Serena Williams is back in Auckland, with a steely determination to do well at the ASB Classic.

The American tennis legend arrived on an early flight this morning from the United States, with a large entourage, including her two year old baby Olympia, mother Oracene Price and long time coach Patrick Mouratoglou.

Williams didn't stop to answer any questions at the airport, and went straight to her central city hotel.

READ MORE:
Tennis: Nick Kyrgios, Alex de Minaur, John Millman to make donation per ace toward bushfire relief
Tennis: Five top 20 players confirmed in strong ASB Classic field
Tennis: Australian tennis great Margaret Court makes controversial comments about transgender children
Tennis: US Open champion Bianca Andreescu pulls out of ASB Classic

Advertisement

"She was really upbeat, really positive, looking forward to being here," said ASB Classic tournament director Karl Budge. "There's that steely look in her eye. There's been a good training block from everything I've heard and history is in her eyes. It's a pretty motivated Serena Williams to go and capture history and we are pretty lucky that we get to play a small part in that."

Williams has 23 grand slam singles titles to her name, since winning her first major way back in 1999. That's one short of Australian Margaret Court's all-time record of 24, which Williams is desperate to match.

She reached the final at Wimbledon and the US Open last year — becoming the oldest grand slam finalist in the process — but fell short on both occasions, losing to Simona Halep and Bianca Andreescu.

That's a big part of the reason why she has come back to Auckland, despite the unhappy memories of her shock second round exit to unheralded compatriot Madison Brengle in 2017.

Premium gold

The Brisbane WTA event would have been another option, but has a stacked field (six of the world's top ten), and there is more chance of a run of matches at the ASB Classic, as long as she can find some early rhythm.

She also enjoyed the friendly, but low-key atmosphere in the Queens city on her previous visit.

Budge said Williams hasn't made any special requests for sightseeing trips, or helicopter rides, like some high profile players have enjoyed in the past.

"She won't do too much while she is here," said Budge. "It's a very business-like Serena this week. She has come here with a big team that can make sure life off court is taken care of and she can focus on winning tennis matches. She made two grand slam finals last year, but she wants more than making finals."

Advertisement

"I think you will see an incredibly motivated Serena Williams go deep here at the ASB Classic and take that form into the Australian Open."

Williams, currently ranked No 10, will be top seed at the tournament, which begins on Monday.