Williams goes to NZ to prep for Aussie Open

CHASING 23RD GRAND SLAM: Williams has been trying to breaking the current record of 22 Grand Slam titles which she shares with Steffi Graf.


    Sep 29, 2016

    Williams goes to NZ to prep for Aussie Open


    SERENA Williams will headline the Auckland Classic in January, organisers said yesterday, hailing her appearance as a major coup for the New Zealand tournament.

    The 22-time Grand Slam winner has never played in the Jan 2-7 tournament before, preferring to warm-up for the Australian Open at the Hopman Cup in Perth in recent years.

    Williams, the reigning Wimbledon champion, is currently ranked No. 2 in the world after Angelique Kerber broke her 186-week reign at the top.

    She is likely to regain the No. 1 spot if she can claim a seventh Australian Open crown at the season-opening Grand Slam in Melbourne.

    The 35-year-old American said a good run in Auckland would set her up well for a tilt at her 23rd major, giving her sole custody of the Open-era record she currently shares with Steffi Graf.

    "(It's) the first event of the year. It can really set you up for a great run in Melbourne and I will be looking to start my year strongly in Auckland," she said.