July 20, 2008

Serena speaks on knee issue, next week's tournament and the Olympics

Serena Williams' busy summer schedule caught up with her, making her the latest U.S. Olympian dealing with a knee injury as the Beijing Games approach. But Williams had felt healthy most of this year, playing a busy schedule since winning in Miami in the beginning of April. She played 26 matches in a three-month span that went through her loss in the Wimbledon final to big sister, Venus.

Wimbledon finalist Williams took a medical timeout to receive treatment when she was down 5-2 in the first set, but it made no difference as she was unable to put her weight on her left leg and finally gave up. A disappointed Williams said: "I expected to win this tournament and have a strong start (to the hard court season). "My goal was to win here and I think I would have done it otherwise.

Williams said she first started feeling pain in her morning practice. "It was hurting in practice and I really didn't practice too long because it was hurting. After I got off it was really swollen. I thought that I have to play really fast," she said. "I've been playing a lot of tennis so I think that's what it is. When you have inflammation in a joint it's hard to move. I actually thought it felt better once I got it wrapped but Wozniak kept moving me and I was hoping she wouldn't." Williams said the pain was not in the same area of the left knee where she had surgery in August 2003.

Instead of taking a week off after reaching the Wimbledon final on July 5 which she lost to Venus, Williams decided to return to the states and play four matches in the World Team Tennis league for the Washington Kastles before arriving at Stanford for her debut in this tournament.

Williams wouldn't blame her decision to play team tennis on her latest setback. She believes the switch of surface from softer grass to hard courts may have affected her, but would not say the extra week of Team Tennis was a bad decision. "You know that risk going into it. I can't blame that. I've been playing a lot of tennis for me since Miami (in March)."

Williams was unsure whether she would be able to compete in next week's Los Angles Classic, but said that being fit for the Beijing Olympic Games was her top priority.

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