January 2, 2012
Serena 'never really liked sports'
By SPORTS NETWORK
BRISBANE, AUSTRALIA - Playing her first match since losing to Samantha Stosur in September's U.S. Open final, Serena Williams was an easy opening-round winner Monday at the 2012 season-opening Brisbane International tennis event.
The fourth-seeded Williams waltzed past South African Chanelle Scheepers 6-2, 6-3 on the hardcourts at Queensland Tennis Centre. The American star slapped seven aces, while Scheepers piled up eight double faults in a losing effort.
Williams was asked if her four-month layoff was an indication that she may have fallen out of love with tennis.
"It's not that I've fallen out of love -- I've never really liked sports, I never understood how I became an athlete," Williams said laughing. "I don't want anything that has to do with working physically."
"If it involves sitting down or shopping I am excellent at that. I don't love tennis today -- but I can't live without it so I am still here."
The former world No. 1 Williams, who will head to Melbourne later this month seeking a sixth career Australian Open title, will face young Serb Bojana Jovanovski on Wednesday.
This week's top seed in Brisbane is the Aussie favorite Stosur, who opened her 2012 season with a 6-2, 6-3 handling of Belarusian Anastasiya Yakimova on Monday.
Stosur, who stunned Williams in the 2011 U.S. Open final to capture her first career Grand Slam singles title, will face Czech Iveta Benesova in the round of 16.
In other action involving seeds on Day 2, No. 2 German Andrea Petkovic held off Israeli Shahar Peer 7-6 (7-2), 1-6, 6-3, No. 6 former world No. 1 Jelena Jankovic of Serbia stopped Spaniard Carla Suarez Navarro 6-4, 6-2, and No. 7 Russian Anastasia Pavlyuchenkova was leading Polona Hercog 6-1, 4-1 when the helpless Slovenian retired.
Petkovic was last year's Brisbane runner-up to Czech slugger Petra Kvitova, who is not defending her title this week.
Another former No. 1 advanced on Monday when Serbian Ana Ivanovic handled Austrian Tamira Paszek 6-3, 6-3.
Additional wins came for Estonian Kaia Kanepi, Czech Barbora Zahlavova Strycova, Russian qualifier Nina Bratchikova, Kazakhstan's Galina Voskoboeva, and American Vania King. Zahlavova Strycova should have her hands full with the world No. 10 Petkovic on Tuesday.
Also on Tuesday, third-seeded French Open runner-up Francesca Schiavone will meet Voskoboeva and fifth-seeded former No. 1 Kim Clijsters will encounter Ivanovic. The 2010 Brisbane titlist Clijsters was last year's Australian Open champ.
The winner of this $220,000 tournament will collect $110,000.