Venus Williams impresses in USA's Hopman Cup victory
Venus Williams looked fit and in form as she helped the USA to a 2-1 victory over South Africa in the Hopman Cup.
Last Updated: 30/12/12 10:28am
Wiliams beat Chanelle Scheepers in three sets in her singles match before teaming up with John Isner to win the deciding mixed doubles.
She was playing for the first time since October, and looked in impressive form in Perth, recovering from a slow start to win 4-6 6-2 6-3 against Scheepers, the world No 60.
Kevin Anderson levelled the tie for South Africa with a victory over fellow-big man John Isner, winning by the most predictable of scorelines between these two - 7-6 7-6.
The Americans dominated the mixed doubles to win 6-3 6-2 and Williams is hoping to build on her steady progress next year.
The seven-time Grand Slam singles winner has climbed the rankings this year as she recovered from a major setback due to illness in 2011.
Williams has not won a Grand Slam singles title since her 2008 success at Wimbledon. She slipped to 134th in the rankings after suffering from Sjögren's Syndrome, a systemic autoimmune disease.
But in 2012 she won her first singles title since 2010 in Luxembourg, and then teamed with sister Serena to win gold in the doubles at the Olympics.
She finished the season ranked 24 in the world and is aiming much higher in 2013.
"Last year was so awesome for me, winning a tournament and getting to the Olympics and getting a gold," she said. "I was extremely happy last year and moved up quite a few spots.
"This year is just about building on it and continuing to play deep into the draws and put myself in positions to play well deep into the tournaments."
And Williams still believes she could be a force in the Grand Slams.
"I always feel that way," she said. "That's how you have to feel, you have to be positive. I try to be positive and tell myself I'm the best now. It doesn't happen every time but you've got to have that mind frame."