KEY BISCAYNE, Fla. (AP) — Defending champion Serena Williams is a six-time winner at the Sony Open, collecting more trophies than she’s won at any other tournament.
That surpasses the five titles won at three of four Grand Slam events — the Australian Open, Wimbledon and U.S. Open.
The Florida event provides a comfort zone, held not far from where the top-ranked player has lived since she was a preteen. While she also spends many weeks training in Paris, nearby Palm Beach County remains close to her heart.
“I’ve been waiting on this and it feels good to be back here,” Williams said Tuesday. “It is home. It feels home.”
Williams opens the defense of her title Thursday when she plays the winner of the first-round match between Yaroslava Shvedova of Kazakhstan and Francesca Schiavone of Italy.
“I love my fans and love the opportunity to be able to play for them,” Williams said of the South Florida crowds.
She’s entering her fourth tournament of the year after winning the Brisbane title in January against Victoria Azarenka.
However, a bad back has taken its toll. She lost in the fourth round of the Australian Open to Ana Ivanovic and in Dubai, she lost in the semifinals to 23rd-ranked Alize Cornet. Williams had insisted the back was better, but she clearly had trouble reaching up for her serve against the Frenchwoman.
“The back is good,” she said, smiling. “It’s much better. It’s really good, actually. I’ve been doing tons of treatment to make sure it stays loose, so I don’t have any problems.”
The 32-year-old Williams, a winner of 58 career titles, is considered the best of her generation, if not of all time.
Her achievements tend to lead to the assumption that whenever she plays, she’s going to win. While it’s not a given, she doesn’t mind having that kind of burden.
“There is a tremendous amount of pressure when you step on the court,” Williams said. “It’s bigger news for me to lose than it is to win. Usually it’s big, front cover news if I lose.
“But I don’t look at it as pressure. Billie Jean King always told me, ‘pressure is a privilege.'”
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This Week’s Celebrity Instagrams (11/26-12/2)
30 photos Launch gallery
1. Little Legend and Puddy 😍😍😍😍
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2. "You on point Phife?" "all the time,Tip". 💥 #bannedfromnormal
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3. Vegan! The Impossible burger at Crossroads
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4. Lawrence #BeforeandAfterEpisodes 1-4: 184lbs 13% body fatEpisode 8: 196lbs 8% body fat S/O @coachdaveboxing with the works outs and @kildareriordan with the nutrition
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5. Jus haaaanngin out
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6. Meanwhile back at home in Atlanta GA someone mad they not on the 🛳. 😳
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7. No limits... Photo cred: Chris Bridges @ludacris
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8. new new
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9. Apparently my 260lbs is too much for the actual vines in the Hawaiian jungles to hold me without breaking and me falling hundreds of feet. So for safety purposes, I'm forced to swing thru #Jumanjj on wires strong enough to hold 12 adult buffaloes and 1 adult Rock. #OnSet #Jumanji #IronicallyIEatBuffaloDailyForLunch #MoreManThanNatureKnowsWhatToDoWith
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10. hey ma! 🎎#wcw 💙
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11. Surprise visit to our factories!!! #GoodAmerican #USA
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13. Peachy Keen 🔥✨⚡️
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14. If this don't look thankful I don't know what does. Happy Thanksgiving to you and yours. #UltraBlessed #24kMagic #SweetPotatoFly
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15. Late nights @nbcmarlon with the writers... we in here!!!
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16. There goes my baaaaaaaaabbbbyyyyy #QueenKingMagic!!! We're up to something! Ira BIG!!! Stay out our buisness -
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17. You want to win every game you play but when you come home to these faces... who cares. #ILoveYouGirls best part of my day, everyday!
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18. Steady,steady..... full size jenga.. "I got this one "???? Or do I ?
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19. Cornrows kind of day 😉@dontaysavoy2 you convinced me and I love. ❤️️
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20. #BrotherlyLove #tbt
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22. #basel #TeamLOVE @kingcombs
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23. Just introduced a special screening of @directher 's groundbreaking (must see) documentary @13thfilm with my brother @themichaelealy | @unitedblackout #blackoutblackfriday
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24. Me & Vanessa Williams giving #DuckLips #Pose on the set of #DaytimeDivas @vh1 - Coming Soon to a tv near you. Lol. - My make up done by @makeupsurgeon
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25. This picture just makes me wanna praise the Lord, you hear me!!!!!! Yes Lord brotha #TEDDYCAMPBELL What a #man !!! You are everything right on this picture husband ......... #gorgeous #stylish #classy #strong #masculine #king #sexy #debonair #gentlemenstyle And that #bible in your hand just seals the deal for me (probably cause i know that, that is what helped you become just as amazing as you look😘). While my heart and mind experiences the goodness of God at #church on Sundays, my eyes experiences the goodness of Teddy😍. Amen somebody🙌🏽. "Bless the Lord oh my soul and all that is within me bless his holy name" #myman #myhusband #goodman #blackman #dapperman #godlyman #goodfather #mybestfriend
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26. Yesterday was my mama's 53rd birthday!!!!! Got to celebrate with her all day. If this is what I have to look forward to I can't wait. Looking like a soft bucket a cocoa butter. Yaaaaaaaaaas! 😍😍😍 love you mommy!
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27. "Shout out to @PureAtlanta for getting the family right"....I'm loving this jogger. 😍😍
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28. This pic warms my heart ❤️ #myLogiebeans and aunt aunt umba @itowandabraxton 😘
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29. You will always be my baby😜. #HappyBirthdayReginae #mybaby18
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30. GC "Gods Child" Red on Red SweatSuit available now at www.MonicaApparel.com ... Take Your Crown wherever you go!! I'm pictured in a Medium... Go to the site now for other options ... cc: @trukernell
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