Australian Open 2012, Serena Williams Returns To Practice, Tests Ankle

BRISBANE, AUSTRALIA - JANUARY 04: Serena Williams of the USA grimaces in pain after being injured during her match against Bojana Jovanovski during day four of the 2012 Brisbane International at Pat Rafter Arena on January 4, 2012 in Brisbane, Australia. (Photo by Chris Hyde/Getty Images)

Five-time Australian Open Champion Serena Williams tested her sprained left ankle in practice.

Five-time Australian Open champion Serena Williams missed last year's tournament due to injury and had to withdraw from last week's Brisbane Open with a sprained left ankle.

Williams tested the ankle in practice on Thursday and tells The Associated Press that she is confident she'll be ready for the start of the tournament on Monday.

"The ankle is better. It's not 100 percent, but it's better than it was last week," Williams said. "I feel great. And I feel like I'm really fit. And I feel like this is definitely some of the fittest I have been in my career."

Williams is the No. 12 seed in the tournament and is a very difficult quadrant that includes No. 4 Maria Sharapova, No. 7 seed Vera Zvonareva, No. 14 seed Sabine Lisicki, and No. 25 seed Kaia Kanepi. Williams' first match is against Austria's Tamira Paszek.

Williams' sister Venus withdrew from the tournament earlier this week.

For more tennis, be sure to check out SB Nation's tennis hub.

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