Serena Williams defeats Genie Bouchard at Australian Open

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Nearly as if she never left.

And on Tuesday at the first round of the Australian Open in Melbourne, the American tennis champion had a defiant message for her critics.

Pundits have decried the younger generation's failure to break into the Slam cartel enjoyed by the old guard, though some have tipped change at the top this year. "That's what she does well", Bouchard said.

Her slide started the following summer and she closed 2015 at No. 48.

"It was a tough match which could have gone both ways". "I'm going to approach it as any other match. Hopefully take it to him".

"Her performance yesterday (in the first round) was very impressive".

But as Williams herself said back in August: "When it comes to fashion, you don't want to be a repeat offender". The 23 times Grand Slam victor was spotted in a turquoise romper while playing at the Australian Open.

But when asked when she keeps all 72 of her career WTA titles, the American was unsure.

Bouchard will have little pressure as a stiff underdog against the 16th-seeded Williams.

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His next challenge is a Friday showdown with Nadal, who walloped the teenager 6-1 6-2 6-4 in their maiden meeting at Wimbledon previous year but has predicted that the Aussie is capable of winning Grand Slams.

Williams, meanwhile, is pursuing an eighth title in Melbourne and 24th Slam singles trophy overall, which would equal Margaret Court - whose career spanned the amateur and professional eras - for the most in tennis history.

In an extensive TIME interview published in August, Williams alluded to her muscular physique as one of the reasons why she's been frequently targeted for random drug tests by the United States Anti-Doping Agency. She laughed as she told reporters, "Everything's fine, guys". "This is why we play the big tournaments, to play the best players".

Two years ago, Williams won the Australian Open while pregnant.

'Like I said, I've been playing really good tennis. "People write her off, and she doesn't let that bother her". If I can continue that, then I'll have a fighting chance'.

"It's amusing, I mean, 11 years after our first Grand Slam final here, it feels like a lot has happened for both of us", Djokovic, who had elbow surgery last year before returning to claim the last two Grand Slams, said.

The pieces are still in place for that to happen.

As expected, her fans took to social media to talk about the bright and bold ensemble. "It was kind of weird walking back on - by myself, this time".

Back in 2008 Djokovic had won in four sets and despite the easier-looking scoreline the Serb said Tsonga remained a hard opponent. "No doubt about it".