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stkenyi
Jan 13th, 2007, 08:04 PM
Serena Williams Acknowledges a Decline


By CHRISTOPHER CLAREY
Published: January 14, 2007
MELBOURNE, Australia, Jan. 13 — It was another long and eventful off-season for Serena Williams, who made her first visits to Africa and a Florida courtroom.

she still wanted to be a tennis player. On Saturday, with a warm wind swirling and the stands in Margaret Court Arena nearly empty, Williams grunted and threw her heavy frame into forehands and backhands during practice, trying to make up for lost months and matches before the Australian Open begins Monday.

There is much work to be done.

Melbourne is where Williams once dominated; the city where she beat her sister Venus in the 2003 final to win her fourth consecutive Grand Slam singles title; the place where she relied on her trademark combativeness to take the title in 2005.

But since then, she has not come close to winning another tournament, not even last week’s minor event just across the Bass Strait in Hobart, Tasmania, where she returned after a four-month absence from the sport and lost in the quarterfinals to the unheralded Sybille Bammer of Austria. After watching Williams, 25, huff through Saturday’s blustery practice session in the Australian summer heat, it required a J. K. Rowling-sized imagination to envision her winning this tournament.

“She’s rusty,” said Oracene Price, her mother and coach.

That was no surprise, considering that Williams played only five tournaments in the past year and was now ranked 81st in the world. But what was more surprising, despite her repeated declarations that she was eager to return to the highest level, was that she was still well over her ideal playing weight and looked heavier than when she reached the fourth round at the United States Open with an ailing knee last September. :fiery:
Asked Saturday if she was satisfied with her physical conditioning, Williams answered, “Yeah, I’ve been doing a lot better.”

But movement, particularly the lateral movement that once defined her, was clearly a challenge during a practice session.

“What she did before the season I couldn’t tell you, because I wasn’t in Florida,” Price said. “But when I look at her, I don’t know. I have my doubts.”

“The level is there, because even when she’s not in the best of shape, she really gives people a hard time,” Price added. “So she has to get in the best of shape.”

Williams has a difficult draw here. She faces 27th-seeded Mara Santangelo of Italy in the first round, and Nadia Petrova and Jelena Jankovic are also in her eighth of the draw. But Williams was in an upbeat, sometimes reflective mood Saturday as she discussed her off-season burdens and delights.

The biggest burden was the lawsuit filed against her, Venus and their father, Richard Williams, for breach of contract by two would-be promoters of a “Battle of the Sexes” match that never occurred. The trial, not the kind of court time that the Williams sisters had in mind, lasted more than five weeks and ended Dec. 21 with a jury in Palm Beach County, Fla., awarding no money to the promoters despite finding that Richard Williams had breached a contract and committed fraud.

“It was very difficult to say the least,” Serena Williams said of the trial. “Some days you can get upset and be very discouraged. At this point, I was just excited to be able to make it all the way here after such a strenuous off-season mentally.”

But Williams said she did take enormous pleasure in her 10-day visit to Senegal and Ghana in West Africa in November. She gave tennis clinics, participated in an immunization campaign and toured schools.

“I felt I was finally able to go home, if that makes any sense,” she said of her first visit to Africa. “I just felt real comfortable there.”

Williams said she intended to finance the building of a school in Senegal on a plot of land that was given to her during her visit by Senegal’s president, Abdoulaye Wade.

Serena made the trip to Africa with Price and two of her sisters but not with Venus, 26, who was recovering from a left wrist injury that had restricted her to one tournament in the past six months and forced her to miss the past two Grand Slam events. Venus had hoped to play here, but withdrew last week.

“It was disappointing, but it’s never like the doctors say,” Price said. “I don’t know what they do to those football players when they go in. Do they just shoot them up with painkillers or something?”

Price and Serena expressed confidence that Venus would return soon with the wrist problem resolved. “It’s fixed,” said Price, who declined to confirm whether Venus had had surgery to repair the problem.

With Venus and Serena unavailable for much of the past year and with a pregnant Lindsay Davenport taking what is probably a permanent break from the game, American women’s tennis is at a historic low. For the first time, no American woman is seeded at the Australian Open, all the more remarkable considering that there are 32 seedings instead of the once-traditional 16.

