Serena Williams hungry as ever to perform title role
Serena Williams is the first player to qualify for the season-ending Women's Tennis Association Championships and has already won seven titles this year, but the 31-year-old is still hungry for success. As she prepared to make her first appearance of the North American hard-court season in Toronto, Williams said she would be satisfied only if she won every big tournament that she enters.
Although the world No 1 claimed her second French Open title two months ago, she suffered surprisingly early defeats in the two other Grand Slam tournaments, losing to Sloane Stephens at the Australian Open and Sabine Lisicki at Wimbledon.
However, she quickly returned to winning ways last month, landing a clay-court title in Sweden without dropping a set, and now has her sights set on retaining her US Open title.
"I'm not there yet with the way my year has gone," Williams said as she looked back on the first seven months of 2013. "Everybody is like: 'You've had a good year.' And I'm like: 'Who?' I work really hard to do the best, especially in Grand Slams."
Of Williams' 53 career titles, 15 have been won at Grand Slam level. It used to be the case that she regularly underperformed at lesser tournaments, but in the last three years she has been more consistent. Indeed, since the start of 2011 only three of the 16 titles she has won have been at Grand Slam events.
Williams said she was enjoying her tennis more than ever this year. "What makes tennis beautiful is the small tournaments that make you as a player and make you win the Grand Slams," she said. "I was talking to [my sister] Venus the other day and I said, 'I am never going to stop.' I just love this sport so much – and we were just practising. It's just so fun. I'm having more fun than I have ever had."
While the leading women are playing in Toronto this week, most of the top men are competing at the Montreal Masters. Novak Djokovic, the top seed, was due to play his opening match overnight against Germany's Florian Mayer, while Andy Murray will make his bow against the winner of the Grigor Dimitrov and Marcel Granollers match. Ernests Gulbis is a potential third-round opponent for Murray after the Latvian overcame Feliciano Lopez 7-6, 6-4.
Mayer earned his chance against Djokovic by inflicting more misery on Australia's Bernard Tomic, who has endured a difficult year, especially since his father and coach John was repeatedly banned from tournaments after an alleged fight with his son's hitting partner. Tomic said after his 5-7, 6-3, 6-3 defeat: "I missed my chances, I didn't focus early on in the second set and that's when he took over. I dropped my concentration and he played very well."
Danny Ings: Liverpool target wanted by Borussia Monchengladbach... who could get Burnley striker for just £260,000
Humiliated Brazil look to continue recovery at Arsenal
Floyd Mayweather vs Manny Pacquiao: Zab Judah denies flooring Mayweather during sparring as he prepares for 2 May
England vs Lithuania match report: Harry Kane fires in first Three Lions goal just 78 seconds into debut to put icing on the cake
'God, she's beautiful': Embarrassment for basketball player Nigel Hayes after microphone picks up comment about female reporter
- 2 The West has it totally wrong on Lee Kuan Yew
- 3 #FreeTheNipple: Women in Iceland bare breasts in solidarity with trolled student
- 4 Scientists have discovered a simple way to cook rice that dramatically cuts the calories
Nigel Farage brands LGBT activists 'filth' and 'scum' and accuses them of scaring away his children after they invade his local pub
Ukip supporters are 55 or older, white and socially conservative, finds British Social Attitudes Report
JK Rowling responds to fan tweeting she 'can't see' Dumbledore being gay
Russia threatens Denmark with nuclear weapons if it tries to join Nato defence shield
Jeremy Clarkson sacked live: Alan Yentob 'wouldn't rule out' ex Top Gear host's BBC return
Germanwings plane crash live: Co-pilot Andreas Lubitz wanted to 'do something people would remember him for'