Slow-starting Serena wants title 'more than anyone else'

Fri Jan 16, 2015 11:58pm EST
 
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By Greg Stutchbury

MELBOURNE (Reuters) - Serena Williams enters the Australian Open as a strong favorite to lift the Daphne Akhurst Memorial Cup but is all too aware that a sixth Melbourne Park title has now eluded her for five years.

"I've been going for number six for a number of years now," the world number one told reporters on Saturday.

"It would be really special for me. I would be really happy. I want it I think more than anyone else here.

"But that doesn't mean I'm going to get it, so I'll have to fight hard to get it."

The 33-year-old American won her last Australian Open in 2010 and while she missed the 2011 event due to injury, she has not advanced past the quarter-finals in the past three years.

She suffered a surprise fourth round loss to Ekaterina Makarvoa in 2012, lost a quarter-final to Sloane Stephens the next year and was bundled out by Ana Ivanovic in the fourth round 12 months ago.

Her preparations for this year's event have been less than ideal, suffering losses to both Eugenie Bouchard and Agnieszka Radwanska at the exhibition-style Hopman Cup tournament.

Even in her victories in Perth, she was not her dominant self and her frustrations boiled over as she smashed a racquet and had a running battle with a chair umpire in the final against Poland.   Continued...

 
Serena Williams of the U.S. reacts during a media conference at Melbourne Park January 17, 2015. The Australian Open tennis tournament begins on January 19.     REUTERS/Issei Kato