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Serena is ready for Paris

Between bites of some "frites" at the players' restaurant, Oracene Price smiled at the thought of being back at the French Open with her daughters, Serena and Venus Williams.

The family wasn't at Roland Garros a year ago, making it the first Grand Slam tournament since 2003 without either Williams. Serena was still working her way back from a series of health scares, including two foot operations and blood clots. Venus revealed in August she'd been diagnosed with an autoimmune disease that causes fatigue.

Now they've returned.

"I'm happy about it. They're happy about it," Price said Friday. "Serena's thanking God that she's able to play at all. And so is Venus, with her illness; it's still there. They're doing the best they can do."

Which tends to be pretty good, of course.

Both have been ranked No. 1. Serena's 13 Grand Slam titles are by far the most among active women; Venus comes next with seven. None of the other entrants in the French Open, which begins Sunday, owns more career Grand Slam match wins than Serena's 211 or Venus' 210.

And it's certainly tough to match Serena's self-confidence on a tennis court.

When it was pointed out to her Friday that five women divvied up the past five Grand Slam titles -- Kim Clijsters at the 2011 Australian Open, followed by Li Na at the French Open, Petra Kvitova at Wimbledon, Sam Stosur at the U.S. Open, and current No. 1 Victoria Azarenka at January's Australian Open -- Serena needed only a second or two to formulate a response.

"Hopefully," she said, "it will be six this time -- with me."

She's 17-0 on clay this season and among the favorites heading into the French Open, which she won in 2002.

What would a second title, a decade later, mean to her?

"It would be really intense and really crazy," Serena said. "I mean, obviously there are several people here that want to win. I think I'm one of those people."

Price said a championship at Roland Garros "would be huge" for Serena, because it would make clear that "it doesn't look like she's ready to quit" at 30 years old.

Asked whether her daughter is ready to get her name etched on another Grand Slam trophy, Price chuckled.

"For sure," she said. "You know Serena. She's got to be on the list at least once a year, right?"

One challenging step along the way over the next two weeks could come in the quarterfinals, where Serena might have to face three-time major champion Maria Sharapova, who is seeded second and also a popular pick.

The draw for the tournament, which begins Sunday, was held on Friday. On the men's side, Novak Djokovic's bid to win a fourth consecutive Grand Slam championship -- and first at the French Open -- might require a semifinal victory over Roger Federer.

Friday's draw set them up to face each other in Paris at the same stage as last year, when Federer beat Djokovic in four epic sets to end the Serb's 43-match winning streak that dated to December 2010.

That was Djokovic's last loss at a major tournament: Since then, he won the titles at Wimbledon, the U.S. Open and Australian Open. He's trying to become the first man since Rod Laver in 1969 to win four Grand Slam trophies in a row.

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