Miami - World number one Serena Williams,
who lost finals at the Australian Open and last week at Indian Wells, is
counting on the Miami Open to revamp her title-winning form.
The 34-year-old American is top seed for
the WTA and ATP hard-court event as well as the three-time defending champion
with eight wins overall.
"This is a tournament I've grown up
with. This is my home," Williams said Tuesday. "Things click for me
The 21-time Grand Slam singles champion
failed to add another major title to her haul in January, falling to Germany's
Angelique Kerber in the Australian Open final. And she lost to Victoria
Azarenka of Belarus at the Indian Wells final, dropping back-to-back finals for
the first time since 2004.
"Feeling positive and really
good," Williams said. "You have to keep going. You can't stop. That's
kind of my attitude. At this point in my career, I'm just having a lot of
Watching Azarenka show top form after
battles the past two seasons with nagging foot injuries helped motivate
Williams in more ways than one.
"We all know I hate losing more than
anything," Williams said. "Seeing someone else do well motivates me.
It's a rivalry. It's a friendly rivalry but it's an intense rivalry.
"It was really impressive. She has
been through a lot. She has always been a really good player."
While seeing a star fall short of the crown
could offer encouragement to sharks circling ever closer, none of Williams'
top-rated rivals saw a drop in form coming in an event she has dominated for
"Always when she's in the tournament,
she's the favourite," said Spain's Carla Suarez Navarro.
"She's not like a machine or a robot.
She can't win every tournament she plays. She's always the best because she
always wants more."
No one realises that more than Kerber, who
imposed a fifth career Grand Slam singles final loss upon Williams.
"She is still the best player,"
Kerber said. "She's still the number one. She is still a champion."
But Kerber, who like Azarenka could see
Williams in the Miami final, has a big confidence boost after her Melbourne
"I recognise I am a Grand Slam
champion. I have a lot more things to do," Kerber said. "It's a
different pressure than I had before.
"I have much more confidence inside of
me. It feels different but I know I need to go with what worked because this is
why I had the highlight of my career."
Two-time Wimbledon champion Petra Kvitova
says there is less shock in Williams losing but she is still the player to
"She's always the target,"
Kvitova said. "But I'm not surprised. Women's tennis is always open and
the level is really close. Vika just played very good."
Azarenka's return impressed Poland's
Agnieszka Radwanska, who was stunned by both Williams defeats.
"I didn't expect her to lose in
Australia," she said. "And back here Vika played great tennis. She
was on fire. You could see she was back."
Williams said her focus was on the three
remaining Grand Slam events of the year more so than the Olympics. And she did
say she hopes to become a mother one day.
"I want to have kids," Williams
said. "I am pushing the envelope, though."