BRISBANE, Australia - When Serena Williams and Anastasia Pavlyuchenkova made it to the final of the Premier-level Brisbane International last month, it wasn't just a big achievement for them, it was a big achievement for the Mouratoglou Tennis Academy, which had brought both of them to its training camp in Mauritius over the off-season. But while the two of them didn't actually take the courts together there, they did do something else together - yes, you guessed it - they took the microphone.
Since enlisting the help of Patrick Mouratoglou and his academy, Williams has been almost unbeatable on the WTA, dropping just two matches since the French Open - to Angelique Kerber in Cincinnati and to Sloane Stephens at the Australian Open - and the World No.2 thoroughly enjoyed the Mauritius trip.
"It was fun," the former World No.1 said. "I went in with the attitude that I was going to wake up at six in the morning and practice, and then have the rest of the afternoon to myself. Obviously I didn't do that - I woke up around 10 o'clock and just had a late practice, and then I had the rest of the afternoon to myself. I don't know. I always have these big, grand goals, and I can never really stick to them.
"I ended up being really afraid of everything in Mauritius. I was afraid of the ocean. Everyone swam with the dolphins; I thought they would bite me, so I refused. I ended up barely being able to snorkel because I was afraid of the fish that were this big, literally. So yeah, I don't know if that's for me."
Martina Hingis was also at the training camp, and Pavlyuchenkova was particularly happy to work with her there. "It was interesting for me to hear how she felt during matches and what she was going through - we were talking about that during the pre-season," Pavlyuchenkova said. "And the fact that she's a woman too - I think the mentality of women and men are different, especially on the court.
"It's very interesting talking to Martina - she's very passionate about tennis, she loves tennis."
While Williams and Pavlyuchenkova may not have sparred together, they did join forces for karaoke.
"We actually sang together - I didn't get the chance to hit with her there, but I had the chance to sing with her," Pavlyuchenkova said of Williams. "She loves karaoke and I love karaoke. I've been singing since I was little. I'm not as good as she is, but I like to sing and I'm trying to do it well!
"Martina was also there. It was, you know, group singing. But they're much older than me so they were singing songs from the '90s that I don't really know that well. Me, I'm more in 2011 and 2012 songs."
Williams begged to differ.
"No - that girl knew some old songs. She knew Fame, word for word," Williams said. "I was like, 'How in the world do you know Fame?' I didn't even know Fame. I had to go back and learn it. That was just last year I learned the lyrics, but she knew them already. It was just really, really hilarious."
Williams also gave props to her fellow former No.1, Hingis. "She's a good singer. She ended up being one of my favorite people to duet with. We're the same age so we wanted to sing all the same songs. I was like, 'Martina, do you want to sing this song?' She was a great plus one. Great karaoke buddy."