑‑ it was hard to serve on that side, but there's no ‑‑ that's not a reason to lose at all.

Q. Last year people didn't expect too much of you. When you came here this year everybody expected a lot of you. Did that make a difference? You've been in a lot of pressure situations, but was it a lot different walking in here with those expectations this year than last?
SERENA WILLIAMS: Actually, no, I didn't feel any pressure myself. Only pressure traditionally I feel is the pressure I put on myself. I didn't really put any pressure on me. I felt like I was going to do better than this, but I guess, you know, I was wrong. Can't always be right.

Q. When did it come up for you as an issue, the injury?
SERENA WILLIAMS: I mean, it's not really an issue. I just think I'm not going to sit here and make excuses. I lost because Jelena played better than me and I made too many errors. I think regardless, the match was on my racquet, and I gave it away.

Q. You recently said you're a happy person with a smile on your face. How easy is it to put that smile back on your face after a day like today?
SERENA WILLIAMS: Well, it's hard, I guess. I mean, me being the person I am, I'm pretty much a perfectionist. If things don't go right then I have problems with that. It's not the end of the world.
That's a tournament I'm going to be in in a couple of weeks. I'm just going to go home and keep working out and staying fit.

Q. It's been like six, seven years since you were in four Slams and failed to pass the quarterfinal. What do you think about the year moving forward? Just talk about your general state of mind.
SERENA WILLIAMS: You know, I think there's good things coming forward. You know, just taking it one day at a time and trying and let this go behind me and just go back and keep training.
You know, it's just ‑‑ I definitely see ‑‑ I've come a long way from last year, and I just keep going forward.

Q. Did that injury get you out of a lot of tournaments last year? Can we expect to see you on the tour a bit more this year?
SERENA WILLIAMS: I definitely expect to be on the tour. I look forward to it and to being in a lot of events.

Q. Can you talk about Venus' chances? She's been playing pretty well, and she's never won here. She's in a good side of the draw and looks like she has a good opportunity moving forward too.
SERENA WILLIAMS: I definitely hope the best for her and I want her to go all the way. I think she's the best player, toughest competition for me. Whenever I play her, she's playing so solid. I think she'll do really well.

Australian Open Doubles: Over and Out!

The Williams Sisters lost their Quarter-Final Doubles match to 2006 Champions Yan Zi and Zheng Jie of China by a scorline of 3-6, 6-4, 6-2 . The American sisters, unseeded this year, looked on course for victory when they won the first set but were then completely outplayed by the seventh seeds in a match lasting just under two hours. All hope is not lost, for Venus remains alive in the singles and still has a chance to win her FIRST Australian Open title.

January 21, 2008

Serena's run is over...... (sad)

Serena has lost her Quarter-Final match to Jelena Jankovic 6-3, 6-4. Serena's serve was totally off, just gone, on vacation, couldn't buy one. Errors were in abundance also. There were too many second serves and she just seemed to be "off." A clip of Serena practicing (before the match) was shown and she looked very frustrated and unhappy, even repeatedly banging her racket into the court. I pray that Serena is ok and resolves whatever is going on. She's still a champion and I wish her well in Doubles and her next tournament!

The Sisters play Quarter Final Doubles Today!

Venus and Serena Williams have advanced to the Quarter Final Round (in Doubles) where they will play 7th Seeded Zi Yan (CHN) and Jie Zheng (CHN). It will be the 4th match of the day on the MCA Show Court. The Sisters are closing in on yet another Australian Open Doubles Title. More to come....

It's My Birthday!

Today I celebrate my 33rd Birthday and I'm sharing the cake and the balloons (smile). Enjoy, then let's get back to tennis.

Another Win for Team Williams!

Venus and Serena have defeated their 3rd Round Doubles opponents, Maret Ani (EST) and Meilen Tu (USA), by a scoreline of 6-4, 6-1. The Sisters are on a serious roll. They also advanced to the quarter-final round (in singles) of the Australian Open. Venus will take on Ana Ivanovic and Serena will play Jelena Jankovic. (USA vs. Serbs but in singles).

January 20, 2008

Ooops! Slideshow fiasco

I recently noticed that my "Serena Slideshow" is not functioning properly. I have an error message that states "the slideshow is empty," which is not the case. I hope to have this issue corrected ASAP.

Australian Open: Day 9 (Tuesday)

Serena (USA)[7] vs. Jelena Jankovic (SRB)[3]
Head-To-Head (2-2)
Scheduled to be the 2nd match of the day at Rod Laver Arena

Jelena Jankovic's post match Serena comments

Serena Williams' quarterfinal foe will be No. 3 Jelena Jankovic, who ended Casey Dellacqua's run with a 7-6 (7-3), 6-1 victory. Jankovic, who will be making her first quarterfinal appearance here, lost to Williams in straight sets during the round of 16 last year. During the post match interview, Jelena was asked the following about Serena:

Q. Feeling the way you do, does that lower your expectations against Serena?

JELENA JANKOVIC: Not really. I know that I can lift up my game. Each match is different and special, and you prepare in a different way. So I know that against her I have to come up with a lot better level of tennis, and I have to go for my shots and try to be very accurate, and also serve well, it's very important, it will be the key. So we will see. You know, I've beaten her a few times. I know how I have to play. But I know that I have to play really, really great tennis if I want to win because she's a strong girl. She's stronger than me twice ‑ twice my size. So I have to be ‑‑ it's not so easy (laughter). Sometimes I feel like she's going to blow me off the court. But I have to stay there and play my game and go for the win.

Q. Last year when you played her here, she was not in great form. You almost came in as the favorite. You didn't play your top level. Maybe it's a special motivation to go out against her and show you can play at your best?

JELENA JANKOVIC: Yeah, last year she was not the favorite. This year I'm not the favorite. So who knows what can happen. We will see. I mean, it will be a tough match, for sure. And I will just go out there and try to play my best tennis. She's a great champion, of course. And you have to really play your best if you want to win against her. So we will see. I will just try to have a good time. Who knows what God gives me.

Q. Where do you rank Serena's serve in the women's game?

JELENA JANKOVIC: In the ATP Tour, you mean (smiling)? She goes more than 200 kilometers per hour, so she's up there with the guys. I mean, she has one of the best serves in women's tennis, no doubt about that. Her and her sister. I cannot say anything about that. I can only give her compliments. If I start giving her compliments, I can keep going all day, so I have to stop (laughter).

Video Clip: Serena serves 15 aces in one match!

On to the quarters.....

Serena has defeated Nicole Vaidisova 6-3, 6-4. Serena now moves into the quarter-final round. During a brief post match interview with Bud Collins, he asked Serena "How much better is Serena Williams today than she was one year ago?" Serena responded: "Serena Williams last year was unbelievable, I hope I don't have to play her. I'm trying to get back to that level and beyond." Classic. At the end of the day, you gotta love Serena Williams. Serena has currently served the most aces (on the women's side of course), with a total of 36. Current second place belongs to Nicole Vaidisova with 23. Venus and Serena are currently tied for fastest serve of the tournament at 199 km/h which translates to about 123.65 mph.

* Venus and Serena play their 3rd Rnd Doubles match (vs. Maret Ani and Meilen Tu) on Monday. It is scheduled to be the 4th match of the day on Show Court 2.

January 19, 2008

Australian Open: Day 7

4th Round
Serena (USA) [7] vs. Nicole Vaidisova (CZE)[12]
Serena leads Head-To-Head (3-0)
Third match of the day at Rod Laver Arena

January 18, 2008

It's a win for Team Williams

Venus and Serena defeated the #2 seeds Ai Sugiyama of Japan and Katarina Srebotnik of Slovenia 6-2, 7-6(2) in their 2nd Round Doubles match. The Williams Sisters are on fire! They are having a lot of fun.

January 17, 2008

Serena Wins, Remains Impressive

Serena defeated Victoria Azarenka of Belarus 6-3, 6-4 in 3rd Round action at the Australian Open. Serena served 15 aces! Next up, Nicole Vaidisova. Serena can take a moment to do her post match interview but her day is far from over. She and Venus are in doubles action later today.

Day 5: Williams Sisters 2nd Rnd Doubles Match

Venus and Serena Williams take on the #2 seeded Doubles Team of Katarina Srebotnik (SLO) and Ai Sugiyama (JPN). This match will be the 4th match of the day on Show Court 2.

