Serena no longer the fun girl

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iol sport pic williams AFP Serena Williams of the US hits a backhand return to Alize Cornet of France in their second round women's singles match at the Brisbane International tennis tournament on January 1, 2013.

Brisbane - Serena Williams yesterday credited a more subdued lifestyle for the current form which has put her on track to succeed fellow American Chris Evert as the oldest World No 1 in women’s tennis.

Williams, who recorded a serve of 200km/h during a second-round 6-2 6-2 win over France’s Alize Cornet at the Brisbane International, is currently ranked third in the world.

However, the 31-year-old is regarded as the pre-eminent woman player at the moment after winning the Wimbledon, US and Olympic titles in 2012. Evert was aged 30 years 11 months when she was No 1 in 1985.

“I’m really boring now,” Williams told reporters. “I used to be fun. For a fun time, call Serena. Now for a fun time, do not call me. I don’t know what happened to me.

“I think I just got older and I realised I can’t be that fun girl for the rest of my life. I think that’s pretty much what it is. I could be the oldest number one. I don’t know how that goes with the funnest.”

Williams said she had not celebrated New Year’s eve.

“I’ve been having insomnia,” she said. “I don’t know what time zone I’m in. I don’t know if I’m in Florida or if I’m in Mauritius or if I’m in Brazil.

“I just don’t know anymore. My body is like telling me, ‘Don’t sleep ever’. I’m nocturnal right now. I can’t sleep at night. I was awake for New Year’s eve. I heard all the fire crackers, and I would have loved to have seen it, but I had a match today, so I didn’t do anything fun.”

In other matches, World No 6 Sara Errani was defeated 4-6 6-1 7-5 by Slovakia’s Daniela Hantuchova, while No 8 Petra Kvitovia was beaten 6-4 7-5 by Russia’s Anastasia Pavlyuchenkova.

Meanwhile, former US Open champion Samantha Stosur conceded there was no magic solution to her problems on home courts after a shock loss to Sofia Arvidsson in the opening round of the Brisbane International on Monday.

The World No 9, who has failed to match expectations in Australian tournaments, lost 7-6 7-5 to the Swede five weeks after ankle surgery and only a fortnight before the Australian Open.

“Just really disappointed again, leaving Brisbane so early,” Stosur told reporters. “I think it was some good tennis and some pretty average tennis at times.”

Stosur said the surgery and the subsequent shortage of training had not played a part in her defeat.

“I wasn’t going into the match thinking ‘Oh my God, I haven’t done this or that’,” she said. “I gave myself every opportunity to try and play as well as I could, but for sure, I have not practiced enough.

“I have a fair bit of work to do ahead of me. You could put it down to being a bit rusty and it’s the first match.”

Saturation media coverage and public expectation is again accompanying Stosur’s attempt to add the Australian Open to the US Open title she secured by upsetting Serena Williams in 2011.

“I don’t know how much of that really played into it,” she said. “I’ve said it before, it’s great playing out on a court where you’ve got the crowd behind you and trying to cheer you on and all that.” - Reuters


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