Thứ Tư, 6 tháng 1, 2016

Serena Williams and Caroline Wozniacki: Tennis' perfect match

It can be tough and lonely at the top, but Serena Williams has got a pretty cool sidekick to keep her company.
Although there are nine years and 21 grand slam titles between them, the American tennis star's friendship with Caroline Wozniacki is the real deal.
Their head-to-head record might be a little one-sided -- Williams has a 10-1 record against the Dane -- but off the court they are genuinely close.
"Caroline is really honest, she's really real," Williams told CNN's Open Court.
"She's one of my true friends that will tell me the truth no matter what because she doesn't have anything to gain or to lose, and that's what I love about her."
Friendships between individual athletes at the very top of professional sport can be rare -- especially when millions of dollars of prize money is at stake.
But Williams is taking a completely different tack to other former champions.
Steffi Graf, the 22-time grand slam winner, was a rather private person, while Maria Sharapova is known to keep herself to herself while on tour.
Yet Williams is grateful to have Wozniacki alongside her as she negotiates life on tour, where players spend days and months away from friends and family.
"She's really sweet, she's really, really loving -- but most of all she is kind and she is giving," Williams added.
"I'm a little older than Caroline, but mentally she's older than me so it really works out great."
The friendship between the two women has been well documented -- notably on Instagram.
The dominant force in women's tennis, the 34-year-old Williams enjoyed one of the most impressive seasons of her illustrious career in 2015.
She won three of the four grand slams and is the oldest woman to have held the world No.1 ranking.
Wozniacki, whose only win against Williams came in Miami three years ago, has yet to sample the taste of grand slam success.
Now ranked 17, the former world No.1 is rebuilding her career after reaching the summit at the age of just 20.
The past year has been difficult for Wozniacki, with her form affected by a spate of injuries.
It was particularly disappointing given her success in reaching the 2014 U.S. Open final -- her first at a grand slam since 2009 -- where she was beaten in straight sets by Williams.
But the two have grown closer since, particularly after Wozniacki's breakup with golf star Rory McIlroy in May that year -- which came after the wedding invitations had been sent out.
Rory McIlroy breaks off engagement with Caroline Wozniacki
Rory McIlroy breaks off engagement with Caroline Wozniacki
"She's always been there for me -- even when I was going through tough times," Wozniacki told CNN.
"She was the first one there but she's also been there for some of the greatest and most fun times."
Williams was one of the first people on the phone after the news broke, and they have cemented their friendship since -- whether it be on the dance floor or at a basketball game.
It turns out Williams' prodigious tennis ability isn't her only talent.
"She sings great karaoke," says Wozniacki. "She's a great cook. She says she doesn't like sweets, but she also steals my sweets when I have them lying around."

Serena Williams: Knee injury forces world No. 1 to pull out of Hopman Cup

World No.1 Serena Williams has withdrawn from the Hopman Cup as she continues to manage a knee injury ahead of her Australian Open title defense.
The Hopman Cup's Twitter feed confirmed Williams had pulled out of the tournament, after the American had to cut short her first match of 2016 because of an inflamed left knee, leaving the court a set and 2-1 down against Australia's Jarmila Wolfe.
Earlier in the week the injury had also ensured Williams had been unable to play her opening match at the traditional team warmup tournament ahead of the new season's first grand slam.
Serena Williams: World No.1 pulls out of Hopman Cup opener due to injury
Serena Williams: World No. 1 hit by injury
"I just have some inflammation that's been going away very slowly. It is going away but it needs a little more time," Williams told reporters at the Perth event.
"Usually I'm super-fast and I wasn't moving the way I like to move. Mainly I was afraid to move.
    "I've been training really hard in the off season and pushing myself beyond the limits so a little rest, a little treatment, a day or two off will make a world of difference.
    "It's not even a bump -- just a really minor thing in the road and I'll fly over it."
    The 34-year-old is coming off a brilliant 2015 season in which she won the Australian Open, French Open and Wimbledon -- taking her tally to 21 grand slam singles titles -- before a surprise defeat in the U.S. Open semifinals.
    "The whole year was great," Williams reflected. "But it was also physically very, very difficult. I'm looking forward to this year and making the best of it."
    Asked whether she had decided whether to play at the Australian Open, which begins in Melbourne on January 18, Williams added: "I'm just taking it a day at a time still. I'm not making any decisions now."
    Williams' injury has added to concerns over the fitness of a cluster of stars in the women's side of the draw at the Australian Open.
    Last year's runner-up Maria Sharapova withdrew from the Brisbane International, where she was the defending champion, because of an arm injury.
    "I hurt my forearm in practice a couple of days ago and need to withdraw as a precaution," the fourth-ranked Russian told reporters.
    Soon after, world No. 2 Simona Halep also scratched her name from the contenders' list in Brisbane, citing a left leg problem.
    In the men's half of the Brisbane draw, world No. 3 Roger Federer opens his title defense Thursday against German qualifier Tobias Kamke.
    "People like to talk about this tournament as a preparation for bigger things, but I don't really see it that way," Federer told reporters. "Every tournament I play is important to me. This is a tournament I want to win."
    Federer is the top seed in the men's draw, with world No. 2 Andy Murray on duty for Great Britain in the Hopman Cup and No. 1 Novak Djokovic competing in the Qatar Open in Doha alongside 2009 Australian Open winner Rafael Nadal.