Serena eyes Stanford title in run-up to Olympics

Stanford, California: Fatigue and a busy schedule was not going to get in the way of Serena Williams returning to the place she says launched her comeback and gave her the confidence to believe she could win another Grand Slam.

Fresh off her fifth Wimbledon triumph, Williams is eager to defend the Stanford Classic title she won in 2011 that signalled her return after missing nearly a year recovering from serious health problems.

The triumph, which came on the heels of a last-16 loss at that year's Wimbledon, was part of an 18-match win streak that lasted until the US Open final, where she fell to Australian Samantha Stosur.

Serena said her current schedule, which includes competing in the 27 July-12 August London Olympics, is among the most hectic that she has had during her glittering career. AP

"This is the place that spurred me on last year," Williams, who missed nearly a year of competition after dealing with a cut foot and blood clot in her the lungs, told Reuters on Tuesday.

"I had a great summer, and that propelled me with getting a lot of confidence and so that really helped, I definitely wanted to come back and try to redo that, but maybe do 19 straight (wins) this time."

Williams not only picked up her 14th Grand Slam singles title at Wimbledon last Saturday, but she also won her 13th Grand Slam doubles title with her older sister, Venus.

She then flew to California on Monday but was so jet lagged that she woke up at 3:30 am PDT (11:30 am British time) on Tuesday and began tweeting.

Williams said her current schedule, which includes competing in the 27 July-12 August London Olympics, is among the most hectic that she has had during her glittering career.

"My goal is to do well here first, and then go from there," said Williams. "I have the Olympics, gosh, I keep forgetting about that, so gotta do, and then I have the US Open, so it's a busy summer and it's halfway through, but it's going so fast."

Williams, 30, became the first woman in her 30s to win Wimbledon since Martina Navratilova won in 1990 at age 33.

She admittedly did not go into 2012 Wimbledon with a lot of confidence as she had been stunned in the first round of the French Open by Virginie Razzano, the only time she had lost in the first round of a major in 47 attempts.

"I had a very tough week and just regaining my confidence back, playing myself in and then just realising to let that loss go and recover and do the best that I can," she said.

After suffering a pulmonary embolism in early 2011, Williams thought that she might never play tennis again, but said that being faced with a life or death situation made her stronger and increased her desire for further success.

"The process was tough, just going out there and never giving up and having some tough losses in between, but realising that I belong on the tennis court more than anywhere else and I do my best on the tennis court," she said.

The top-seeded Williams will open her Stanford Classic title defence on Wednesday against collegiate champion Nicole Gibbs.


Updated Date: Jul 11, 2012 10:57 AM

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