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Serena, Simona downplay injury worries to focus on silverware

  • Dan Imhoff

The thought of moving house in the midst of a pandemic is enough to send most into a cold sweat.

Serena Williams, though, isn’t most people.

MORE: Serena's Grand Slam quest continues at AO 2021

When said house is a 1347sqm three-year labour of love and your first family home, the process becomes easier to comprehend – a haven of sorts, given the “world has gone through so much” in the past year.

Having made the move last July, Williams opened her doors to Architectural Digest magazine, a shoot that suited the 39-year-old down to the ground, given she had spent so much time away from home for more than two decades.

“Yeah, that was fun. We started that process a long time ago. I did that build-out with Venus’s interior design company, which is well renowned in Florida,” Williams said on Saturday ahead of her 20th Australian Open campaign.

“That was their first [magazine] cover piece. It was a long, long, long project. It was actually a perfect shoot. They came, and I didn't have to go on set, it was there.”

MORE: Women’s draw analysis: Serena’s tricky path to history

After two weeks in quarantine and an exhibition hit-out in Adelaide, Williams notched two match wins before she withdrew ahead of her scheduled Yarra Valley Classic semifinal against Ashleigh Barty on Saturday, citing a shoulder complaint.

The No.10 seed allayed any cause for alarm as she prepared for another pursuit of that elusive 24th major at Melbourne Park.

“Yeah, I feel pretty good. I've gotten a lot of treatment already on my shoulder. But I'm super confident it’s going to be great,” Williams said. 

Serena downplayed the severity of her shoulder injury on Saturday

Despite being someone who hankers for time at home, Williams admits she did not experience any real negatives from her two weeks confined to an Adelaide hotel.

“I realised that my life is one big quarantine because I don't really leave the house much,” she said. 

“It wasn't much different than what I normally do. … I think it was the best thing for all the players to do.  Even to have an opportunity to come play was super exciting.”

Already a seven-time champion at Melbourne Park, two of Williams’ Daphne Akhurst Memorial Cups were spotted as she was filmed taking Architectural Digest on a tour through her expansive trophy room in her new home.

There would certainly be room for No.8, given a stray silver salver she discovered on the bottom shelf.

“I see a second place trophy, but I’m gonna put that one in the trash,” Williams said during the shoot. “Shouldn’t be in here. We don’t keep second place.”

It was valuable shelf real estate, given only a sample of the silverware in her collection was on display.

“I have different homes in different places. I keep trophies in different places sometimes,” Williams said on Saturday. “Some are in vaults. My coach has a lot of them, actually.”

For the Australian Open’s No.2 seed, Simona Halep, her collection may not be quite as extensive, but unlike Williams none of the two-time major winner’s trophies take pride of place in her own home.

“I display in my parents' house,” said Halep, who also allayed concerns of back stiffness suffered during her Gippsland Trophy quarterfinal defeat on Friday. 

“I have all the trophies there. I don't have in my house in Bucharest because I live in different city. But I keep [them] all together. I like any trophy, doesn't matter which place it is.”

Halep is confident back stiffness during her AO lead-in won't be an issue next week

It would be up to Halep’s parents where a first “Daphne” would sit in their home, however Williams knows just the place should she land another in two weeks’ time.

A quick reshuffle in the trophy room may still be required. The bottom shelf is no place for No.24.