Venus eyes number one spot
Tue 06 Jan, 05:23 PM
HONG KONG (AFP) - Wimbledon champion Venus Williams is eyeing regaining the top spot in women's tennis as she gears up for another tilt at the season's opening Grand Slam, the Australian Open.
Williams, who reached the number one ranking in early 2002 and is currently sixth in the world, finished 2008 on a high note, winning her first year-end WTA Tour Championships.
The American, who has won seven Grand Slam singles titles, including five Wimbledon crowns, said reaching the top of the women's game remained a realistic goal.
"I'm happy with everything. I worked really hard last year to get what I had to and (am) definitely proud of those achievements," she said.
"This year I feel I'm in a great position to move forward to number one but of course I've got to do it and that will be the fun part. I will try to get there."
Williams, preparing for the Australian Open later this month, is captaining the US team in Hong Kong's World Team Challenge, featuring teams representing Europe, Russia, the Americas and Asia-Pacific.
The European team at the event, which starts Wednesday and runs until January 10, includes current world number one Jelena Jankovic.
Williams said she was feeling fit after a long break and was looking forward to some tough matches in Hong Kong.
"I had a really good off-season. I think this one was the longest one ever. I did four weeks with no tennis, that was pretty amazing. I enjoyed it too much. Breaks are a luxury so it was a wonderful luxury. I'm feeling good."
And Williams, 28, dismissed thoughts of retirement, saying she planned to play on until at least the 2012 London Olympics.
"When you're at the top of your game you're not planning on retirement and walking away. You're just planning hopefully the next victory so that's grand right now," she said.
"I love my job. I love hitting balls, running and jumping, chasing after that ball. I love what I do so I think that's what keeps me motivated," she added.
Williams, who has won the US Open twice, said the French Open and the Australian Open, neither of which she has won, are high on her list of objectives for 2009 but if she had a choice, she would pick another Wimbledon.
"Wimbledon means the most to me," she said.
And the American said she was planning a busy schedule of doubles with her sister, world number two Serena, with whom she won the Olympics doubles title in Beijing.
"We're going to try and play all the Slams. We'll see what happens but we love winning those titles and I think if we could play more often we could just keep getting them, so we'll see."
The Australian Open, the first of the season's four Grand Slams, starts on January 19.