Women of the Australian Open
In 2013, the world no. 3 is targeting a Calendar Grand Slam of all four major titles. If she succeeds, she will be the first woman to achieve this feat since Stefi Graff in 1998.
(Image: YASUYOSHI CHIBA/AFP/Getty Images)
(Image: Chris Hyde/Getty Images)
"She definitely has had some tough times here but I know on any given day she can bring her A-game. Everybody know how dangerous of an opponent she is" said fellow player Victoria Azarenka.
(Image: ALEXANDER NEMENOV/AFP/Getty Images)
Since 1968, the winner in Sydney has gone on to win the Australian Open 23 times.
"I think we can see this tournament is a critical lead-up to the Australian Open, certainly for the women, and the stats support that," Apia International tournament director Craig Watson said.
"We have seen it in the last couple of years with Azarenka winning in Sydney and then winning the Australian Open, and the year before Kim Clijsters and Li Na playing our final and then repeating in the Australian Open final."
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Maria Sharapova, along with Victoria Azarenka, are seen as the biggest threats to Williams winning her 16th Grand Slam, although her early games have been hampered by a collarbone injury.
Pictured at the US Open in September 2012 (Image: Mike Stobe/Getty Images)
Asked whether she was happy not to have to challenge the retired Clijsters again, Li said: "Why should I be happy? I was really looking forward to playing her again.
"I played her last year in the fourth round. I never had a chance to come back, so I'm not happy."
(Image: PORNCHAI KITTIWONGSAKUL/AFP/Getty Images)
A quality win in her first round match against Sabine Lisicki could finally set her up for the tournament.
Pictured playing a shot on a mirror court at the Adidas by Stella McCartney media launch on January 13, 2013 in Melbourne, Australia (Image: Scott Barbour/Getty Images)