AAP Tennis

Serena out for first slam as a mum: coach

By AAP Newswire

Serena Williams is ready to win her first grand slam title as a mother, with coach Patrick Mouratoglou saying she has arrived at the Australian Open in her best condition since coming back from maternity leave.

He says Australian Margaret Court's all-time record of 24 grand slam singles titles may well be in peril at Melbourne Park, he said.

"First of all, last year she made an incredible effort to come back in shape after having a baby and actually she came back in a decent shape quite fast," Mouratoglou said.

"It was a big deal. She had a lot of medical issues after the delivery but she definitely was not 100 per cent.

"And I think she's fitter now ... she came back (this season) to a very, very high level of fitness.

"So she's ready. She's ready to compete and when Serena's ready to compete, she's ready to win."

While two months' pregnant, Williams claimed a record seventh Australian Open title in 2017 but missed out on her title defence while on maternity leave.

Seeded 16th in Melbourne this year, Williams warmed up for the year's first grand slam by winning all three of her singles matches at the Hopman Cup in Perth.

She plays unseeded German Tatjana Maria in her first round match on Tuesday.

Williams has a tough road to an eighth title, with world number one and French Open champion Simona Halep a potential quarter-final opponent perhaps followed by her US Open final conqueror, Naomi Osaka, in the semi-finals.

Mouratoglou said seedings and rankings would mean little if Serena brought her best form.

"I feel when she's playing at her best, she's the best player in the world," he said.

"Of course, she's not number one in the world, and I have a lot of respect for the number one but I still feel that if Serena plays her tennis 100 per cent, I still think she's the best. But she has to show it now.

"I think it might happen," Mouratoglou said of Williams' hopes for a record-equalling 24th grand slam title.

"We'll do everything for it to happen this year."