Patrice Dougan is the Herald's education reporter.

Tennis star Venus Williams arrives in Auckland

Tennis player Venus Williams arrives in Auckland for the ASB Classic. Photo / Sarah Ivey
Tennis player Venus Williams arrives in Auckland for the ASB Classic. Photo / Sarah Ivey

Tennis star Venus Williams has touched down on New Zealand soil.

The US ace landed at Auckland airport this morning ahead of her competing at the ASB Classic next week.

Ms Williams, dressed casually in black leggings and a white tank top, said she was looking forward to playing on the tennis arena in Parnell.

She said she felt fit and healthy and had recently had a dream about winning a match in Auckland.

Asked what she hoped to achieve at the tournament, she said: "Well the other day I dreamed I had a win, and then I woke up and I realised I hadn't even played a round.

"So it was like, 'oh man'," she added, laughing.

"I hope to go round by round and at least get to the finals, that'd be awesome."

She said she was "ready" to hit the courts.

"I'm going to play early next week, and I'm excited and I'm ready," she said.

Ms Williams said she had missed out on celebrating Christmas because she was flying.

"I missed a whole day, we missed the 26th, so I don't know where the 26th went, we can't find it," she said.

It is the seven-time Grand slam singles winner's first time playing in New Zealand and she said she was excited to be here and play her first match in almost four months.

The former world number one had taken some time off at the end of 2013 to rest. She has dropped to 47th in the world after battling health issues in recent years.

She told reporters outside Auckland International Airport that her aim for the 2014 season was to be like her sister, the current number one women's tennis player, Serena Williams.

"I feel like I'm coming into the season as fit and healthy as I have in many years, so for me that's exciting," she said.

"I've a positive outlook, and my goal is to be like Serena Williams."

- APNZ

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