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I've never loved tennis: Serena Williams
By Laine Clark
22:30 AEST Mon Jan 2 2012

A four-month break has not curbed the tennis instincts of Serena Williams.

But the 13-time grand slam champion has made the surprise admission that she has never had a love for the sport.

In her first match since last September's infamous US Open final loss to Australia's Sam Stosur, Williams overcame South African Chanelle Scheepers 6-2 6-3 in the Brisbane International first round on Monday.

While her Flushing Meadows meltdown was not mentioned after the win, a playful Williams tried to touch on every other subject ranging from her pet dogs to a 1980s-themed party she is planning.

But the fourth seed was deadly serious when she revealed she was scaling down her 2012 schedule as she prepared for life after tennis.

"I don't love tennis today but I am here - I can't live without it so I am still here," the world No.12 said.

"It was never that I have fallen out of love with it - I have actually never liked sports.

"I have never understood how I became an athlete - I don't like working out.

"Anything that involves sitting down or shopping I am excellent at that."

While sightings of Williams may become more rare in 2012, the former world No.1 is not contemplating retirement - yet.

"I just want to be able to do other things I am doing and expand on that - I think that will help keep my motivation up (in tennis)," the 30-year-old said.

"I have always been preparing myself for life after tennis."

For a retail therapy-addicted couch potato, Williams still impressed on court as she overcame being broken in the opening game to bounce the world No.38 in 68 minutes.

Meanwhile, Ana Ivanovic booked a second-round showdown with fellow former world No.1 Kim Clijsters by downing Austria's Tamira Paszek 6-3 6-3 on Monday.

The former French Open champion was keen for revenge after letting five match points slip in her last clash with Clijsters in Miami in March 2011.

"Last time it was a hard one for me," world No.22 Ivanovic said.

"I will go out there and test myself, push and see how far away I am from the top players."

In other first round results, German second seed Andrea Petkovic overcame Israel's Shahar Peer 7-6 (7-2) 1-6 6-3 and Australian wildcard Olivia Rogowska lost 6-2 4-6 6-4 to Czech Barbora Zahlavova Strycova.

Topping a day which saw a record day-time attendance of 12,595, 4000 more than the previous best at the Queensland Tennis Centre, world No.4 Sam Stosur entertained a packed evening crowd with an emphatic 6-2 6-3 victory over Anastasiya Yakimova.

Russian world No.16 Anastasia Pavlyuchenkova was the other seed to progress on day two, cruising through to the second round after outgunned Slovenian Polona Hercog retired when down 6-1 4-1.


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