STANFORD, California, July 26 - Serena Williams has only played a handful of matches since her comeback from foot surgery and a life-threatening illness, but that won’t deter her from attempting to reclaim the top spot as soon as possible.
After trouncing Australian Anastasia Rodionova 6-0 6-0 in the first round of the Stanford Classic, the 13-times Grand Slam champion said that while she should be patient given what she has gone through during the past year, that approach is not in her makeup.
“I want to get back to the top,” Williams told reporters. “And I have no patience. But maybe this is teaching me to be more patient. And it’ll come, but not necessarily — No. 1 is great, but I really want to be able to do well in the Grand Slams.”
Williams returned to the WTA tour at the grasscourt tournament in Eastbourne, winning one match before falling to world number three Vera Zvonareva.
As the defending champion at Wimbledon, she won three rounds before going to down to France’s Marion Bartoli.
While she cautioned at Wimbledon that she shouldn’t be expected to do much given that she nearly died while experiencing a pulmonary embolism in February, she was less than pleased with her early exit.
After the tournament, she flew home to Los Angeles and immediately started practicing.
“Definitely I was disappointed even though I shouldn’t have been, so I hit the courts,” she said.
“I didn’t deserve a break. I didn’t practice on the plane ride back, so that was about it.
Entering Stanford, Williams’s ranking had fallen to No. 169 as she only has two tournaments in her points total. It is her lowest ranking since she began playing semi-regularly in 1997.
Williams needed to use special injury exemption to enter the U.S. Open, but if she does well at her scheduled tournaments at Stanford, Toronto and Cincinnati, she may be seeded anyway.
Williams could face rival Maria Sharapova in the quarter-finals of Stanford, and said that while she relishes their clashes, she has bigger goals ahead.
Few players have been able to return to the tour after a year off and win a major shortly after, but Williams considers herself a player apart and has her sights set on her fourth U.S. Open title.
“If I don’t think I have the chance to do well or be on top or to win, then...” she said.
“I think if I focus I can do it. I’ve always said that I think when I’m playing my best, no one can beat me. So I’ve just gotta get back to the level of playing my best. Hopefully I can get there again. That’d be awesome.”
(Editing by Ossian Shine. To comment on this story email firstname.lastname@example.org)
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