Williams Sisters 1st Rnd Doubles Videoclip

Australian Open: Day 5

3rd Round
Serena (USA) v Victoria Azarenka (BLR)
Head-To-Head (0-0)
2nd Match of the day on Vodafone Arena

It's a win for Team Williams

Venus and Serena defeated Monique Adamczak and Christina Wheeler (AUS) 7-5, 6-1. Good job ladies!

January 16, 2008

Day 4: Williams Sisters 1st Round Doubles Match

Women’s Doubles - 1st Round
Monique Adamczak & Christina Wheeler (AUS) v.
Serena Williams & Venus Williams (USA)
This match is 3rd up on Show Court #2
January 17, 2008

Serena wins 2nd Round Match

Serena defeated Meng Yuan 6-3, 6-1 in her 2nd Round match at the Australian Open. Serena is on fire. Her footwork was just awesome, so much so that Mary Carillo commented on how she "loved the sound of Serena's feet." I have not seen Serena move like this in quite some time. Serena was also swinging freely and simply showing the form of a Grand Slam Champion. More to come....

Serena and Evonne Goolagong

Serena poses with students and embraces Australian tennis legend Evonne Goolagong during her visit to a Goolagong National Development Camp in suburban Melbourne, Australia.

January 14, 2008

Australian Open: Day 3

2nd Round
Serena (USA) vs. Meng Yuan (CHN)
Head-T0-Head (0-0)
3rd match of the day on Vodafone Arena

Williams Sisters enter 2008 Family Circle Cup

Two more marquis players have signed on to compete in this year’s historic 35th anniversary celebration at the Family Circle Cup. World No. 7 Serena Williams and World No. 8 Venus Williams have officially entered the 2008 Family Circle Cup.

As former World No. 1 players with 14 Grand Slam titles between them, they join World No. 1 Justine Henin in a strong player field that now boasts three women who have held this prestigious ranking. Serena Williams is an 8-time Grand Slam champion who is making her fifth appearance in Charleston. Venus Williams is a 6-time Grand Slam champion making her fourth appearance at the Cup where she won the title in 2004. The 2008 Family Circle Cup draw will also include defending champion and current World No. 4 Jelena Jankovic as it celebrates its over three decades in women’s professional tennis April 12 - 20th at the Family Circle Tennis Center in Charleston, SC.

“Serena and Venus Williams are true champions who bring excitement to every tournament they enter,” noted Robin Reynolds, Family Circle Cup Tournament Director. “Each sister has had great success at the Cup and they both have such a huge fan base here at this event. Having these two superstars enter our tournament makes our 35th anniversary even more special.”

Throughout her illustrious career, Serena Williams’ accomplishments have made an indelible mark on the world of women’s professional tennis. With 28 singles titles including eight Grand Slam championships, the most among active players, this 26-year-old former World No. 1 has notched over 350 singles wins, $18 million in career earnings, and also won a US Olympic Gold medal with her sister Venus in doubles at the 2000 Olympic Games. Having spent seven years in the Top 10, including 2007 where her dramatic comeback was highlighted by a return to the Top 10 driven by her third Australian Open championship and the Tier I Sony Ericsson Open title in Miami, Serena continues to be a major contender at any event she enters.

“I really enjoy playing in Charleston and can’t wait to return,” commented Serena Williams. “I have so many wonderful memories from that event both on and off the court.” Serena has made four appearances in Charleston and holds a 7-4 record at this event having notched her best result as a finalist at the 2003 Family Circle Cup. She was named the 2004 Family Circle / Prudential Financial “Player Who Makes a Difference” for her outstanding contributions of time and energy to worthy charitable causes.

While competing in Charleston, Serena has participated in many clinics and has made numerous appearances at schools as well as charitable and community organizations. Serena co-starred with her sister in an ABC Family reality TV show "Venus and Serena: For Real" in 2005, part of which was filmed in Charleston.

January 13, 2008

Same question, Same answer...please move on

During the First Round post match interview, Serena was asked (yet again) about Justine Henin. I simply do not understand why they keep asking this question (no matter how differently it may be worded). Numerous articles have already addressed this question. Are they yet again trying to "bait" Serena into a headline-grabbing "negative response?"

Q. You pushed the bar really high in your dominant stage. Do you feel Justine pushed the bar higher last year?

SERENA WILLIAMS: I definitely think she pushed the bar really high. She played unbelievable. I think she won most of the tournaments that she entered. And that's really something that is very, I mean, encouraging and really pushing the bar really high.

In this same post match interview, they referenced their knowledge of her recent blog entries so I am almost positive that they have read or heard her response to numerous questions about Justine. You've got your answer (to the same question) now please move on!

Noteworthy Grand Slam Statistic

Serena has never lost in the First Round of a Grand Slam Tournament. She's 33-0. Awesome!

Serena wins Aussie Opener

DEFENDING champion Serena Williams became the first player into the second round of the 2008 championships in Melbourne today.She beat Slovakian-born Australian Jarmilla Gajdosova in straight sets in one hour and two minutes in the first match on centre court. After fighting off a comeback from the 20-year-old in the first set the No.7 seed won 6-3 6-3. She squandered a 3-1 lead in the opening set to let Gajdosova back into the game before regaining her composure. Williams broke serve twice in the final set to record a straight forward win. The younger of the WIlliams sisters is bidding to win the title for a fourth time after her successes in 2003, 2005 and last year.

Loving serene Serena...

Serena Williams vows to smile all the way to title
The defending champion realised that she was taking herself far too seriously, but says that has changed

By her own admission, the Serena Williams, who is about to begin the defence of the most unlikely title in an astonishing career, is very different from the player who smote her way to victory at last year’s Australian Open.

Taking physical appearances first, she looks like a champion. Fit and conditioned, Williams appears supremely prepared to add to her eight Grand Slam titles.

However, there is a change in the mindset of the woman who, at her peak almost five years ago, dominated women’s tennis during a 57-week stay at the top of the Sony Ericsson WTA Tour world rankings – a period that saw her win five out of the six major prizes. No longer is she guarded, habitually economic with the truth, because nobody, other than her family, was ever allowed to get to know the person inside that body. Now she is open and affable and says her ambition is to enjoy herself in 2008, and one way of doing that is to let the public into the once-mysterious world of the Williams sisters.

She says that the defining moment in her metamorphosis came as she was flying home from Europe in October after a tournament in Zurich. Delving into the self-help book Who Moved My Cheese?, a best-seller about overcoming the fear of making changes in life, she realised she needed to take heed of what the author, Spencer Johnson, was saying.

“I would never read that sort of thing before, I maintained I was allergic to those kind of books,” she says. “I started reading it because I thought it might help my tennis, but after a couple of chapters I realised I was stuck fast in so many aspects of my life – relationships, personal issues, boyfriends, that sort of thing. And I came to appreciate I was frightened of making changes. I felt the book was almost talking to me.

“For so long I had not been able to make a decision while knowing I wanted to move forward. Still on that flight, I pulled out my BlackBerry and wrote 20 e-mails which made big changes. As soon as I landed they all got transmitted. Since then I have not looked back and I’m a different person. I am just so happy. The reason I was so guarded before probably had something to do with the fact that I had to live under public scrutiny for so many years.”

Even last September at the US Open, when she lost for the third time to Justine Henin in 2007’s majors, she barely deigned to face up to postmatch interrogation with any real sincerity. She now sees that as a mistake.

“People viewed me as a machine who, like so many top athletes, was just programmed to win,” she says. “I’m not like that. I have feelings. I felt that fans were warming to me when I made the emotional speech here [dedicating last year’s title to her murdered sister Yetunde]. People saw me as somebody who was vulnerable, and that was nice. Since then I have let more things into my life and allowed my personality to show more. Initially I wanted to keep a lot of things private, but sometimes it’s better to let people see who you really are.”

So how does this new affable persona equate with the desire to prove once again that she is the world’s best, something that requires unseating Henin from the top of the rankings and staying fit?

Last November, she limped away from the Sony Ericsson WTA Tour Championships in Madrid with an injured left knee, with many fearing a recurrence of the injury that required career-saving surgery in 2003.

“I wasn’t concerned because I knew the pain would go away and I’ve hardly taken a break since,” she says. “After the championships I stayed in Spain for a couple of weeks because I like Europe but even though I was on vacation, I was in the gym every morning. When I went home to Florida it was time to go to work with the fitness trainer, and I came here early to play the Hopman Cup. I knew I was ready physically and that’s good because 12 months ago people said things about my shape that weren’t complimentary.”

She drifts back into the vernacular of the self-help book for her final conclusion. “There’s a lot of big tennis this year, a lot of big-time tournaments to be played and my aim is to take care of A and make sure that A is happy. If that is the case, then trust me, the titles will flow in like all the water coursing over Niagara Falls.”

January 12, 2008

Serena First Up at Australian Open - Day 1

Serena (USA) vs. Jarmila Gajdosova (AUS)
Head-To-Head (0-0)
Monday @ 11:00am (Sunday, 7pm EST) - Rod Laver Arena

Great answer Serena!

The following question was asked during Serena's Pre-Australian Open interview today:
Q. The rankings say that she (Justine) is the world No. 1. Does she feel like the world No. 1 to you or do you feel that your best tennis is the best in the world?
SERENA WILLIAMS: I think right now she's absolutely the world No. 1. I mean, she's winning every tournament that she's entering. I mean, she definitely, definitely is No. 1. She definitely has that ranking, for sure.

In my honest opinion I feel as if a lot of the interviewers try to "bait" Serena into saying something negative (about other players) while "praising herself" in the same sentence. She could have "piggy-backed" off of the "my tennis is the best tennis in the world," but she didn't. I am glad that she didn't because you better believe that someone was waiting to swarm in and blow the comment out of proportion just as they did the "Justine you've been warned," which Serena NEVER said. Serena's response to this question reflects maturity, honesty and respect. I'm loving it!

January 11, 2008

Serena's 2008 Australian Open Draw

Serena Williams is seeded 7th at the 2008 Australian Open. Venus and Serena are on opposite sides of the draw which would allow for an ALL WILLIAMS FINAL. The last All Williams Final at the Australian Open occured in 2003 (when Serena completed her SERENA SLAM). Serena has a relatively easy path to the quarterfinals with wild-card entry Jarmila Gajdosova in the first round and the prospect of two qualifiers after that. Serena's projected route to her 9th Grand Slam Title looks like this:
Round 1: Gajdosova

Round 2: Qualifier

Round 3: Azarenka

Round 4: Vaidisova

Quarter-Finals: Jankovic/Mauresmo

Semi-Finals: Henin/Sharapova/Davenport

Final: Venus

I'm predicting that Serena grabs her 4th Australian Open Title and ties with Monica Seles for having a total of 9 Grand Slam Titles. You heard it here first!

January 8, 2008

Something about Serena and "Diamonds"

Just last weekend, Serena received her second Diamond encrusted Tennis Ball by winning (along w/ Mardy Fish) the Hopman Cup Final. Now, Top-ranked Justine Henin and Australian Open champion Serena Williams will top the draw for next month's WTA Diamond Games tournament. Diamonds are truly this girl's best friend.

January 7, 2008

Serena Williams Leaving Nothing To Chance

MELBOURNE - When Serena Williams came back out of obscurity to win the Australian Open last year for her eighth grand-slam title, she not only confounded her critics but also surprised herself.

Having won the title despite being under-prepared, however, the former world number one arrived in Australia early this year looking fitter than she has in a long time and told Reuters that she wanted to leave nothing to chance this time.

"Last year was cutting it a bit close," Williams said, having begun her season in style by helping the United States to victory in the Hopman Cup, the eight-nation mixed team event held in Perth.

"It definitely pays to be here early. I'm glad I'm here. I have four matches under my belt and I'm definitely excited about that."

Twelve months ago, Williams arrived at Melbourne Park ranked 81st and looking well short of optimum fitness but still walked away with the title, demolishing Maria Sharapova in the final. But knowing that she can win grand slam titles when she is not fully prepared can be a double-edged sword, Williams said.

"It's definitely been a vice of mine, my biggest vice," said the American, who is now ranked seventh. "I can win without working this hard, it's a blessing and a malediction, so to say. "(This time) I think I've been training a little more. I am more confident. It's all coming together. I took maybe one week off, if that. "Other than that I have been training every day. I feel like as long as I play like this, I'll be solid (at Melbourne Park)."

Williams stressed in Perth that she is enjoying her tennis more these days and the way she laughed and joked her way through mixed doubles matches with her partner Mardy Fish at the Hopman Cup suggests a new attitude.

"I started this last year," she said. "Last year I had no pressure on me and I just enjoyed myself and had fun in every match that I played. I like that feeling. "I put so much pressure on myself because I am a perfectionist, but I realise not everything's going to be perfect in life, there are bumps you have to deal with. "I wasn't dealing with it last year. I had a court case, eight hours of every day and it was very difficult." Williams, her sister Venus and their father, Richard, were accused of reneging on a deal to play an exhibition match.

She added: "It's hard to sit down for eight hours, sometimes even longer, for over a month. The fact that I didn't have to do that (this year) pretty much explains it (her relaxed attitude)." When Williams won the title last year, the only top 10 player missing from Melbourne was Belgian Justine Henin, who captured the French and U.S. Open titles later in 2007.

Henin has beaten Williams in their three most recent meetings and will be the favourite for the title in Melbourne, starting on January 14, but Williams said she had another motivation to win the tournament. Victory at Melbourne Park would take her to nine grand-slam titles, level with Monica Seles, Williams's hero growing up.

"That would be awesome," Williams said. "She was definitely a big factor. I love her and I think she's a great person. She was my favourite player. "I'm feeling really match fit and ready. I am never where I want to be. I am getting there. I can't put a percentage on it right now, but I am getting there."

January 6, 2008

Did you miss the Hopman Cup Finals?

If you missed the original airing of the Hopman Cup Finals between Team USA (Mardy Fish and Serena Williams) and Team Serbia (Novak Djokovic and Jelena Jankovic), it is scheduled to re-air today (1/6/08) on The Tennis Channel at 12pm EST.

January 5, 2008

"I'm seeing it fast now...."

“I’M SEEING it fast now. I’m seeing it fast.” Reigning Australian Open Women’s champion Serena Williams took to the resurfaced Rod Laver Arena for the first time yesterday, and if her repeated comments to her two trainers as she traded blows on the new, blue Plexicushion court are any guide, it’s quickly getting up to speed.

During a extremely hot Melbourne afternoon that also saw men’s champion Roger Federer begin his quest to win his fourth Australian Open, Williams commented several times on the speed and hardness of the new Plexicushion court.

The three-time champion, who had just flown in from Perth where, with Mardy Fish, she won the Hopman Cup on Friday night, repeated her comment, adding that she thought the court was “even harder” at times.

Williams looked in ominous form as she smashed forehands, backhands and volleys to two male training partners who gave the impression of soldiers under fire.

Serious Serena: Practice Makes Perfect (Part 2)

Serena is serious about defending her Australian Open Title. Here she is (practicing) in Melbourne Park. Go Serena!!

Winning Weekend for American Women!

Three of the best American women to play the game (Serena, Venus and Lindsay) won titles this weekend:

On Friday, Serena (and Mardy Fish) won the Hopman Cup for the U.S. defeating the Serbian Team of Novak Djokovic and Jelena Jankovic (7-6, 6-2).

On Saturday, Venus Williams defeated Maria Sharapova (6-4, 6-3) to win the JB Group Classic (in Hong Kong).

Also on Saturday, Lindsay Davenport won her 3rd title in 4 tournaments since returning to the game after giving birth to her 1st child, Jagger. Lindsay beat Aravane Rezai (6-2, 6-2) to win the Auckland Classic in New Zealand.

CONGRATULATIONS LADIES! Awesome start to the season!

January 4, 2008

Serena Has A Ball...(Literally)

Serena showed that both her body and game are equally in great form. Serena played competitively, challenging serves/returns whistled in by Djokovic, sending an ace his way as well as another unreturnable and she kept moving forward. She went on to say that she was so happy that she got a chance to play Djokovic. She was simply jubilant and a pleasure to watch. She joyfully pranced around the court, served well (as usual) and showed some awesome hands at net. Her smiles and laughter throughout the entire match was totally infectious. She was simply having a ball.

Speaking of which, she has been saying all week that her mom has the diamond encrusted ball she won in 2003 when she partnered with James Blake and that she wanted another one.

Well now, Serena Williams of the U.S. poses with her second silver and diamond encrusted tennis ball. What Serena wants, Serena gets.