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Australian Open: Serena Reveals Injury Fears

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Serena Reveals Injury FearsShe cuts an imposing figure on the tennis court, but Serena Williams has been stepping gingerly as she prepares to back up her stellar 2013 season.
The world No. 1 has arrived in Brisbane to begin her preparations for next month’s Australian Open, and she is wary of repeating the successive ankle injuries which have marred her last two campaigns Down Under.

The first struck in the Queensland warm-up event two years ago and then again last January in the opening match in Melbourne – a factor which contributed to the American’s shock fourth-round defeat by then teenager Sloane Stephens.

“I thought about it (at home in Florida during the off season) because I have steps in my room,” Williams was quoted as saying on ksat.com.
“I thought, ‘Gosh, I’m going to tip over these steps. I’m going to tape my ankles extra tight for the next four weeks.’
“If I can get a year without twisting my ankle I think I’ll be good to go.”

Williams overcame both injuries to end 2012 and 2013 as the dominant force in women’s tennis, taking her grand slam haul to 17 titles — five short of Steffi Graf’s record.

Williams’ first opponent in Brisbane will be former world No. 9 Andrea Petkovic, who defeated American Bethanie Mattek-Sands 6-4 7-5 in Sunday’s opening round.
Only four players beat Williams in 82 matches last season, and the German lost their only previous encounter.

The Brisbane event will also feature world No. 2 Victoria Azarenka, who beat Williams in an exhibition in Thailand on Saturday, and Maria Sharapova — making her WTA Tour comeback from a shoulder injury that has sidelined the Russian since August.

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