Thursday, 17 January, 2019

Serena Williams handed tough draw in quest for record 24th Grand Slam

Denmark's Caroline Wozniacki lifts her maiden Grand Slam at Melbourne Park a year ago Denmark's Caroline Wozniacki lifts her maiden Grand Slam at Melbourne Park a year ago
Frederick Owens | 10 January, 2019, 20:27

Defending champion Wozniacki, who broke through for her maiden Grand Slam title with victory over Halep in last year's final, is in line to face former victor Maria Sharapova in a mouth-watering third round showdown.

Chris Evert has no doubt that history will only reflect well on Serena Williams, who is preparing for the Australian Open.

Serena Williams is back in Melbourne as hot favourite to repeat her 2017 Australian Open win and claim a record-equalling 24th Grand Slam with rivals, including defending champion Caroline Wozniacki, battling health issues and poor form.

If US Open victor Naomi Osaka is feeling the pressure of being the tennis world's newest Grand Slam champion, she's hiding it well in the lead-up to the Australian Open.

Her tearful post-match demeanour raised concerns the youngster was becoming overwhelmed by the situation. Her experiences have been a learning experience for me.

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"I think that there will be a side note that Serena has a lot of passion and has at times lost her cool on the court, I don't for one minute think it will tarnish her whole reputation or her record". Williams, seeded 16th this year, later gave birth to her daughter that year and skipped Melbourne while recovering from complications during birth. "Maybe she has it even more now that she is a working mother", Evert said. I can't tell her what she's supposed to do, because there are things that she's gone through.

"She has had time off, she can really get away from tennis, before maybe not as much". Nadal is looking to become the first man in the Open Era to win each of the 4 Grand Slam titles twice.

But she fell foul of officials with the spandex compression garment outfit criticised by the French Tennis Federation president and subsequently banned at Roland Garros.

"I noticed she seems fitter, which is a scary thought". She warmed up for Melbourne by making the semi-finals of the Brisbane International last week, where she blamed a poor attitude for losing to Lesia Tsurenko. Evert, who will be a commentator with ESPN for the tournament, said.

"I would say this is yet another chapter in the incredible story of Serena Williams, a lot of positives, a few negatives, no doubt that [US Open controversy] was a negative", he said. "Again, I'm not trying to look too far ahead", the tournament's official website quoted the 37-year-old Swiss player as saying.

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