Sports

Seles on the wonder of Serena, and exciting Kerber

She was once an unstoppable force in women's tennis, even for Steffi Graf, winning eight Grand Slam singles titles before turning 20 and finishing as world No. 1 in 1991 and '92.

Monica Seles knows what its like to comprehensively dominate a sport, it is why she is full of admiration over what Serena Williams has achieved.

Speaking via a teleconference call yesterday, Seles, 42, said: "I think it's so impressive that Serena is playing at such a level at her age.

"It's probably because she takes good care of her body. She has her trainer and physios travelling with her and she has a wonderful team around her."

Seles will be in Singapore as an Ambassador of the BNP Paribas WTA Finals Singapore presented by SC Global, which will be held at the Indoor Stadium from, Oct 23 to 30.

Williams, who will turn 35 on Monday, won the inaugural event in Singapore in 2014 but failed to appear for the biggest women's tournament outside of the Grand Slams in 2015, citing injuries.

The 22-time Major champion has once again had to battle injuries this year, with a shoulder problem particularly troubling, and there are big doubts over whether she will take her place here for the elite filed of eight that traditionally battles for the season-ending trophy, and the biggest payday in the women's game.

Obviously, Seles wants to see Williams compete in Singapore.

A Williams' battle with Angelique Kerber, the German tyro who knocked her off the world No. 1 perch, would have been box office here, but Seles insisted health will always be the priority


Angelique Kerber. PHOTO: AFP

"I do hope she plays in the championships," said Seles.

"But only Serena knows her own body and how she's doing mentally."

For the first time in a long time, the women's game features a new world No. 1 and Singaporeans will be excited over the prospect of watching Kerber in action.

Seles has been impressed with the 28-year-old.

She is also excited over the talent of 22-year-old Garbine Muguruza and Karolina Pliskova, 24.

Kerber reached three Grand Slam finals this year and won the Australian Open and US Open crowns. Spain's Muguruza beat Williams in the French Open final for her first Major title.

"It was fantastic for tennis this year, to have the breakthrough of both Kerber and Muguruza," said Seles.

"They are two new faces who are fantastic for the sport."

Kerber has been the talk-of -the-town after her breakthrough at the relatively late age of 28, but Seles believes it as a positive turn of events.

"I think it's much better because you're mentally more mature to handle the success and the pressures that come with (the rise)," she said.

"You know you've been on tour for a few years so you will know what changes will happen after you win a Grand Slam."

Seles laughed heartily when she added: "It's exciting to see a fellow left-hander achieve the number one ranking. It's good she's the next one, (otherwise) we'll have to wait many years."

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