Venus loses herself in Melbourne roads (Australian Open Notebook)

January 23rd, 2009 - 2:05 pm ICT by IANS  

Venus WilliamsMelbourne, Jan 23 (DPA) Venus Williams might have been driven to distraction at the Australian Open, but the tribulations were nothing compared to the American’s trials experienced on Melbourne roads.Williams has been trying her luck with left-lane driving and gaining some experience in a city where tram lines make for difficult conditions, as they say on court.

“I drive everywhere,” said the 28-year-old with seven Grand Slam titles. “I drive to Fitzroy. I’ve driven to St Kilda. I’ve driven downtown.

“I make that wide turn [around the halted trams]. I get lost. I take detours. I double-back, and I succeed.”

And the Florida player’s final goal for this visit: “I want to try a (fast-food) drive-through - that’s next.”

Williams said that it has taken her “about 10 years” to become comfortable driving on the left.

“I have a lot of confidence now,” she said. “It’s much more fun driving here than at home because there it’s a chore and here it’s like a luxury - kind of like an adventure.

“You might not know the way, but you still get there.”


Temperatures rise in Dellacqua fitness spat

The slanging match between Australian Casey Dellacqua and former Lleyton Hewitt coach Roger Rasheed has intensified with the player insisting she is not overweight and out of shape as charged.

Rasheed, now the coach of Gael Monfils and a commentator at the Australian Open for the Seven network, said the Australian was not maximising her fitness.

While Dellacqua certainly cannot be classified as svelte like contemporaries Alize Cornet or Dominika Cibulkova, the Perth player went ballistic when confronted with Rasheed’s assessment that she was unfit.

Dellacqua is listed in the WTA media guide at 165 centimetres and 68 kilograms.

“If I’m a girl and I’ve broken into the world of tennis and I’ve made 500,000 dollars for the year, wouldn’t I just try and get into the most perfect nick I could to actually excel?” Rasheed asked during a radio interview.

Aussie number two Dellacqua returned serve, calling the remarks “ill-informed” and “self-serving”.

“He has no idea about my training programme, my fitness level or my injury history,” she told the Herald-Sun. “I find it both amazing and totally self-serving that he now chooses to share his ill-informed analysis with the Australian public.”

Rasheed, who made his name as a fitness trainer in Aussie Rules football in Adelaide, said he was surprised that some women on the WTA played with “excess baggage”.

Added 57th-ranked Dallacqua, who lost in the first round: “I’ve never met Roger Rasheed. He does not know me or my tennis. He does not know my training techniques, my background or my personality.”

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