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Zero compromise as Serena prepares to defend title

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Originally published on: 26/02/10 11:41

It’s all or nothing in New York for Serena Williams, as the world No.2 admits that majors are the only tournaments that really matter to her.

The 11-time grand slam champion would go without another tournament victory this year in exchange for the chance to defend her crown at the US Open – something she values much more than the world No.1 ranking.

“If I crashed out at the Open for no reason I’d have to win everything else the rest of the year,” Williams told reporters when asked about her chances of returning to the top of the WTA rankings. “I’d win zero tournaments in order to win the Open again.”

“I’d win zero tournaments in order to win the Open again”

Aside from winning the Australian Open and Wimbledon in 2009, it has been a disappointing year on tour for the younger WIlliams sister. She has only reached one tournament final outside of the majors, losing to Victoria Azarenka in Miami.

Despite this, the American has been vocal in her criticism of the rankings system which, in her eyes, does not recognise that a player currently holding three grand slam titles should be considered world No.1.

Serena, the world No.2, had the opportunity to dethrone Dinara Safina last month as the Russian – still without a major title to her name – struggled for form in the US Open Series.

But a quarter-final defeat in Stanford, third-round exit in Cincinnati and a semi-final loss to eventual champion Elena Dementieva last week in Toronto means the status quo remains – at least until the US Open is over.

“I probably should have won [against Dementieva], but I didn’t,” she said. “I can’t say I was especially feeling the fire but obviously I wanted to do well. I really hope to have another go at her at the US Open.”

“I have to stay focused and consistent and, most importantly, hungry,” the American added after admitting that two grand slam titles was not enough to make 2009 a good year. The US Open might be just the tournament to reinvigorate her interest.

Should Serena successfully defend her crown, not only will she stay in the hunt to claim the year-end No.1 but she will equal compatriot Billie Jean King’s 12 career singles majors, taking her to joint-sixth in the all-time list of grand slam champions.

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