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Sunday, June 21, 2009

"Venus is everyone's worry"

2009 French Open - Day Three Serena Williams feels she is well prepared for Wimbledon but admits the main obstacle to the title will be Venus.

The 27-year-old lost out in last year's final to her elder sibling, in what was the third championship match played out between the two at SW19.

Serena had won the previous two meetings, in 2002 and 2003, but she is some way behind her sister in terms of Wimbledon titles as Venus has five trophies to her name.

And although the younger Williams is content with her own preparations heading into the tournament, the second seed also has one eye on Venus.

"Venus is everyone's worry," said the American. "She's the best grasscourt player in our generation.

"She has an amazing serve which helps a lot, an amazing return and is really fast. She also has long arms so she just gets everything back.

"It's hard playing a player like that especially on grass where it's faster and you have that much less time to react. She's also a smart player.

"I feel confident and relaxed though. I think that's what I need to feel and no matter what happens I feel happy."

Williams will open her All England challenge against Portuguese qualifier Neuza Silva in what will be her first grasscourt match of the year.

The American has opted to miss both Eastbourne and Birmingham in recent years, the traditional warm-up tournaments for Wimbledon, but the 10-time grand slam winner remains confident she has had enough practice on the green surface heading into SW19.

"I'm prepared for the switch to grass," Williams explained.

"I've been here a while training on grass so I think I have the feel already. I've had a lot of time to prepare.

"I've also been training on the hardcourts in the United States. It's what I've done in the past so I think it works for me.

"I did try playing a grasscourt warm-up tournament a long time ago but it rained about 12 out of the five days I was there. It didn't make sense to continue.

"By the time I got on the court it was soggy and wasn't even grasscourt tennis anymore."

Williams is also hoping to get an early match on the new-look Centre Court, as she has not had the chance to see it with its roof in place.

"I never play on Centre Court until I'm scheduled there," said the world number two. "I love to leave the moment fresh in my mind when I walk out.

"But I would imagine it would be fast if the roof is closed. It's exciting the roof is there."

Williams may be readying herself for her own competition, but she had time to spare a thought for last year's men's champion, Rafael Nadal.

The Spanish world number one withdrew yesterday due to knee troubles, although Williams is confident he will quickly bounce back from the blow.

"I was sad, I'm a huge Nadal fan," she said.

"He's extremely young though and has plenty more Wimbledons ahead. His health is the most important thing and I'm sure he'll be fine."

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