Venus Williams of the USA in action against Stefanie Voegele of Switzerland during round two of the Australian Open.
Venus Williams of the USA in action against Stefanie Voegele of Switzerland during round two of the Australian Open. LYNN BO BO

Williams admits she knows nothing about third-round rival

TENNIS: Venus Williams is through to the third round of the Australian Open, but has some homework to do.

Williams, 36, demolished Switzerland's Stefanie Voegele 6-3 6-2 before swiftly withdrawing from the women's doubles match she was due to play alongside sister Serena.

She'll now face China's Ying-Ying Duan, who she admitted she knows extremely little about.

"I don't know anything about her. I have never seen her play,” Williams said. "Zero, like zero. So I'm going to have to, yeah, see how it goes.

"Like, maybe get a scouting report in the warm-up when we hit the five minutes and kind of see how it feels.”

Williams didn't want to elaborate on the elbow injury that resulted in her and sister Serena withdrawing from their women's doubles match, other than to say it was something she is "managing”.

"I was really disappointed not to be able to play in New Zealand (earlier this month),” she said.

"I was hoping to have the capacity to play both events here, but at this point I just need to be careful and just try to maintain myself.”

When asked how bad it is, her response was brief: "You know ... yeah. Thanks.”

The American star was first up on Rod Laver Arena, which Fernando Verdasco slammed after his loss to No.2 seed Novak Djokovic.

But Williams said while it "isn't as slow as last year”, she enjoys something different.

"I have played a while, played on some super-fast courts,” she said

"It may not be as slow as last year, but I think at the same time when the courts get too slow it creates the same kind of player, people who just never come in.

"So I think the courts have to be not too slow, not too fast. It's got to be playable. You don't want every ball to come back. At some point there should be a winner. If you're hitting through the court and the ball just sits, that's not tennis. It should go through the court, sort of, you know.

"But our game styles are a little different. He might like a slower court. I might like a faster court.”

Williams also batted away a question about her status as the oldest player in the draw at Melbourne Park.

"I have to talk about this every interview,” a clearly unimpressed Williams said in reply to what has become a regular post-match question. "I've played some of the greats.

"It's an honour and privilege to start that young,” she laughed, "and play this old”.