Financial crisis forces Serena to cut back on glam

Fri Jan 16, 2009 8:53pm EST
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By Greg Stutchbury

MELBOURNE (Reuters) - Even multi-millionaire athletes are not immune to the global financial crisis, with Serena Williams admitting she was cutting back her spending on designer handbags and glitzy jewelry.

"The bag I'm carrying now is worth $12," a laughing Williams told reporters at a news conference ahead of the Australian Open on Saturday. "I have really cut back.

"It's low tide for me. I'm not out there buying crazy things," added the 27-year-old, who has earned almost $22 million in career prize money and reportedly makes close to $10 million a year in endorsements.

Not that the second seed for the year's first grand slam is totally cutting off her discretionary spending on luxuries -- she downloads digital music, television shows and movies to her computer to help relax during tournaments.

"I love to watch to TV," she said. "I'm terrible for the whole music and movie industry because I download movies and television shows.

"I'm obsessed with 'Desperate Housewives' and can't wait for Monday to download the next episode."


Williams, who was looking fitter than she has for a number of years at Melbourne Park, begins her campaign for her fourth Australian Open title against China's Meng Yuan and said the grand slam tournaments would continue to be her focus this year.   Continued...

<p>Serena Williams smiles as she listens to questions during a news conference in Melbourne, January 17, 2009 prior to the start of the Australian Open tennis tournament. REUTERS/Russell Boyce</p>