MELBOURNE • Women's tennis received some unwelcome publicity from an unlikely source on the eve of the Australian Open.
Margaret Court, still the most successful player in the history of the women's game, said that she sometimes finds modern tennis "a little bit boring".
Court's record of 24 Grand Slam singles titles could be passed by Serena Williams, who stands on 21 this year.
Court said: "I think women's tennis is a little bit boring with just hitting up and down all the time.
"The men's game is very exciting in the top four or so and you'd like to see that more with the women. I hope it goes back to more of the artistry side of volleying. Billie Jean (King) and I were much more aggressive."
Court, 73, however, praised Williams, 34, as a "great player".
The American world No. 1 begins her campaign tomorrow against Camila Giorgi, the athletic but erratic Italian, expecting to shrug off her knee problems and bag another Grand Slam title.
But her Florida neighbour Chris Evert, the winner of 18 Grand Slam titles herself, is worried that Serena will pay the price for her dominance last year, when the American won three Grand Slam titles.
"Serena can't have another year like she had last year," Evert said. "There were so many matches in the first set she played listless, lethargic tennis with her going through the motions with no energy. She'd get it when she got mad in the second set. She would finally pull these matches out. It can't happen again like that.
"She just has to manage herself, manage her body, manage her schedule, manage her intensity when she's out there. I just felt last year she showed signs of not being motivated."
Evert is surprised that Serena is suffering from acute knee problems after such a lengthy spell of inactivity and thinks that the top seed and defending champion's opening match could answer many questions.
THE TIMES, LONDON