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Serena: I’m 130 percent fit for Australian Open

Melbourne — World number one Serena Williams ruled out surgery to fix a persistent knee problem Saturday as she declared herself “130 percent fit’’ for the Australian Open.

The 21-time Grand Slam champion, gunning for a seventh title at Melbourne Park, retired due to soreness in her left knee during a singles match on January 6 at Hopman in Perth.

It was the 34-year-old’s comeback after some three months away from tennis as she battled knee issues which sparked fears that nearly 20 years on tour was finally taking its toll.

Serena Williams, in this file photo dated September 2015,  is raring to play in the Australian Open. (AP)

Serena Williams, in this file photo dated September 2015, is raring to play in the Australian Open. (AP)

Williams appeared downbeat as she spoke to journalists, but she insisted all was well and that surgery would not be needed anytime soon.

“No, it’s actually really fine. I don’t have any inflammation anymore,’’ she said. “It’s just that I just needed some time to get over that little hump.

“Like I said, I’ve been doing a lot of training leading up to this. But, yeah, I’m totally – I don’t think I would need surgery at all.

“I’m at 120, 130 percent right now.’’

Williams, who beat long-time rival Maria Sharapova in last year’s final, has a testing start against Italian Camila Giorgi, the highest ranked non-seeded player in the women’s draw.

She could also meet former world number one and close friend Caroline Wozniacki in the fourth round before a possible showdown with Sharapova, who has failed to beat Williams since 2004.

Williams said she was focused on the task ahead and dismissed concerns that her lead-up to the opening Grand Slam of the year had been far from perfect given her lack of match practice.

“I’ve had a really good preparation. I mean, I didn’t have the match play that I’ve wanted to have. But after playing for so many years on tour, I should be able to, you know, focus on that and the fact that I have played a lot of matches,’’ she said.

“So that’s what I’m trying to focus on now.’’