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Sharapova and Williams admit to nerves _ sort of _ before Australian Open final

Sharapova and Williams admit to nerves _ sort of _ before Australian Open final

It would be almost inhuman not to be nervous about playing in a Grand Slam final, but who's going to admit it and maybe give their opponent a psychological advantage?
Maria Sharapova and Serena Williams on Friday cautiously conceded to nerves ahead of their Australian Open final on Saturday.
Top-seeded Sharapova won her first major by defeating Williams at Wimbledon in 2004 and won the U.S. Open last year, a season Williams spent sidelined by injuries for all but four tournaments.
Sharapova said she wasn't nervous because she had the experience of heading into Grand Slam finals twice before, then she added:
"It's normal to have butterflies. Unless you're a robot, it's absolutely normal," she said. "But I think it's the way you handle it, the way you go about it on the court."
Williams, whose seven Grand Slams include the 2003 and 2005 Australian Open titles, came to this year's event unseeded after a lingering knee injury throughout 2006. She beat seeded players in four of her five matches to reach her 10th Grand Slam final.
"Right now I'm not nervous, I'm just relaxed," Williams said on Friday. "I've gotten nervous before, don't get me wrong, in a Grand Slam final. Today is the day before. We'll see how I feel tomorrow."
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SUPREME COURT: Margaret Court was awarded one of Australia's highest honors on Friday, Australia's national day, for mentoring young tennis players and doing charity work in Australia and Sri Lanka.
Court, arguably the best women's player of all time with a record 62 Grand Slam titles between 1960 and 1975 including singles and doubles, was given an officer of the Order of Australia medal
The award was "for service to tennis as a player, as a mentor to junior female elite competitors and through professional development programs; and to the communities of Australia and Sri Lanka as the initiator of a range of pastoral care, social support and emergency accommodation projects," the official citation said.
Court, 64, runs a Christian church in Western Australia state and a charity foundation that bears her name, which helped build an orphanage in Sri Lanka to help survivors of the 2004 Indian Ocean tsunami.
She also ran tennis clinics for children in Sri Lanka.
Court became only the second woman to win a season Grand Slam, in 1970, and continued competing into her mid-30s.
"I still play tennis twice a week, I work with young people and I think I've got a lot to offer," Court told the Herald Sun newspaper. "I think as long as I can do that, I'll be going on into my 90s."
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NO LOCAL HERO: Australians celebrated their national holiday on Friday, bringing extra crowds to the Australian Open, stunt planes flying over the Melbourne Park venue, and dance music from a nearby celebration reverberating around center court.
But there was no local hero. The last Australians bowed out on Thursday, when Paul Hanley lost in the men's doubles semifinal, and Bryanne Stewart and Samantha Stosur lost their separate matches in the mixed doubles quarterfinals.
Lleyton Hewitt, the highest-seeded Australian at 19th, lost to Chilean Fernando Gonzalez in the third round, while Stosur, the highest-seeded Australian in the women's singles, lost to Croatia's Jelena Kostanic Tosic in the second round.
No Australian man has won the national title since 1976. Hewitt, who has Wimbledon and U.S. Open titles, lost the final in 2005.


Updated : 2021-06-20 22:09 GMT+08:00