World No. 1 Serena Williams is optimistic about the 2014 season. After winning two Grand Slam titles last season, brining her career total to 17 singles titles, the American is now hoping that she can join the likes of Chris Evert, Martina Navratilova and Steffi Graf, who are the only females to hold higher Grand Slam records than herself in the Open Era.
The top seed at the Australian Open is now just one Slam away from tying Everts’ and Navratilova’s 18 Slams. The Open Era record-holder is Steffi Graf, who managed 22 titles throughout her career. Margaret Court holds the all-time record with 24.
“It would mean a lot to be on the same level as such great players,” Williams said in a pre-tournament news conference Saturday. “I still have a lot of work to do. I obviously want to reach that level, but I’m not there yet.”
“Hopefully, I’ll get there,” she added.
Last week, Williams made a perfect start to her 2014 season, when she took part in the Brisbane International, eventually winning the title with victories over Andrea Petkovic, Dominika Cibulkova, Maria Sharapova and Victoria Azarenka – all without dropping a single set. Now, after successfully defending her title in Brisbane, the American is looking to improve on her performance last year in Melbourne, when she lost to budding American talent Sloane Stephen in the quarter-final stage of the tournament.
Williams is scheduled to meet Australian wildcard entrant Ashleigh Barty in the opening round of the Australian Open. The contest will be the final night session match at Rod Laver Arena on Monday.