• Australian Open

Serena sets her sights - and schedule - on more slams

ESPN staff
February 1, 2015
Serena Williams with her Australian Open trophy © Getty Images

Serena Williams will adjust her playing schedule to focus on more grand slam titles after claiming the 19th of her career in Melbourne on Saturday.

Williams extended her winning streak against Maria Sharapova to 16 matches with a hard-fought 6-3 7-6(5) victory under the roof on Rod Laver Arena, claiming a sixth Australian Open title and first since 2010.

It means the 33-year-old moved out of a tie with Chris Evert and Martina Navratilova on 18 grand slam singles titles and within three of the open-era record of 22 held by Steffi Graf.

Williams acknowledged it will not be easy to win three - or even more - titles given the level of competition from the likes of world number two Sharapova, double Wimbledon champion Petra Kvitova and rising stars Madison Keys and Eugenie Bouchard.

But the world number one has now won two in succession since adopting a more relaxed attitude after realising she was trying too hard to catch Evert and Navratilova by winning title number 18. And she will play less regular WTA Tour events to ensure she is at her peak when the next Grand Slam event arrives with the French Open in Paris from May 24 to June 7.

"When I think about Paris, I don't think about 20. I just think about winning there," Williams said. "It's the one slam I don't have more than two titles. I only have two there.

"So I think now that I got this under my belt, I'm a little more comfortable with my ranking now. Now I can really move. I did so bad last year at Roland Garros and Wimbledon as well [losing in the second and third round respectively].

"So those are the two I really have my eye on, because I would like to do better at those. And I know I can do better. I'm not going into it as thinking of number 20, but I want to win Roland Garros.

"I definitely am not going to play as much this year and I'm just going to go for everything when I do play. But I'm not playing as much. I try to be more focused in every tournament I get into."

In a long acceptance speech, Williams made a point of thanking her coach Patrick Mouratoglou for masterminding her success, later revealing that even with 18 Grand Slam titles already under her belt, she was not always confident of making it to number 19.

"He's helped me a great deal," Williams added. "You know, there's some times when a player doesn't believe in themselves.

"Even me, I feel like, 'Gosh, I'm not going to be able to beat this person. I'm not going to be able to play well. I don't feel confident in this shot today. I don't feel confident in that'.

"He really stood up this past two weeks, even hitting and doing things that he's never done before, just really encouraging and giving me great strategy on the court before every match; wonderful strategies, what to do, what to expect, as well as how to play a better game, not for today but for tomorrow."

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