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By Erik Gudris | Sunday, August 24, 2014

 
Serena US Open Practice 2014

After several early exits at the Grand Slams, defending US Open Champion Serena Williams talked about her expectations before play starts in New York.

Photo Credit: AP

World No. 1 and defending US Open champion Serena Williams is looking forward to getting underway at the year's last Grand Slam. That's even with her recent poor showings at the other majors this season.

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When asked about her mindset, especially after winning Cincinnati for the first time a few weeks ago, Williams is trying to keep a balanced outlook.

"You know, I played well in that final, but this is a new week. These next two weeks I'm going to have to put that together for hopefully seven matches. Hopefully. If I can do that, I'll definitely have a good chance to be in the tournament for a long time. But we'll see. I'm just going to have to be able to put together that time and those matches."

Williams has lost in early round matches at all three Grand Slams prior to New York. Her first test next week will be against young American Taylor Townsend. Despite all of her experience, Williams knows not to underestimate Townsend.

"Well, she's a lefty. I always wanted to be lefty," Williams said with a smile. "That just in general puts you on a whole new level as a player. She's a very aggressive player. She comes to the net. She makes her shots. You don't really see that in tennis so much. You see players that, you know, stay back and hug the baselines, as I do. But it's good, refreshing, and I think it's the future of tennis just by doing what she does."

While Williams has been, of late, the only American player, man or woman, finding themselves contending for Grand Slams titles, the 17-time major champion sees change on the way, especially on the women's side in terms of winning tournaments.

"We had Madison Keys. She won a tournament just recently. I think if anything, that just shows that she's definitely stepped up to the plate. So many Americans are doing really, really well and getting closer to the finals and making, you know, some big steps by leaps and bounds. I have never felt the pressure. I always felt honored to be holding that trophy as the American and leading American tennis. But I feel like there are so many players now that are willing, ready, and able to take that."

Williams is often asked about her rising status in becoming a tennis immortal based on her Grand Slam titles. Though she hopes to equal Chris Evert and Martina Navratilova in winning 18 career majors, Williams takes that goal in stride.

"Well, that would be just really amazing if I can make it that far. Competition is a little stiff now, so I have to do the best that I can. I can't even think that far, to be honest."

 

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