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Venus Williams 'excited' to arrive in New Zealand

Published: 10:46AM Friday December 27, 2013 Source: ONE Sport

US tennis star Venus Williams arrived in Auckland this morning to begin preparations for the ASB Classic, starting on Monday.

The seven-time Grand Slam singles winner was full of smiles and looking forward to enjoying her first trip to New Zealand.

"I'm really (excited). I'm going to play early next week and I'm excited and I'm ready," Williams told ONE Sport.

Ranked 47th in the world, the 33-year old laughed when asked what she expected from her first tournament of the season, saying: "Well, the other day I dreamed I had a win and then I woke up and realised I haven't even played a round. So it was like, 'oh, man!'.

"I hope to just go round by round and at least get to the finals. That would be awesome."

Williams was feeling positive after a strong off-season of hard training and is pleased to be starting match-play once again.

"A lot of hard work (through the off-season)," she said.

"I'm glad because now I get to play a match and I don't have to be on the court for five hours, so it's like a bonus."

Williams' hard-work has served her well, and she feels in peak physical and mental condition, while she joked she aspired to be like her No. 1 world-ranked sister.

"I feel like I'm coming into this season as fit and healthy as I have in many years so for me that's exciting and I have a positive outlook and my goal is to be like Serena Williams," she said.

Travelling from the US meant she had not been able to enjoy her Christmas, while Boxing Day was also a write-off.

"I didn't celebrate any holidays, I was on the plane for Christmas so I missed a whole day.

"We missed the 26th, so I don't know where the 26th went. We can't find it."

Williams will line up against Kiwi Marina Erakovic in an exhibition hit-out at at Auckland Museum tomorrow at 12pm.

Fellow tournament drawcard Ana Ivanovic also arrived in Auckland today.