MELBOURNE Jan 17 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 jewellery.
"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
"I'm obsessed with 'Desperate Housewives' and can't wait
for Monday to download the next episode."
GRAND SLAM FOCUS
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
"I'm definitely aiming myself at grand slams. I want to
play my best tennis in the majors.
"The tour kind of restructured itself with so many big
tournaments like in Madrid and the Asia/Pacific area. So with
the new exciting tennis, I think I would want to play well at
those tournaments too."
Williams said she felt the standard of the women's game had
improved in the six years since she dominated it, winning the
'Serena Slam' in 2002-03 when she simultaneously held all four
grand slam titles.
"I think everyone is playing better.
"A lot of the girls now, especially when they play against
me, and probably Venus too, they went to beat the best players
and say that I was able to beat them, or me," she said.
"I feel like sometimes, when people play me they play
extremely hard, which actually makes me a better player.
"I would hope I have improved after five years."
(Editing by Martin Petty)