Source: Agencies | 2013-1-13 | NEWSPAPER EDITION
WITH all the talk about Serena Williams extending her current streak of major titles to three? another Serena Slam in the making? Maria Sharapova has another Williams on her mind ahead of the Australian Open: Venus.
While Serena and top-seeded and defending champion Victoria Azarenka feature in the top half of the draw, and could meet in the semifinals, No. 2 Sharapova would play Venus Williams in the third round if they each win their first two matches.
Sharapova, who holds a 4-3 match career edge over Venus, including in straight sets on clay at Rome last year, doesn't want to get too far ahead.
"First of all, we still have to get to that point and then we can discuss it further," Sharapova said yesterday. "There's no doubt that she's a champion, an experienced one at that. No matter where she's ranked, what level she's at, she's a tough opponent."
Venus Williams' ranking dropped outside the top 100 after a layoff following the 2011 US Open when she was diagnosed with Sjogren's syndrome, an auto-immune disease that can cause fatigue. She improved her ranking to No. 24 by the end of last year.
Sharapova said Serena Williams' favoritism here doesn't affect her mindset going into the tournament.
"I think everyone reacts to it a little bit differently," Sharapova said. "There's a reason why everyone's playing here and everyone's in the draw. You can't worry about somebody else that's not even close to you in a certain part of the draw."