American tennis idol and 23 Grand Slam Champion Serena Williams is counting the blessings of delay witnessed by this year’s Melbourne showdown which serves off on February 8.
It is the first time the Grand Slam will be delayed and slammed with quarantine no thanks to the Covid-19 pandemic.
Williams, chasing a record-equaling 24th major singles title next week, said “I needed the extra time” to fully recover from an Achilles injury sustained at the US Open in September.
She and Britain’s Katie Boulter won their openers as warm-up events began.
The two are playing in the Gippsland Trophy one of six events running simultaneously at Melbourne Park this week to allow players to prepare for the Australian Open.
Boulter, playing in just her second WTA main draw match since February 2019, beat Russia’s Anna Kalinskaya 6-1 6-3.
Williams claimed a 6-1 6-4 victory over Australia’s Daria Gavrilova.
“I don’t think I would have been here if it was during the regular season,” the 39-year-old American said.
“Achilles are like the worst thing, honestly. Oh my goodness, I didn’t realise it would be this long.
“I definitely was pushing the limits, but I’m here