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MASON, Ohio – (AP) — One major title stands between Serena Williams and a Grand Slam, and she's enjoying this "awesome" and "crazy" ride.
"There's still a lot I want to win, but I just want to keep growing," she said Tuesday. "I just enjoy going out there every time I'm out there. I have a different outlook. I'm intense when I'm out there, but I also realize that life is super short and tomorrow isn't promised."
Williams is seeded first and the defending champion at the Western & Southern Open, a warmup for the U.S. Open. She is coming off a loss to Swiss teenager Belinda Bencic in the semifinals of the Rogers Cup in Toronto.
The top-ranked player in women's tennis already has the "Serena Slam" — reigning champion of every Grand Slam tournament. The run started at last year's U.S. Open. The last calendar Grand Slam was by Steffi Graf in 1988.
"I think the 'Serena Slam' is really unbelievable," she said. "I didn't think I would ever do it again. I mean, I thought I would, but when it didn't happen after a while. . It's captivating. It's awesome. It's crazy."
At 33 years old and with so many championships to her name, Williams can almost take it or leave it.
"That makes it fun," she said. "I don't have to win. I want to win, but I really just look forward to playing."
She says the process has become almost as important as the outcome. That's one reason she hopes to play well in Cincinnati.
"I would like to do well here, especially after a disappointing week last week," she said. "Even if I don't win, I would like to play technically better."
As the same time, she realizes time is running out on her career though her results suggest otherwise — she is 47-2 this year and has won four championships. She agrees with the suggestion that her career is like a marathon and she's in her sprint the finish.
"I think that's a good analogy," she said. "I'm not a spring chicken. I don't think I have that much longer to play, but hopefully, it will be a while."
Her new outlook has her ready for the pressure of the calendar Grand Slam in New York.
"I think it's great," she said. "It's cool, even though there's a lot of pressure. I would like to win the Open more than anybody else."