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Serena's self-belief shows no sign of wavering

IF winning the Australian Open ever came down to a simple test of self-belief, Serena Williams would win every time.

Ranked second heading into the Australian Open, she laughed at the notion she was not the best in the world.

"I would feel crazy sitting here, being a professional tennis player, saying that someone is better than me," she told a news conference at the Sydney International yesterday.

"I don't care if I was 1000 in the world, I would still feel like I was the best... that's just me trying to be positive with myself."

The American has always been one of the most powerful and athletic players on the women's tour but her greatest strength lies within.

While other players succumb to nerves and attacks of doubt, Serena never loses faith in her ability to win.

That attitude has helped her to amass nine grand slam titles, including three Australian Open crowns.

She won her first Melbourne Park trophy in 2003 when she was the dominant player on the tour, completing her collection of all four grand slams.

Two years later, she showed her incredible fighting spirit when she saved three match points in her semi-final against Maria Sharapova to win a second title.

She then provided a lasting reminder of why she could never be underestimated when, ranked 81st in the world, she won her third in 2007.

"Whatever you do, you have to believe you're the best if you want to be the best, that's just kind of how I do," she said.

Serena's confidence is often mistaken for arrogance but it is a trait she openly shares with her older sister Venus.


"I don't believe anyone's better than me," she said.

"But when I talk to Venus she says the same thing. It's a really weird conversation."

The two sisters have been installed as joint favourites for the Open despite Serena's surprise loss to Elena Dementieva in the semi-finals of the Sydney International yesterday.

Serena was well below her best but had already shown enough to suggest she is on course for the season's opening major, saving a total of seven match points in her run to the semis.

"It was good to have a few matches under my belt getting ready for Melbourne. I feel like I'm going play a lot better than I did this week," she said.

"My main goal obviously is to go to Melbourne and do the best that I can do.

"I'm not superwoman. If I'm not playing well, obviously I'm not feeling that great about it.

"But I just try to speak positive and hopefully that will kind of carry over."


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