PARIS, February 10 – Having already held all four Grand Slams titles at the same time, newly installed world number one Serena Williams has a fresh target in her sights – the 'Family Slam'.
The American won the French Open, Wimbledon and the US Open in 2002 before securing the 2003 Australian Open to achieve what she refers to as the ‘Serena Slam’.
Last month she added the Australian Open to her 2008 US Open crown, and with her elder sister Venus the current Wimbledon champion, she hopes one of them will prevail at Roland Garros in June.
"We’re trying to complete the Williams Slam," Serena said on Tuesday, ahead of her first-round match against the Czech Republic’s Iveta Benesova at the WTA Paris Open.
"We only have one more to go. One of us has to win the French and then it’ll be like a Family Slam, which isn’t bad."
Paris would be a fitting setting for such an achievement. The Paris Open is the first professional tournament Serena won in 1999, and she says it has a "special meaning" for her.
So enamoured is she with the city that she now owns a flat here, and describes it as her "second home".
"I absolutely adore Paris. I don’t know what it is, but I actually love the cold weather. Maybe it’s because I live in Florida," she said.
"I love my flat. Every morning I wake up and I can go outside and buy a croissant. I could totally live here full-time."
Being based in Paris means Serena can devote even more time to her interest in fashion, a subject close to her heart.
"For me, it’s the fashion capital of the world," she said. "It has the best couture shows, stuff you don’t get in the States, the real avant garde couture."
The 10-time Grand Slam winner, though, is a steely-eyed competitor, and she gives short shrift to claims that she could be distracted by her clothing line and her interest in acting.
"There’s a big danger of that so I guess I’d better be really careful," she said sarcastically when quizzed about the strength of her focus.
The 27-year-old also laughed off suggestions that there were any problems with doping in women’s tennis, but praised New York Yankees baseball star Alex Rodriguez for revealing that he once took performance-enhancing drugs.
"Kudos to him for admitting it. I know there’s a lot of players in baseball still denying it, but tennis is a great sport because we get drug-tested all the time," she said.
"We try our best to keep the sport clean and that’s what gives it its honour. Everyone’s playing only with what they have inside them.