Serena Williams Focused on Winning Australian Open, Not Her Engagement

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Verbosity hasn’t often been an inclination for Serena Williams and at the start of her 20th season as a tennis superstar she hasn’t developed a penchant for chattiness.

So it came as no surprise that when meeting the international press ahead of the Australian Open on Saturday, she primarily chose cagey over confessions.

At 35, Williams arrives in Melbourne with the chance to win a 23rd career Grand Slam trophy, which would break her shared Open-Era record of 22 Grand Slam titles with Steffi Graf, and place her one Grand Slam title away from equaling Margaret Court’s all-time record of 24 titles.

Williams, however, had that looming possible achievement on her list of subjects not-to-be discussed.

“Oh, I’m not talking about that,” she said. “I’m just here to play and to win, obviously, but just to play.”

That led to wonderment as to whether she’d open the door to divulging any details on her recent engagement to Alexis Ohanian, the co-founder of the social network Reddit. Williams played it mostly coquettish, but didn’t totally shy away from being the future blushing bride.

Asked about the “exciting news” in her personal life, she countered with a sly smile, “Can you elaborate?” then added, “I’m just kidding.”

“It’s been really great,” said Williams, notably not flaunting an engagement ring. “I’ve said from the beginning I just didn’t want to think about it until after Australia because I was, like, Grand Slams mean a lot to me.

“I don’t think I’ve had an opportunity to let everything sink in,” she added. “I won’t allow it to sink in because I’m so focused. It was right in the middle of pre-season. Now I’m on the road, already back at work. I don’t want to get too happy because I want to stay focused.”

The pending marriage supposedly on the back-burner with questions such as whether the part-time fashion designer bride-to-be will create her own wedding dress unanswered, it was back to the basics of tennis.

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SOURCE: USA Today, Sandra Harwitt