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Serena longs to end Dubai drought

Alex Leach / 20 February 2013

Serena Williams is confident it will be a case of third time lucky at this week’s Dubai Duty Free Tennis Championships with a clean bill of health bolstering her title tilt here.

The world number one, who has reached the semi-finals of this event in 2005 & 2009, lost last Sunday’s Qatar Open final in three sets to the competitor she overtook at the top of the standings 24 hours later, Belarus’ Victoria Azarenka.

However, Williams was seemingly under the weather throughout her dogged displays in Doha and she is now primed to go one better in Dubai without the sickness symptoms.


Serena Williams during the round table conference on Tuesday. — KT photo by Shihab

“I’ve definitely improved a lot in a week,” said the 31-year-old, whose chances of outright victory in the emirate have improved significantly with the withdrawal through injury of Azarenka on Tuesday.

“I was really sick last week and – physically – I wasn’t at my best considering I couldn’t train or practise. I practised one or two days before playing because I had the ankle problems.

“But, I didn’t not want to show up, so I thought – if I could show up and, at least, play my way into shape – I would be able to compete and that’s what I did.

“I already feel so much better this week. I feel like a completely different athlete – and a completely different person – compared to last week.

“This is the one tournament that I want to do well in. I love this city.” Williams made history this week in becoming the oldest player to ever sit at the summit in women’s tennis.

If the competition were hopeful her latest reign would be short-lived however, they’re in for a dose of disappointment with talk of retirement apparently far too premature and wide of the mark.

“I thought I would stop at 27 or 28 and – now – I’m 31 and I feel better than ever and have fewer injuries than I have ever had,” she added.

“I love playing tennis. It’s just a great opportunity to do something you love. You don’t have any stress.

“I’m at a place where I reached that goal of getting back to the top and, if I stay there, that would be great and – if not - then I’ve done it and let me focus on my next goal, which are the Grand Slams where I want to do well.”


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