Serena Williams determined to make royal appointment

DEFENDING ladies' champion Serena Williams has been practising her curtsy as well as her serve ahead of the Queen's visit to Wimbledon.

The monarch is due to make her first trip to the All England Club since her silver jubilee in 1977, the year Britain's Virginia Wade lifted the women's title. She will make her appearance on Thursday, when Williams will be playing in the second round providing she overcomes Portugal's Michelle Larcher De Brito in her opening test.

"Yeah, I found out that she was coming to town," said the three-times winner. "I thought, 'Wow, this is really, really cool'. I've just got to make sure I'm here on Thursday. I've been working on my curtsy. It's a little extreme, so I'm going to have to tone it down. I have a lot of arm movement."

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De Brito, who is 17, is far better known for her loud on-court grunting than her tennis. But Williams is determined just to focus on her own game, rather than what happens on the other side of the net. "I do the best I can, play the best I can. There's nothing else I can do," she said.

Since beating her sister, Venus, in last year's final, Williams has regained the world No 1 ranking, which for a while was in the possession of Russian Dinara Safina, who has pulled out of Wimbledon due to injury this year and, in any case, has slumped so far in the last 12 months she was only due to be seeded 20th. Three-time champion Williams has reasserted herself as the player to beat and starts her campaign as the title favourite, ahead of her five-time champion sister who insists she and younger Serena are ready to continue their domination of Wimbledon.

Installed as first and second seeds at the All England Club, they can only meet in a third consecutive tournament decider between the sisters. They are also targeting a fifth crown in the ladies' doubles and their third in succession.

"It would be great for us to reach the final again – in the singles and doubles," said Venus.

"The last two years in particular have been really great to anyone named Williams. I'd love for us to have that again."

Williams admits she remains "addicted" to tennis as she prepares for her 50th grand slam event and views age as an irrelevance despite celebrating her 30th birthday on Thursday.

"Players are very addicted to tennis. Everyone who loves this game makes it a part of their life," she said.

"I'm one of those people who's addicted to tennis and addicted to the majors."