Sunday, June 19, 2011

Serena in "Stop and Smell the Flowers" Mode

Serena Williams spoke to the media Sunday. Her advice? "Life is too short, so have a drink."

Bit by bit, piece by piece, we are finally receiving the details of what Serena William's bizarre year has been like. First we thought she might be lying (she wasn't, but maybe withholding), then we thought she might be dying (she could have), but now we know everything, and a few lucky journalists have even seen the scars on her feet.

It wasn't just one foot mind you, it was both. And it wasn't just stepping on glass that started Serena's vicious unrelenting cycle of maladies; it started with some type of glass object dropped on one foot, then Serena stepping on the remnants afterwards (maybe, but nobody -- not even Serena -- is entirely sure).

How was such an extraordinary and unfortunate incident possible? Not even Serena -- or the folks that were with her outside of a nightclub in Munich -- knows. It's such a big mystery that even Serena herself has made light of it by saying "It's like the biggest mystery next to the Loch Ness Monster."

What happened next was slightly less mysterious but all the more incredulous.

First a surgery, then another, then a blod clot that travelled to her lungs, then, finally, a hematoma the size of a grapefruit emerged in her stomach just when it appeared that things couldn't get any worse.

What, in all that lowness, a reporter asked Serena today, was the low point? "The hematoma that I suffered," said Serena. "After I had the lung problem, I was like okay, I got through that, but having to have the surgery to remove the hematoma was just my low point. I felt it was never going to end."

Was there a point where you said that this isn't worth it anymore? Asked another reporter. "No. Never," said Serena. "I'm never the type to stop. I stop when I'm ready, and I'm just not ready, and I really thoroughly enjoy being out there."

Another reporter asked Serena how she felt about a possible semifinal with Na Li, and that drew a laugh. "Look," she said, smiling, and rolling her eyes, "I gotta get there."

Now that Serena is almost there (she's got two matches under her belt and she's many a handicappers pre-Wimbledon favorite) the questions inevitably moved to how she is feeling.

How were you able to get your conditioning back so quickly? It's only been six, seven weeks where you can really go full out? Here the mystery returned. "I don't know...I really don't know," said Williams. "I work with this guy who is a machine, and, uh, we'll see."

Very mysterious indeed, but thankfully the intrepid reporters on hand got her to elaborate a bit. "I had to do things differently because I had to expand my lung capacity because I lost a little bit of my lung," she added.

Slowly but surely the tone of the interview then turned nostalgic. Serena was asked what she felt she adds to the Tour, but she clearly was more concerned about what the Tour adds to her. "I really missed not being around the tour." she said. "I miss the ladies in the locker room, I miss laughing, I miss having matches. I miss the Tour. I hope it missed me, but I missed the Tour."

What is the void, one reporter wanted to know, on the Tour, when Serena isn't playing? "Maybe some extra color, I guess," she said with a chuckle. "I don't know. I think the Tour is doing fine, there's so much depth in women's tennis, so it's good."

Finally conversation turned to the business at hand, the things we all want to know on the eve of the 125th Wimbledon: What did Serena learn about the shape of her game during Eastbourne, and what are her expectations for the Wimbledon fortnight? "My game's doing pretty good," said Serena. "There's some things that I want to work on and improve, but I can't be upset at all about my game. It's fun. I feel like I'm young again and I have goals that I want to achieve."

How about the serve, the one that thrashed the competition relentlessly last year at Wimbledon, and could make a great deal of difference for Serena in terms of keeping points short this year?

"I didn't travel with my serve to Eastbourne," said Serena, "so I hope it was in my luggage coming to Wimbledon, because I missed him." (Her serve is, apparently, a man.)

And last but not least, what has Serena learned in the past year?

"Life is too short, so have a drink." (She did admit to kidding about this, but I'm not so sure.)

She may not be in top form, but Serena Williams is definitely still confident, still loose, and not taking anything for granted.

Might it be a recipe for a 5th Wimbledon title? Only time will tell.

Either way, it will be fun to watch, and for that, we should be thankful.

1 comment:

  1. What a weird year it has been for her. It'll be interesting to see how she plays. Thanks for the post.


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