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Serena Williams Talks To Press In Australia

Saturday, January 12, 2008

Having become just the second unseeded woman since 1969 to win the Daphne Akhurst Memorial Cup last year, Serena Williams could be entitled to feeling like she has a target on her back heading into the 2008 tournament.

Not that that will worry the 26-year-old American, who will be seeking a fourth Australian Open title when the event gets underway on Monday.

"Last year I was completely under the radar and had absolutely no expectations from anyone and that really made me want to kind of prove everyone wrong," Williams said.

And so she did.

Entering the event ranked 81st in the world following six months out of the game during 2006, Williams proved her critics wrong with wins over No.5 seed Nadia Petrova, No.11 Jelena Jankovic, No.16 Shahar Peer and No.10 Nicole Vaidisova before crushing top seed Maria Sharapova 6-1 6-2 in the final.

And while expectations this year will be high, Williams said she wasn't feeling any pressure.

"This year it's completely opposite (to last year) where I have … a lot of expectations but I'm still here for me more than anything," she told reporters following a practice session with sister Venus.

"I don't feel any pressure at all. I am excited to be here. I just feel like I'm having so much fun every day.

Williams, the No.7 seed, will take on Australian Jarmila Gajdosova in the first round.

She also reserved special praise for 31-year-old Lindsay Davenport, who gave birth to a boy, Jagger Jonathan Leach, seven months ago.

"She looks better than me!" Williams laughed.

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