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tennisIlove09
Jun 14th, 2006, 11:35 PM
Serena Sets Sights On Cincinnati Return
http://www.sportsmediainc.net/tennisweek/SERENAfistMiami05SMullane.jpg.jpg
Photo By Susan Mullane By Tennis Week
06/15/2006

Serena Williams is planning to return to tournament tennis in Cincinnati next month. The seven-time Grand Slam champion, who has not played a match since the Australian Open in January, said today she has accepted a wild card into the Western & Southern Financial Group Women's Open the week of July 17.


"I have decided to return to competitive tennis at Cincinnati’s Western & Southern Financial Group Women’s Open, the week of July 17," said Williams. "Lately I have been working very hard on making my knee stronger, and that work is progressing well. Barring any setbacks, it is my hope that I will be able to rejoin the Sony Ericsson WTA Tour at Cincinnati."

Given the tenuous state of Serena actually keeping her commitment to compete in tournaments she enters this season, tournament officials, who are well aware of the skepticism that can surround Serena's announcements to enter events, are cautiously optimistic about the prospect of the former World No. 1 joining the Cincinnati field.

"We’re delighted she’s indicated a desire to play here. We’re tempering that excitement with the knowledge that sometimes an injury can linger," tournament director Bruce Flory said. "Of course we hope that doesn’t happen, and we’ll keep in touch with her agent about her health as the tournament gets closer. We are thrilled about the possibility of her playing here for our fans."

Though Williams, who attributes her absence to her continued recovery from "a chronic knee injury", has pulled out of several tournaments this year, the two-time U.S. Open champion is said to be intent on playing the U.S. Open in August. Williams has often characterized the Open as her favorite major; she has played Flushing Meadows in seven of the last eight years, missing only the 2003 U.S. Open while recovering from surgery on her left knee on August 1, 2003.

Assuming she retains her fitness and focus, a return to tournament tennis in Cincinnati makes sense as it would provide Williams much-needed match play and the opportunity to gauge her health and the state of her game prior to playing Flushing Meadows.

"What I can tell you based on what I am being told by my doctors is that I should be in a position to be playing again by the end of this summer," Williams said in a statement she released in announcing her withdrawal from Wimbledon.

The 2005 Australian Open champion has played three matches this year after producing a 21-7 record in 2005. Since she beat Lindsay Davenport to win the 2005 Australian Open, Serena has posted a 16-8 record over the past 16 months; her inactivity has prompted her ranking to plummet to No. 104. Twelve Americans are now ranked higher than the woman who dominated tennis in winning five of the six Grand Slam tournaments she entered from 2002 to 2003. Displaying flashes of the fighting spirit that carried her to the 2005 Australian Open title, Williams saved four match points, but ultimately couldn't save herself from a lack of preparation and match play as Daniela Hantuchova knocked the defending champion out of the Australian Open with a 6-1, 7-6(5) third-round victory in 91 minutes in January.

That match marked Williams' last appearance on court and WTA Tour CEO Larry Scott suggested physical concerns are not the only issues Williams is currently confronting. "She's going through some issues, physical and otherwise, and pursuing other interests that she has," Scott said. "But I'm confident that tennis means a lot to her and that we're going to see her at the top of her game. It's not a matter of 'if,' but 'when.' "

Should she actually compete in Cincinnati as scheduled, Williams will face top-10 caliber competition. Some of the women expected to play the Western & Southern Financial Group Women’s Open include defending champion Patty Schnyder, 2004 French Open champ Anastasia Myskina, former top 10 player and 2005 Cincinnati semifinalist Daniela Hantuchova, Tatiana Golovin, 2004 Cincinnati finalist Vera Zvonareva, 2005 finalist Akiko Morigami, 2005 Cincinnati quarterfinalist Jelena Jankovic, and 2004 semifinalist Amy Frazier as well as Marion Bartoli, Sania Mirza, and Laura Granville.

"Of the final 16 at the French Open last week, four are coming here," said Flory. "Last year there were three Top 25 players in the draw and it looks like this year there will be four in the Top 25, as well as Serena Williams. The field for this event has gotten consistently stronger since the women returned in 2004, and we’re very excited about this field. It looks like it could be the best year yet."

The tournament will bestow its two other wild cards sometime before the draw on Saturday, July 15. In addition, one spot in the draw will be reserved for 77th-ranked Yuliana Fedak of the Ukraine, who gained her main draw spot by winning the ITF event in Dothan, Alabama in April. The winner of the ITF event in College Park, Maryland, played in early July, will also earn a spot in the main draw.

The main draw of the 2006 Western & Southern Financial Group Women’s Open will be held July 17-23 at the Lindner Family Tennis Center in Mason, Ohio. The qualifying event for the tournament will be held on July 15-16 (with some qualifying matches the morning of Monday, July 17). The ceremony to place the players into the main draw will be open to anyone with a ticket to the qualifying matches on July 15. It will be held at noon in the Foodcourt, and tickets to the qualifying are as low as $5, free for kids 14-and-under.

