Serena Williams is confident the virus that forced her to pull out of Wimbledon this year is behind her, going into the US Open.
The world number one will be aiming to win her sixth title at Flushing Meadows, and her preparations for the tournament were halted when she decided not to participate in the Bastad Open in July, and it was feared she may not be fit for the last Grand Slam of the year.
Having been knocked out in the third round of the women’s singles on the first Saturday at Wimbledon by Frenchwoman Alize Cornet in the third round, the signs of the virus became apparent three days later, as she was not able to complete a women’s doubles match alongside her sister Venus, after failing to make a valid serve in her opening service game.
Return to action
The American was then bedridden for three days, but she returned to action at the Bank of the West Classic in Stanford later in July, and she now feels in a good position about her fitness.
The 17-time Grand Slam winner told reporters after a practice session: “I feel really good about my condition, but this is a fresh new week, and I want to feel good these next two weeks, not just the last few weeks.
“I think there’s 127 other girls who obviously want to win, and are really hungry for a Grand Slam too, so hopefully I’ll be the last one standing, but we’ll see.”
Williams will be aiming to defend her title in New York, and she won her fifth title at her home Grand Slam by beating Belarusian Victoria Azarenka 7-5, 6-7, 6-1 in the 2013 final.
The 32-year-old’s form suggests that she is in prime condition to win the title again, as she has lost just one match in the three tournaments she has played in since Wimbledon, with tournament victories coming in Stanford and Cincinnati, along with a run to the semi-finals in Montreal, where she lost to Venus Williams.
A tricky start
She will begin her 2014 campaign at the hard court Grand Slam against 19-year-old compatriot Taylor Townsend, one of the biggest teenage prospects in the women’s game, and it will be the first meeting between the two players.
The US Open is the final chance for Williams to win a Grand Slam in 2014, as she is yet to reach the quarter-finals of a major this year, having been knocked out in the fourth round of the Australian Open by Serbia’s Ana Ivanovic and the second round of the French Open by Garbine Muguruza of Spain before her Wimbledon loss to Cornet.
But a strong performance on the WTA Tour has allowed her to keep her place at the top of the rankings and seedings for the US Open, as she has won five WTA titles this year.