Williams withdraws from Acura Classic with swelling in left kneeBy BETH HARRIS, AP Sports Writer
July 30, 2004
CARLSBAD, Calif. (AP) -- Serena Williams
withdrew from the Acura Classic on Friday because of swelling in her left knee, almost exactly a year after surgery on that knee.
Williams, who hasn't won a tournament since March, was scheduled to play 12th-seeded Vera Zvonareva
of Russia in the quarterfinals.
She said her knee began acting up after she chased a drop shot in the first set of her third-round victory over Elena Bovina
on Thursday night.
``I said, 'Ooh, that really hurts,''' the top-seeded Williams said. ``I figured it would go away. I really just stopped running the rest of the match. I must have tweaked it somewhere down the line.''
She and older sister Venus are scheduled to play in the Athens Olympics, where tennis begins Aug. 15, and the U.S. Open, which starts Aug. 30.
``I really want to go ahead and go to the Olympics,'' said Serena Williams, scheduled to leave for Athens with the U.S. team Aug. 10. ``I don't want to take that chance and miss out on the Olympics and the U.S. Open.''
She was up until 2 a.m. Friday receiving treatment.
``I was trying to get it calmed down,'' she said.
The WTA Tour injury report classified the injury as a recurrence. On Aug. 1, 2003, Williams had surgery to repair a partial tear in the same knee, then missed eight months.
``It is ironic, huh?'' she said.
Williams returned in March and won her first tournament at Miami, but she hasn't won in seven tournaments since then. She lost to Maria Sharapova
in the Wimbledon final July 3 and to Lindsay Davenport
in last week's final at Carson.
Williams, 28-5 this year, planned to have an MRI exam in Los Angeles later Friday.
It's been an unlucky few weeks in California for the Williams sisters.
Venus withdrew from the Acura Classic on Tuesday with a sprained right wrist, an injury she got before the semifinals at Carson. She withdrew while trailing Davenport 7-5, 2-0 in that match. A week earlier, Venus lost a riveting three-set final to Davenport at Stanford.
Serena also is entered in next week's tournament in Toronto. Asked why she would risk possible further injury by playing there, she said, ``I think the WTA would hate if I answered honestly.''
Pressed for an explanation, Williams said she was being deliberately vague, but alluded to Tour-imposed fines for players who don't honor their commitments.
``It's hard because you got these things going on and if you don't play, then things can happen,'' she said. ``It's almost as if people don't care that you're really hurt or not. Everything is about making the dollar. I'm trying to make a dollar. That's what it's all about these days.''
Asked whether it would be worse for the Tour for her to miss several weeks instead of skipping one event, Williams said, ``I would think so, but apparently that's not how the money is made.''
Is Williams being forced to play in Toronto?
``I think I should leave on that note because I don't like to lie,'' she said, smiling.
Williams appeared on court in tight hot pink Capri pants, a white T-shirt and a white headband to tell the crowd she couldn't play. She was making her first singles appearance at the tournament that Venus won from 2000-02.
``I'll give you the dramatic version as I'm an actress,'' Serena said before launching into an account of how she ran at top speed (``probably 20 miles an hour'') and lunged for the drop shot. ``It's been a hard 12 months for me, but I'm really on the comeback,'' she told the crowd. ``I'm so sorry. I promise to be here next year in the finals.''