Williams hoping to modify winning sequence in Melbourne

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By Julian Linden

The world number one's wins have come in alternate years from 2003 until 12 months ago and should the pattern continue, she would have been better off staying in Florida and saving her victory speech for 2011.

"Don't say that," she protested. "It's not a bad thing to win every other year, so I'm not gonna complain about that.

Nowhere is that anomaly more striking that at the Australian Open, a tournament she took six years to win for the first time but is now her most successful grand slam event.

"I really like it here. It's like the United States but in Australia," she said.

"I feel really at home there and feel really comfortable.

"I feel like when I walk out there, people really want to see me do well. I think that helps a lot. I have a lot of Aussie mates."


Williams almost did not make it this year after her foul-mouthed tirade at a lineswoman during last year's U.S. Open.

She escaped a suspension after the Grand Slam Committee opted to slap her with a fine and a two-year probation, but has been warned to be on her best behavior.

"I think I've spoken enough about it," she muttered.

Williams has always been one of the most powerful and athletic players on the women's tour but her greatest strength lies within.

While other players succumb to nerves and attacks of doubt, Williams never loses faith in her ability to win.

She then provided a lasting reminder of why she could never be underestimated when, ranked 81st in the world, she won her third in 2007.

"I definitely enjoy playing in the heat. Maybe that's one of the reasons why I do so well," she said.

"The past couple times I won it's been extremely hot, so I expect the same temperatures again.But, with what I went through last year, I feel good that I'm able to endure that again last year.

"I definitely like to keep going when the going is tough. More than anything, I enjoy it.

"I don't really enjoy practicing, but the moment I step on the court it's like, this is what I was born to do."

(Editing by John O'Brien)