Serena serene as she powers to Brisbane title
Serena Williams feels she is in career-best form after one of the most dominant tournament successes ever at the Brisbane International.
Serenity is propelling Serena Williams to even greater heights as she prepares to enter the Australian Open the hottest of favourites to claim a sixth crown.
At age 31, Williams feels she is in career-best form after one of the most dominant tournament successes of her 47 WTA titles, at the Brisbane International.
The 15-time grand slam champion lost just 14 games in total en route to lifting the Evonne Goolagong Trophy on Saturday night.
Nowhere was her class and power more apparent than in a 50-minute final demolition of Russian world No.36 Anastasia Pavlyuchenkova.
While flat-hitting Pavlyuchenkova entered the final in good touch, she admitted she had no answers in the 6-2 6-1 blitzing.
Williams has been enjoying new levels of success since teaming with French coach Patrick Mouratoglou last May, winning 35 of her past 36 matches.
Renowned as one of the fieriest competitors on tour, Williams was sanctioned after memorable outbursts at the 2009 and 2011 US Opens and revealed on Saturday she’d made a concerted effort to be more controlled on court since.
“I really think starting in 2011, the summer, I really started being more calm on the court and just relaxing more, if it’s possible for me to relax,” said Williams.
“I feel better when I’m more calm.”
In her hot streak since May, Williams has collected six titles, including Wimbledon, the Olympics, US Open and WTA Championships.
“I was looking at a lot of old matches on YouTube, and I feel like right now I’m playing some of my best tennis,” she said.
“I feel like I want to do better and play better still, and I’ve always felt like I could play better.”
With defending champion and world No.1 Victoria Azarenka (toe) and world No.2 Maria Sharapova (collarbone) battling injuries, Williams has plenty of reason for confidence going into the Australian Open where a triumph would propel her to the No.1 ranking.
“It really is my favorite Grand Slam to play,” said Williams.
I feel like if there is one tournament that everyone is rooting a lot for me is in Melbourne. I really don’t get that everywhere I play. I really appreciate it and I really love it. ”
She warned there was still room for improvement in her game, noting her first serve percentage was a mere 53 against Pavlyuchenkova.
From those, she won 20 of 22 points.
While it’s Azarenka and Sharapova who owe Brisbane’s tournament organisers and the local fans a return in 2014, Williams indicated she’d be back at Pat Rafter Arena to defend her title.
“It’s a great week to play, and then you have a week off,” she said, labelling it the best preparation for Melbourne Park.
“We had eight of the top 10 players initially in the draw, so I think it’s a really good tournament to get started.”
Pavlyuchenkova still departed Brisbane, a premier WTA event, with the same prizemoney as women’s runner-up ($87,021) as the men’s champion.