Newspaper article Evening Gazette (Middlesbrough, England)

Serena Ready for Title Defence

Newspaper article Evening Gazette (Middlesbrough, England)

Serena Ready for Title Defence

Article excerpt

SERENA Williams was relieved to overcome an emotional first hurdle at Wimbledon - and now she can concentrate on the defence of her title.

Williams, playing only her second tournament since recovering from a serious foot injury and blood clots on her lungs, broke down in tears after beating Aravane Rezai 6-3 3-6 6-1. The American said last week the blood clots had left her "on her deathbed" and she was overcome with emotion when she wrapped up the win.

"For me it wasn't about winning the match, it was about being out there," she said immediately afterwards.

But Williams is a competitive animal. She refused to be beaten off the court and it is that attitude that has won her 13 grand slam titles.

"I proved to myself that I could do it," said Williams, who will play Romania's Simona Halep in the second round.

"If you believe in yourself, you just continue to fight and never give up.

"I was in a position that I could have given up - but it just really goes to show that if you don't give up you have a chance. …

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