For tickets or information, please visit www.cincytennis.com (http://www.cincytennis.com/), or call (513) 651-0303. Tickets also are available via TicketMaster at (513) 562-4949 or www.ticketmaster.com (http://www.ticketmaster.com/).

RaDiCaLgIrL♥FG
Jun 14th, 2006, 11:39 PM
Tennis needs her! :D Quickly take a title when comeback!

The Daviator
Jun 15th, 2006, 12:24 AM
'Barring any setbacks'

I didn't like that line :unsure: Please be there Serena :D

Bounty Hunter
Jun 15th, 2006, 12:28 AM
:bounce: Good luck!

Chunchun
Jun 15th, 2006, 12:47 AM
Oh yesssssssssss :bounce:

MrSerenaWilliams
Jun 15th, 2006, 01:04 AM
Payback.....Serena's gonna CRUSH Daniela

Couver
Jun 15th, 2006, 01:07 AM
Good Luck Serena, can't wait to see you back :)

Denise4925
Jun 15th, 2006, 02:20 AM
Oh Serena come back here, win and let this carry you strongly into the US Open. :banana:

mila_mail
Jun 15th, 2006, 02:36 AM
serena, win the comeback title!!!

VeeDaQueen
Jun 15th, 2006, 02:47 AM
is there any chance in hell serena can be seeded at the USO?

AK-DH Fan
Jun 15th, 2006, 03:35 AM
Glad she's comming back some time in the near future. Though I hate to admit it, I miss seeing her around. She really is entertaining. Hopefully she can stay injury free:)

njnetswill
Jun 15th, 2006, 03:39 AM
is there any chance in hell serena can be seeded at the USO?

Not really. Unless she goes on a Davenport/Clijsters like tear through the summer hardcourts.

darrinbaker00
Jun 15th, 2006, 04:36 AM
is there any chance in hell serena can be seeded at the USO?
If 72 of the 103 women ranked ahead of her drop dead between now and then, yes. ;)

bello
Jun 15th, 2006, 05:03 AM
Good luck to Serena!!! Ive becoem a new fan last 12 months! U dont know what u got til it's gone i guess..LOL!

tennisIlove09
Jun 15th, 2006, 12:08 PM
is there any chance in hell serena can be seeded at the USO?

Actually, I think Serena will have missed 6 months because of injury. She maybe able to get the injury protected ranking, but I am not sure.

mc8114
Jun 15th, 2006, 12:25 PM
Good luck to Serena!!! Ive becoem a new fan last 12 months! U dont know what u got til it's gone i guess..LOL!
I feel the same way and btw july 17 is only like a month away

njnetswill
Jun 15th, 2006, 02:08 PM
Actually, I think Serena will have missed 6 months because of injury. She maybe able to get the injury protected ranking, but I am not sure.

I think that she will get a SR, but those no longer gets you a seeding anymore, just a pass into the MD. Not that Serena wouldn't get Wildcards anyway.

santhuruu
Jun 15th, 2006, 02:14 PM
I wish the best of luck to Serena!

Sanneriet
Jun 15th, 2006, 02:29 PM
I hope she does come back, but those "quotes" sound like something an agent wrote.

Denise4925
Jun 15th, 2006, 06:36 PM
Florys' work pays off: Serena coming to play

Western & Southern Women's Open
BY DUSTIN DOW | ENQUIRER STAFF WRITER

MASON - No one, except perhaps her sister, can fill seats at a tennis event like Serena Williams.

At least that's what Bruce Flory is hoping after Williams committed to play in the Western & Southern Financial Group Women's Open.

In luring Williams, tournament chairman Paul Flory and his son Bruce, the W&S director, utilized persistence and their respected name within tennis. They announced her decision to play here Wednesday - along with the names of 23 others of the 32-player field for the July 17-23 tournament.


"It's huge for this area, just forgetting tennis for a moment," Bruce Flory said. "Just to have an international star of her magnitude. Everyone's heard of Serena Williams."

Forbes put Williams at No. 63 on its Celebrity 100 list, and Sports Business Daily labeled her the No. 1 most marketable female athlete in 2003.

The impact Serena and sister Venus have had on tennis is unparalleled in women's sports, and Flory expects that recognition factor to sell out 10,500-seat Center Court at the Lindner Family Tennis Center when Serena Williams plays. The tournament averaged 44,504 per year in the two years since women's tennis returned to Cincinnati after a 15-year hiatus.

The Florys had pursued Williams to play here since December, when Bruce Flory introduced himself at an exhibition in Cleveland.

At first, Williams' response was, "I'll think about it," the Florys said, which was far more generous than that of other top players.

The Florys started calling Serena's agent - and kept on trying. They knew Williams, nursing an injured knee since January, might want to make her return to the court in the U.S., and that WTA Tour rules require her to play in at least one Tier III, or mid-level, event this season. The W&S Women's Open was an ideal fit.

