Evergreen Serena Williams hungry for more Slams
With her name freshly engraved onto the Australian Open trophy, Serena Williams feels she can play on indefinitely and is intent on increasing her tally of 19 Grand Slams.
Melbourne: With her name freshly engraved onto the Australian Open trophy, Serena Williams feels she can play on indefinitely and is intent on increasing her tally of 19 Grand Slams.
The American great, 33, scoffed at talk of retirement after shooting down Maria Sharapova in straight sets to win her sixth title at Melbourne Park, becoming the oldest woman to ever lift the trophy.
Williams has endured her share of injury scares during a long career, including a life-threatening pulmonary embolism in 2011 that sidelined her for 12 months.
But she said modern medicine had helped keep her going.
"I can play as long as I like now," Williams said after moving to clear second on the list of all-time Open-era Slam winners behind Steffi Graf on 22.
"With technology and stuff, players are able to play longer. It just depends on how long I want to play
"I really don`t know (how long that will be). I know I`m having fun, I love winning championships, I love holding trophies up at the end of the week and more than anything, I love to do the work to get there.
"When that stops, I`ll probably know that I`ve had enough."
She said winning the opening Slam of the season meant the pressure was off for the rest of 2014, making the possibilities seem endless.
The French Open?: "I want to win Roland Garros."
Wimbledon?: "Hmmm, I want to get Wimbledon, that one`s been eluding me for quite some time and it`s annoying me."
A calendar Grand Slam, which would involve defending her US Open title?: "Oh my gosh, I`m not going to answer that," throwing her head back with laughter.
Graf`s record is definitely on her radar but she said it still seemed a long way off.
"I would love to get to 22 -- I mean 19 was very difficult to get to. Took me 33 years to get here, so I would love to get there.
"But I have to get to 20 first, and then I have to get to 21. There`s so many wonderful young players coming up, so it will be a very big task."
Williams said the level of emerging talent meant she needed to act quickly if she wanted more majors, although she sent young guns such as Garbine Muguruza, Madison Keys and Elina Svitolina packing at Melbourne Park.
"So many young players are coming up and doing really well, that`s why I really cherish these moments, you never know when it`s going to happen again," she said.
"People are getting better by the day."
The American said the embolism, when she needed surgery after blood clots were found on both lungs, had made her determined to enjoy her career and extend it as long as possible.
"I didn`t think I`d ever be back on the court. I was in the hospital thinking `am I going to make it out?`," she said.
"I was super cool, I didn`t want to alarm my parents, and I remember asking the doctor `will I be able to play tennis again? It was very interesting. It`s helped me savour everything a little bit more."
Williams said she did not stop to consider her achievements, preferring to move on to the next challenge.
"I don`t reflect on it too much, I feel if I do reflect on it I`ll be very excited, happy and maybe even impressed," she said.
"I think that would be a hinderance to me, I would become too complacent. Then I`d be happy and go on with my life, but I think I should stay in tennis right now -- I`m having too much fun."