Venus Williams gets her hit (video)

Venus Williams, the only returning Australian Open women’s singles finalist from a year ago with her sister not yet back on Tour, is a huge fan of the 8 a.m. practices.

(Well, maybe not a huge fan. That probably requires a 6 a.m. wakeup call and not too many people are fans of those. But it’s nice and quiet on site, and there are no distractions).

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Here she is on Thursday, going through her paces on the practice court.

The hair is in its full glory. Hopefully Venus will also let her tennis game fully hang out.

She opens her tournament Monday on Rod Laver Arena against a very, very tough opponent.

After a five-month absence in 2017, Belinda Bencic (a former No. 7) returned in the fall at the lower ITF level and has barely skipped a beat getting back to form.

Bencic’s last stop was Perth, Australia where she carried Roger Federer to the Hopman Cup title.

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