Serena Williams shrugged off a delayed arrival at the Hopman Cup on Sunday, blaming her tardiness on a stomach virus and insisting she's in position to win a second straight Australian Open. The eight-time Grand Slam champion had been unable to play in the opening tie for the four-time winner US, which beat Indian through Mardy Fish and one-off replacement Meghann Shaughnessy.
"I was so glad to hear they had won," said the American, who played one set against Russian Anna Chakvetadze at the season-ending championships in Madrid last month before retiring with a knee problem.
"I'm good," she said of her current fitness. "I wanted to come here and play, but being late was the only option.
"I'll be playing one match at a time. My ankle is fine and I'm focusing on the Open.
"I don't like to play the week before Slams, so this event is perfect timing. I have no pressure and I'm here to win the Open just like everyone else."
Williams will go into action on Monday against Lucie Safarova when the US face the Czech Republic.
Williams beat Safarova twice last season, the first time a year ago at a small event in Hobart, Tasmania. She stands 8-0 at the event, winning the 2003 title with partner James Blake.
Some said that her delay was due to a planned appearance at a New Year's party thrown by Jay-Z that didn't happen because the venue failed inspection.
If the party never happened, Serena won't be in any pictures, and I guess we'll never know if she was really sick and/or injured, or simply trying to have her cake and eat it too. Whatever the case, she's now in Australia and ready to compete.
ABC News Clip: Serena Interview and Highlights