Serena Williams faces tough draw in Australian Open

Naomi Osaka of Japan plays a forehand in her semi final match against Lesia Tsurenko of Ukraine during day seven of the 2019 Brisbane International at Pat Rafter Arena

Serena Williams, the 16th seed, will take on Tatjana Maria in her first match of the year's first Grand Slam tournament. The draw paired other Russian tennis players for the opening round of the 2019 Australian Open in the following order: Daniil Medvedev (seeded 15th) will face a qualifier; Evgeny Donskoy will play against Serbia's Laslo Djere; Andrey Rublev will clash with Mackenzie McDonald of the United States.

"That will overshadow everything at the end of the day".

The 28-year-old Dane insists she can manage the debilitating auto-immune condition, which sometimes leaves her so exhausted she cannot raise her arms above her head. He expects her to be in the title mix going forward. "I've learned to cope after matches".

Simona Halep will get an opportunity for revenge against Kaia Kanepi when they meet again in the first round of the Australian Open.

"It's something that I clearly want but I have to be able to get there and beat a lot of good players to get it", the American said.

The Serbian world number one and his Swiss opponent have won eight of the nine titles on the Rod Laver Arena since 2010, and 11 of the last 13 on the bright blue courts in central Melbourne.

And Evert, an 18-time slam victor who will be part of ESPN's coverage of the tournament, believes that ultimately Williams' hefty list of accomplishments will outweigh the few contentious moments in her glittering career. "I've hit literally a trillion of them".

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"I never feel pressure to perform".

"I have no reason to believe that Sabalenka will not win more than one Grand Slam. Why?"

All eyes were on Serena Williams, who won the Australian Open when seven weeks pregnant in 2017 and needs one more major to draw alongside Margaret Court at the top of the all-time list on 24, as the women's draw was made on Thursday.

Williams was handed a warning by U.S. Open chair umpire Carlos Ramos last September for a coaching violation before being deducted a point for smashing her racket and later a game for a heated argument during her loss to Naomi Osaka.

Williams missed the chance to equal the record in both the Wimbledon and US Open finals last season and says she is now avoiding focusing on the numbers.

Yet she appears to have put the emotional turmoil experienced in NY behind her and is revelling in her status as standard bearer for the next generation of women's players.

"I always have insane big goals but I like to keep them to myself".

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