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."

 



Caption competition
Caption competition
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Daily Quiz
Independent Dating
and  

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

Sepp Blatter resignation: The beginning of Fifa's long road to reform?

Does Blatter's departure mean Fifa will automatically clean up its act?

Don't bet on it, says Tom Peck
Charles Kennedy: The baby of the House who grew into a Lib Dem giant

The baby of the House who grew into a Lib Dem giant

Charles Kennedy was consistently a man of the centre-left, dedicated to social justice, but was also a champion of liberty and an opponent of the nanny-state, says Baroness Williams
Syria civil war: The harrowing testament of a five-year-old victim of this endless conflict

The harrowing testament of a five-year-old victim of Syria's endless civil war

Sahar Qanbar lost her mother and brother as civilians and government soldiers fought side by side after being surrounded by brutal Islamist fighters. Robert Fisk visited her
The future of songwriting: How streaming is changing everything we know about making music

The future of songwriting

How streaming is changing everything we know about making music
William Shemin and Henry Johnson: Jewish and black soldiers receive World War I Medal of Honor amid claims of discrimination

Recognition at long last

Jewish and black soldiers who fought in WWI finally receive medals after claims of discrimination
Beating obesity: The new pacemaker which helps over-eaters

Beating obesity

The new pacemaker which helps over-eaters
9 best women's festival waterproofs

Ready for rain: 9 best women's festival waterproofs

These are the macs to keep your denim dry and your hair frizz-free(ish)
Cycling World Hour Record: Nervous Sir Bradley Wiggins ready for pain as he prepares to go distance

Wiggins worried

Nervous Sir Bradley ready for pain as he prepares to attempt cycling's World Hour Record
Liverpool close in on Milner signing

Liverpool close in on Milner signing

Reds baulk at Christian Benteke £32.5m release clause
On your feet! Spending at least two hours a day standing reduces the risk of heart attacks, cancer and diabetes, according to new research

On your feet!

Spending half the day standing 'reduces risk of heart attacks and cancer'
With scores of surgeries closing, what hope is there for the David Cameron's promise of 5,000 more GPs and a 24/7 NHS?

The big NHS question

Why are there so few new GPs when so many want to study medicine?
Big knickers are back: Thongs ain't what they used to be

Thongs ain't what they used to be

Big knickers are back
Thurston Moore interview

Thurston Moore interview

On living in London, Sonic Youth and musical memoirs
In full bloom

In full bloom

Floral print womenswear
From leading man to Elephant Man, Bradley Cooper is terrific

From leading man to Elephant Man

Bradley Cooper is terrific