Virus could sideline top-ranked Serena
By Karen Crouse, Palm Beach Post Staff Writer
Friday, March 21, 2003
KEY BISCAYNE -- A stomach virus could accomplish what nobody on the court has been able to manage this year: Stop Serena Williams.
Williams was too sick Thursday to attend a scheduled news conference with older sister Venus at the Nasdaq-100 Open. The Palm Beach Gardens resident is slated to play Francesca Schiavone of Italy tonight on the Stadium court at the Tennis Center at Crandon Park.
Adam Barrett, the tournament director, said he moved Williams' 2003 Miami debut back to the second evening match on the showcase court, after No. 1-ranked Lleyton Hewitt's tournament opener against Francisco Clavet, to give Serena as much time as possible "to rest and get her strength back."
"First off, we hope she's feeling better," Barrett said. "She's the No. 1 seed. She's the defending champion. She's won the last four Grand Slams. She's 11 and 0 this year. As a tournament director, yeah, I'm concerned."
Serena, 21, was supposed to appear alongside her sister to promote an Internet auction they are holding to benefit the Tom Joyner Foundation. Venus, 22, appeared at the podium alone. At one point, she looked over her shoulder at a cardboard promotional picture of Serena for Doublemint gum and said, "There she is. She's not too talkative."
Later, when Venus was asked why Serena couldn't make it to the news conference, she squirmed in her seat and said, "She just wasn't able to make it."
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