It is not so much what Serena Williams says on the eve of a tournament, more the way that she says it.
I’ve been working so hard and doing so much work, so…Maybe I had a bad attitude out there.” • Australian Open: A to Z of first slam of year She did acknowledge that she was short of match practice – exceptionally short, when you consider that she retired halfway through her only outing since the US Open semi-final.But she added that “I should be able to focus on the fact that I have played a lot of matches [in her career]”.Camila Giorgi, a tiny but combative Italian, missed out on a seeding by just a single rankings place.And her all-action style will present a stiff test for Williams’s knees, which have been a constant point of debate since she pulled out of her planned warm-up event in Perth.
In the long term, too, this is shaping up as an intriguing year.
Williams always focuses intensely on the Olympics – an event where she has already claimed four gold medals from three different Games, and takes particular pride in winning the ladies’ doubles with her sister Venus.
But if her body is beginning to betray her, one wonders what will happen to her motivation after a busy late summer that includes Rio and the US Open in quick succession.
Photographs taken at Williams’s training session on Saturday raised further concerns.
They showed her sitting in a chair on the baseline with her back to the net, while a trainer knelt at her side.
Asked whether she had developed further niggles, she replied: “No, I’m a little tired today.