Serena Hurts Knee Again, to have MRI
Williams: ĎItís almost as if people donít care if you play hurt. Itís all about making money'
By Matthew Cronin
Susan Mullane/Camerawork USA
FROM THE ACURA CLASSIC IN CARLSBAD, CA - The way things were looking from the top of San Diegoís Mt. Soledad on Friday, if Lindsay Davenportís fragile knee doesnít hold up the rest of the summer, by the time the final Thursday of the US Open rolls around, four Russians could be sitting pretty in the semifinals.
On Friday, Serena Williams joined her sister Venus on the sidelines, by pulling out of the Acura Classic with inflammation of her surgically repaired left knee.
Williams was scheduled to play Russiaís Vera Zvonareva in the quarters, who are now awaiting the winner of the Maria Sharapova-Anastasia Myskina contest.
Davenport, who crunched Ai Sugiyama, will face Russianís Elena Dementieva (who blasted Amy Frazier) in the other semifinal. "Itís a funny time. Russia been the country producing the good young players the last couple years," Davenport said. "We havenít had any new players emerge. Weíre pretty good with Serena, Venus, Jennifer and myself, but unfortunately, three of our top four are hurt right now."
Serena said that she re-injured her knee on Thursday night in her straight-set victory over Elena Bovina while going for a drop shot in the first set, but there was no indication that she was in pain during the match. She never called for a trainer. She did spend 40 minutes in the trainerís room that night and will undergo an MRI on her knee today in Los Angeles. "I knew that it really hurt, but I was hoping it would go away," Williams said. "I donít want to take the chance of missing out on the Olympics and the US Open."
Williams underwent left knee surgery for a partial tear of her quadriceps tendon on August 1, 2003. She was consequently off the tour for eight and half months, returning in March, when she won the NASDAQ-100. Sheís been slow to recover.
"I actually did it just before the anniversary of my surgery," Williams said. "Maybe thatís bad memories. But Iím sure it's going to be okayÖ. I just need to say to myself, ĎOkay, Serena, calm down, because you have a long summer ahead and I donít want you to ruin your summer."
Williams is scheduled to play Montreal next week, but she essentially said thatís sheís out of the Tier 1 tournament, which will have a tough time selling tickets with only two real headliners: Amelie Mauresmo and Anastasia Myskina.
Echoing the sentiments of Justine Henin-Hardenne, the popular star said that she feels pressure from tour our to play tournaments even when she shouldnít.
"I think the WTA would hate if I answered honestly, " she said. " Iíll be vague. Itís almost as if people donít care if you play hurt. Itís all about making money. Iím about making money. Thatís what it is all about."
Williams added that it would be much worse for the tour if she played Montreal, injured the knee further and then was out for the next three to four months. "I would think so, but apparently thatís not how the money is made," Williams said.
Lindsay Davenport said that she felt pressure this year form the tour to play Miami, "but I didnít bend. I cannot play when Iím injured. Thatís when you are asking for trouble."
Davenport says No Montreal; Elena Thinks she has shot at Lindsay
Susan Mullane/Camerawork USA
Davenport said there is now way sheíll consider taking a wild card into Montreal next week. You can bet the tournament will come begging to Sharapova, who like Davenport, isnít scheduled to play until New Haven.
Dementieva has a different perspective saying that she puts pressure on herself to show up because "I know that the fans really want to see us play and in most places they only get to see us once a year."
Davenport owns an 8-4 record against Dementieva going into the match, having beaten her all eight times theyíve played on outdoor hardcourts. But the 22-year-old Russian has been playing well the last two weeks and thinks sheís got a decent shot. She did trounce Davenport in their last match at í04 Roland Garros.
"I have to play my best," Dementieva said. "Iíll have to move her around and serve very well."
Davenport says she has a heck of time returning the Russianís sidewinder slice serve. "You always know itís going to the forehand, but you never know if sheís going to hit at 105-mph or 50-mph," Davenport said. "But from the baseline, sheís one of the toughest groundstrokers out there."