"I wanted to start off with a smaller tournament," Williams said. "And about a month ago, it became a serious thought to play there. It's been really hard not playing. Watching the French Open, it really hurt."

Finally, Bruce Flory got a positive response two weeks ago.

Excited as they were, the Florys weren't comfortable in making the announcement until Wednesday, considering Williams isn't yet fully healthy and could withdraw before the start of the tournament.

"I expect to be ready to go out and be able to play," Williams said. "I just can't see that right now that I would pull out."

http://news.enquirer.com/apps/pbcs.dll/article?AID=/20060615/SPT/606150406/1078/rss12

Denise4925
Jun 15th, 2006, 06:40 PM
Williams commits to Western & Southern Women's Open
BY DUSTIN DOW | ENQUIRER STAFF WRITER
MASON - Can Cincinnati handle the "Catsuit"?

International tennis star Serena Williams, second only to her sister Venus in female athletic celebrity, is bringing her fashionable flair and charisma to Greater Cincinnati in mid-July as the headline player in the Western & Southern Financial Group Women's Open.

Her presence is expected to provide the event with what is perhaps its most prominent personality - male or female - in 107 years of professional tennis in Cincinnati.

"Getting Serena is a big bonanza," said tournament director Bruce Flory, who labeled Williams a more alluring figure than even Andre Agassi at his height of popularity. "I'd be disappointed if we didn't sell out that session that she's playing."

The Williams sisters - Venus at No. 1 and Serena at No. 2 - are the most popular female athletes among American fans, according to a recent Harris Interactive poll. Venus declined an invitation to play in the July 17-23 tournament, but Serena will use the W&S Women's Open as her first tournament back from a knee injury that has kept her out since January.

"I go to the men's tournament, but I haven't been to the women's one," said Zarina Sharalaya, 18, of Mason, dining at Panera Bread in Mason. "I'd consider going now for Serena for sure."

The Florys, Bruce and his father, Paul, the tournament chairman, wooed Williams, a seven-time Grand Slam champion, for six months, ending two weeks ago with Williams' assent.

Williams, 24, once donned the "catsuit," a skintight Lycra tennis outfit she designed for the U.S. Open.

"This really is so big," Bruce Flory said. "For tennis fans, and for people who have followed her outfits."

http://news.enquirer.com/apps/pbcs.dll/article?AID=/20060615/SPT/606150405/1078/rss12

:lol:

Craigy
Jun 15th, 2006, 07:28 PM
Can't wait until she comes back :woohoo:

tennisjunky
Jun 15th, 2006, 07:30 PM
its funny but the buzz that only serena can create has already strarted. you can feel the new life that her announcement is creating in the media and with tennis fans. cant wait to have her back, although i wouldn't expect too much too soon. she'll be back on top, but i dont expect great results right away.

dreamgoddess099
Jun 15th, 2006, 07:35 PM
The Cincinnati tournament organizers are going completely ape shit over Serena.

Denise4925
Jun 15th, 2006, 07:54 PM
Have y'all been to Serena's forum to see the new Tee and Sneakers from Nike?

hingisGOAT
Jun 15th, 2006, 08:03 PM
:bounce: i'm very excited for hingis to regain the lead in the h2h and have winning records against both williams sisters! so i hope serena comes back healthy and plays the same tournaments as martina does :armed:

miranda_lou
Jun 15th, 2006, 09:00 PM
a more alluring figure than even Andre Agassi at his height of popularity.
The Flory's are full of shit.:rolleyes:

Andre has played here in Cincinnati for years and every match he plays is standing room only. Give me a break. The Flory's are trying to stroke Serena's massive ego.:mad:

Having said that . . . it is great that Serena is coming and I really, really hope she doesn't drop out. That would be a shame.

Derek.
Jun 15th, 2006, 09:01 PM
Payback.....Serena's gonna CRUSH Daniela

:lol: :hug:

Denise4925
Jun 15th, 2006, 09:07 PM
The Flory's are full of shit.:rolleyes:

Andre has played here in Cincinnati for years and every match he plays is standing room only. Give me a break. The Flory's are trying to stroke Serena's massive ego.:mad:

Having said that . . . it is great that Serena is coming and I really, really hope she doesn't drop out. That would be a shame.
That's why he made the comparison. :rolleyes: If Andre got that kind of reception, think of what they will have if Serena comes.

Don't hate. :lol:

dreamgoddess099
Jun 15th, 2006, 09:42 PM
The Flory's are trying to stroke Serena's massive ego.:mad:


First, if Serena had such a massive ego she wouldn't even play a tier III tournament. Second, of course the organizers are going to kiss her ass, they're desperate for her to showup. :lol:

SAEKeithSerena
Jun 15th, 2006, 09:50 PM
serena, i can't wait

Brooks.
Jun 15th, 2006, 09:50 PM
Rena :hearts: