January 8, 2009

Serena's Serious: Ready for Sydney

AND so she arrived with Ray-Bans shading her brown eyes, and black, shiny leggings highlighting her famous curves. Serena Williams gently moved her two pink suitcases, tennis bag, black suitcase, posy of flowers and handbag through the crowded Sydney Airport arrivals hall, all the while smiling, chatting to the press. There was, of course, a little bling. A diamond-laden, heart-shaped necklace decorated her decolletage and after only few minutes in the country, there were some whispers about her derriere as she went to climb into a hire car. Did it look smaller? Bigger? The consensus was they'd find out about her fitness and form on the tennis court - which is why she is here in Sydney.

The world No.2 is the star of the show at the Medibank International, which starts on Sunday. Among a few questions fired at the nine-time grand slam singles winner were the staple fashion queries. This was the woman who warmed up at Wimbledon in a white trenchcoat. The player famous for wearing a black catsuit at the US Open. Did she have any "special fashions" she planned to wear while she was in Australia? "Always," Williams said, almost airily. "It wouldn't be the same if I didn't."It will be an exciting year for the 27-year-old if she snatches back the No.1 ranking. It's something elder sister Venus also has her eye on.

The Sydney tournament is packed with talent, with three of the world's top four women due to contest the event. World No.3 Dinara Safina and No.4 Elena Dementieva are also in town. Williams said she couldn't specify who her biggest rival would be. "Oh, whoever my first rival of the tournament is." Her hamstring is fine, by the way. It had originally caused her to pull out of the Hopman Cup in Perth but now everything is running sweetly. "I'm good, yeah," Williams said. "It's excellent I don't have any hammy problems. I'm good. It [my preparation] has been good, it's been positive, very positive."

Williams hopes the Sydney tournament will provide a good base as she aims for her fourth Australian Open title. Her last Australian grand slam win in 2007 was a momentous one. In the lead-up she overcame relentless criticism of her weight and off-court pursuits - fashion and a movie script. From a world ranking of 81, and still coming to grips with the murder of her half-sister, Yetunde Price, she won her third Australian Open. Williams has been busy off the court, adding a jewelry and accessories line to her portfolio. She also opened the Serena Williams Secondary School near Nairobi, Africa, penned an autobiography and offers relationship advice to fans on her website.
-- Article by Jessica Halloran (The Sydney Morning Herald)

No comments: