July 23, 2010

Serena playing dangerous game w/ foot "injury"

Quick quiz: How did Serena Williams hurt her foot?

A) She stepped on broken glass in a restaurant.
B) She didn't. It's an act so she doesn't have to play mandatory tournaments that don't interest her.
C) She got a little carried away in the celebration after winning Wimbledon.
D) Some other reason, not related to anything we've heard.
E) Don't know.

I'm going with E, although I've believed all the other options at some point in the past 10 days, since Williams withdrew from the World TeamTennis season and three tournaments leading up to the U.S. Open. Williams' fans don't like it when there is suspicion about her, usually blaming racial motives or jealousy or something. But the reason for the suspicion this time is Williams herself.

This will be another divisive moment for her. Pick a side. There's your truth. Williams inflames the debate.

If you have believed her in the past, then you will see any doubts about this injury as just more hating. If you haven't believed, then this will be further proof of her insincerity. "She didn't step on glass," said Williams' agent and spokesperson, Jill Smoller. "So I don't know where that came from. Her foot was cut. There was a deep laceration. She had surgery Thursday in Los Angeles ... to repair a deep laceration on top of her foot."

Surgery to repair a cut? Does that mean stitches? A torn tendon? What?

"I'm not going to go into that," she said.

See? This is an act of faith. According to her agent, Williams did hurt the foot with broken glass in a restaurant in Germany, where she had gone with a few friends after winning Wimbledon. She just didn't step on the glass. Let's see then. Top of the foot, not bottom. Broken glass, but not stepped on. Restaurant. Surgery for some unknown reason.

Hmm. Maybe a waiter broke a glass and the shards fell onto her foot? Didn't anyone see this happen to the world's most famous female athlete? We're still left guessing. Smoller said it was "a freak accident" and that she could only go so far with the details, pointing out that Williams and her sister Venus don't talk about injuries. They don't want them to come off as excuses.

Fine, but that doesn't apply here. This isn't about making excuses for a loss. Williams is out. There must be a reason. And more importantly, fans who have paid for tickets to see her play deserve answers from her. More answers from the Williams camp: When will she be able to play? As soon as she's ready. When does the doctor think that will be? She's a quick healer.

Williams is reportedly "questionable" for the U.S. Open, whatever that means. Imagine if Drew Brees had pulled out of the Super Bowl citing an injury regarding glass and foot surgery for an undisclosed reason. But actually, this brings up question No. 2 in the quiz: Is Williams "questionable" for the U.S. Open?

A) Yes
B) No.
C) Don't know.

I'm going to go with C. In this fog, it's questionable whether she's questionable. This part of the story is not Williams' fault. When word of Williams' injury first came out, you had to be skeptical. Her record is terrible on following through on her word to play tournaments that aren't majors. The tour must know what she's up to, which led me to believe it was going along with the charade.

The Associated Press quoted a Women's Tennis Association spokesperson by name saying that Williams is questionable for the Open. I asked another WTA spokesperson about it, which led to a ping-pong match of e-mails.

"The word 'questionable' was used by AP, not the WTA. The WTA confirmed she is entered to play in the U.S. Open." But the AP actually quotes a WTA official saying she's questionable. "Answered in the first response to your questions ..." The AP says that the WTA says something, but the WTA says the AP is the one who said it. Was the WTA misquoted? "We have answered your question from the initial email you sent ..."

If Williams wants to play only in majors, the tour should just let her. That way she doesn't have to throw matches, as she was doing last year, or fake injuries to get out of lesser events. In November, she gave her word to play the Fed Cup finals. Then, a few days later, during the tour championships, she said she was too tired. She won the tour championships, revived in time for the Australian Open, said her knees hurt, and skipped everything until a French Open warm-up tournament. Then came Wimbledon. Now, she got hurt, played anyway in an exhibition in Belgium, came back to the U.S., wore high heels for photographers in a red-carpet like event, and now is skipping everything until the U.S. Open. She has had her photo taken while shopping near Hollywood with crutches and one of those boots you wear after foot surgery. How hard is it to put on a boot for 10 minutes where you know paparazzi will be?

Well, I'm going with the idea that she does, in fact, have an injury of some sort that required surgery for whatever reason. Just a hunch. Other players give details when they're out. You know, Williams was going to get at least $150,000 to play in Istanbul, and could have won $350,000 in Montreal and $350,000 more in Cincinnati. She's also out $400,000 from a tour bonus pool. That's more than $1 million, at least. Is she suing that restaurant?

"At this point," Smoller said, "there are no plans."

Last quiz question: If Williams plays in the U.S. Open, what does that say?

A) She is courageous and made a quick recovery.
B) Her injuries have suspiciously great timing.
C) Both will have to serve as the full truth.

Article by Greg Couch - Tennis FanHouse


TennisAce said...

You really should not give Greg Couch more air time than he already gets. As a fan of Serena I am left with a lot of questions concerning this injury. I wish she would at least let us her fans know how this injury occurred and indeed what are her chances to play the US Open.

There are too many conflicting stories making the rounds on this one. Kim Clijsters with whom she played the Belgium exo has said that she was aware that Serena was hurt during that exo and Navratilova said so as well. I am not quite sure what else Couch needs.

This is just double standard by the media. They lambast Federer for talking about his injuries and now then are lambasting Serena for not talking about hers.

I am tired of hearing about players and their injuries. I have heard so much about Sharapova and Nadal's shoulder and knees that I can write a book about it. However, at least their fans are kept in the loop. For me a simple statement by Serena as to what happened to her foot and her prognosis for recovery to her fans would go a far way to dismissing the negative press.

monika said...

Greg Couch is an obvious, jealous idiot! Why don't he also focus on other athletes who pull out of matches due to injuries? Why is it that everytime he writes something about Serena, it is always something negative? He and many other sports journalists always put a negative spin on anything Serena says or does. He must have forgotten that Serena is getting older not younger and she has been playing tennis for more than 20 yrs. The older you get, the longer it takes for your injuries to heal- unless of course you have a little help from steroids to help you heal a lot faster. These circumstances are just further proof that Serena is not on steroids or any other performance enhancement drugs.

TennisAce said...

Monika, the thing is that those other players have their publicists that put out all these spins about the injuries and the media eats it up. Can you imagine if Serena had gone 2 years without winning a major or gone 11 months without a title like Sharapova and Nadal or indeed had only won 1 title this year like Federer. People would have been calling for her retirement.

Sometimes I think that the media expect Serena to act as if she is fortunate to be playing this sport and that she should play every tournament or she owes tennis something. She owes tennis nothing. She has a duty to her many fans to let them know how she is doing. We support her so the least she can do is provide us with something as to her injury.

For what its worth, the double standard by the media is all too glaring in this situation and it really needs to stop.

monika said...

You are absolutely right Tennis Ace. I just wish that she would give a little more info to her true fans about her injury on her fan site.

Lifecat Dude said...

This is stupid. You don't get your foot cut while eating in a resturaunt in Munich to the point of surgery. What happened? Did a Saskwatch barge in and smash a punch bowl with malice on the top of her foot. The quality of a lie is directly proportional to its plausability. This lie get a 1 on a scale of 1 to 10. I'm requesting a better lie. Remember your steel-toed work boots if you're eating in Munich.