Vinci tips Williams for French Open glory
But Vinci, who beat Williams at the US Open, will draw inspiration from the feat, at Roland Garros
By her own admission, she has not been in the best form but, as things stand, Roberta Vinci will still head into the French Open as the seventh seed in the women's singles draw.
The Italian is one of several ladies shaping up as potential contenders for the top prize when the action gets underway at Roland Garros next week, along with the likes of Agnieszka Radwanska, Angelique Kerber, Garbine Muguruza and Victoria Azarenka.
Nonetheless, Vinci candidly admits she is under no illusions as to who will be the one to beat in Paris.
"I think Serena (Williams) is the favourite," she told The New Paper in a one-on-one phone interview from Germany, where she was initially contending for the Nuremberg Cup as the top seed but lost in the second round to Kiki Bertens yesterday.
"When she's in form and in a confident mood, she can beat all the players so, for me, it's Serena."
The 33-year-old's displays since the clay-court season started have been far from ideal after early exits in both Madrid and Rome were followed by yesterday's defeat by Bertens.
However, Vinci can draw inspiration from her impressive run at last year's US Open, where she came from behind to sensationally beat Williams in the last four before ultimately losing to compatriot Flavia Pennetta in the final.
"Right now, I'm not in the greatest shape after losing my first rounds in Rome and Madrid, but I think I'm playing a little bit better (in Nuremberg)," explained Vinci.
"Step by step, I will try to get better for Paris and it will be a tough draw, but it's a Slam and I always try my best. Beating Serena (in the US Open semi-finals) last year was an amazing moment for me and it shows that if you have belief, you can do it. So we shall see what happens in Paris."
Vinci, who hails from the coastal city of Taranto in the south of Italy, will also have one eye on qualifying for the year-end BNP Paribas WTA Finals Singapore presented by SC Global 2016 in Singapore.
She did compete back in 2014 with Sara Errani in the women's doubles, but will be hoping to return at the end of this year for singles competition.
She added: "I remember (Singapore) being nice and it was an amazing experience so it will be nice to qualify again this year.
"But there's still a long way to go and so many good players will be competing in so many tournaments.
"Of course, it's good that I'm seventh in the world at the moment, but it's a long year and I hope to play better and better."
At 33, it remains to be seen how long more Vinci will continue in the world of professional tennis.
Vinci believes that two-time Grand Slam champion Amelie Mauresmo, who recently ended her stint as coach of men's world No. 2 Andy Murray, has paved the way for many to follow in her footsteps off-court.
"I haven't really given a lot of thought to what I could do in the future but I would like to stay in tennis and, of course, being a coach would be great," said Vinci.
"I think Mauresmo did a great job with Murray so if, after I retire, some player contacts me for help… why not?" she concluded, with a hearty laugh.