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Abu Dhabi, UAEWednesday 20 June 2018

Serena Williams: I absolutely want more grand slams

The 23-time major winner targets more success as she vows to return to the top of the game after becoming a mother.

Serena Williams made her return to tennis after giving birth in December in an exhibition match against Jelena Ostapenko at the Mubadala World Tennis Championship. Kamran Jebreili / AP Photo
Serena Williams made her return to tennis after giving birth in December in an exhibition match against Jelena Ostapenko at the Mubadala World Tennis Championship. Kamran Jebreili / AP Photo

Serena Williams "absolutely" intends to surpass Margaret Court's record of 24 grand slam titles - and believes being a new mother can help her achieve that goal.

The 36-year-old, who gave birth to her first daughter Alexis Olympia in September, decided to pull out of the Australian Open following concerns over her ability to make an impact in Melbourne.

Williams won the last of her 23 grand slams Down Under in 2017, defeating her sister Venus in the final when, it would later emerge, she was in the early stages of her pregnancy.

The American former world number one had returned to the court on December 30 at the Mubadala World Tennis Championship in Abu Dhabi, where she lost an exhibition match against Jelena Ostapenko, the French Open champion.

Despite admitting she was "not where I personally want to be" in announcing her withdrawal from the Australian Open, which starts on January 15, Williams told Vogue she was determined to return to a competitive level sooner rather than later.

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"Maybe this goes without saying, but it needs to be said in a powerful way: I absolutely want more grand slams. I'm well aware of the record books, unfortunately. It's not a secret that I have my sights on 25, and actually, I think having a baby might help," Williams told the February edition of the magazine.

"When I'm too anxious I lose matches, and I feel like a lot of that anxiety disappeared when Olympia was born.

"Knowing I've got this beautiful baby to go home to makes me feel like I don't have to play another match. I don't need the money or the titles or the prestige. I want them, but I don't need them. That's a different feeling for me."

Williams feels her life off the court with all the challenges of a new mother will only bring a positive influence to her game.

"Sometimes I get really down and feel like, 'Man, I can't do this', it is that same negative attitude I have on the court sometimes," the American added.

"I guess that's just who I am. No one talks about the low moments - the pressure you feel, the incredible letdown every time you hear the baby cry.

"I've broken down I don't know how many times, or I'll get angry about the crying, then sad about being angry, and then guilty, like, 'Why do I feel so sad when I have a beautiful baby?'. The emotions are insane."