“It’s all my fault, I guess,” Serena Williams said. “I should have been a little more serious. But it won’t happen again, at least as long as I’m playing.”

Williams agreed that the current situation felt unnatural coming after a six-year stretch when she, Venus, Davenport and Jennifer Capriati all reached No. 1 in the rankings. “You would think someone would have been like, ‘Oh, I want to be like Jennifer’ or, ‘I want to be like Venus,’ and would have a more promising career than what they’ve had already,” Williams said. “I’m sure someone somewhere is always working hard. I just don’t know where.”

Brooklyn90
Jan 13th, 2007, 08:13 PM
interesting article.

Price said. “But when I look at her, I don’t know. I have my doubts.”:sad:

The Dawntreader
Jan 13th, 2007, 08:19 PM
good news for Venus it seems:D

stkenyi
Jan 13th, 2007, 08:20 PM
Until Venus plays on that wrist. I am not jumping for Joy

jogoss_78
Jan 13th, 2007, 08:29 PM
thanks for the article
Do your best Serena :)

safinforlife
Jan 13th, 2007, 08:35 PM
That article was depressing except for the Venus part. I hate all these articles about how low Serena has gotten.

Marcell
Jan 13th, 2007, 08:39 PM
If Serena was not serious she could have taken the easy way out and come back when she was 100 percent.With the trial over I think she can concentrate on tennis now.

stkenyi
Jan 13th, 2007, 08:42 PM
I went to wireimage. Better pics of Serena from Yesterdays practice. She doesn't look so bad.

KishG
Jan 13th, 2007, 08:50 PM
Once again, a negative article around Serena. I don't give a shit what her weight was in 2006............... How fat she looked..................... What results she had................. What the fuck her ranking was................... What problems she had to go through............ What she did in the off season. The fact is, it's all about NOW. There's no point dwelling on the past because you can't change it and thus you can't do anything about it. That's what the article above is mainly focusing on; the past.

All I care about is what Serena's going to do now. She's already acknowledged she's in a decline. She's acknowleged what her ranking is, and she's acknowledged that she hasn't been taking her tennis career seriously. She's acknowledged the problem[s]! Taking all this into account, it really does tell me that shes now serious and working on her fitness. When she lost in Hobart she didn't go away from the game, she decided to play the Australian Open and put herself out there to see what a fat piece of blub shes become. She's willing to get back into shape, get her ranking up and win majors. Thats what we should be focusing on!

Why all this negative shit? It's only going to bring Serena down and shes not going down without a fight. So the haters can fuck off because thats the truth. You havent got eyes if you can't see that.

Mina Vagante
Jan 13th, 2007, 08:54 PM
Once again, a negative article around Serena. I don't give a shit what her weight was in 2006............... How fat she looked..................... What results she had................. What the fuck her ranking was................... What problems she had to go through............ What she did in the off season. The fact is, it's all about NOW. There's no point dwelling on the past because you can't change it and thus you can't do anything about it. That's what the article above is mainly focusing on; the past.

All I care about is what Serena's going to do now. She's already acknowledged she's in a decline. She's acknowleged what her ranking is, and she's acknowledged that she hasn't been taking her tennis career seriously. She's acknowledged the problem[s]! Taking all this into account, it really does tell me that shes now serious and working on her fitness. When she lost in Hobart she didn't go away from the game, she decided to play the Australian Open and put herself out there to see what a fat piece of blub shes become. She's willing to get back into shape, get her ranking up and win majors. Thats what we should be focusing on!

Why all this negative shit? It's only going to bring Serena down and shes not going down without a fight. So the haters can fuck off because thats the truth. You havent got eyes if you can't see that.

:help: WOAH:tape: not guna get on your bad side:help: :lol: thanks for posting the article

tennisjunky
Jan 13th, 2007, 08:57 PM
this serena fan sees this as encouraging. could she have done more, probably. did she do all she can during the off season, probably not. but she's doing what she needs to do now and that counts for something. have a feeling a few more disapointments are around the corner, but confident that if she sticks with it, good things will happen later this season. the girls on tour better get her now, cuz by mid season i think people wont be looking at serena the way they are now.

Stamp Paid
Jan 13th, 2007, 09:19 PM
Im glad Oracene was real. She always is.

southpaw58
Jan 13th, 2007, 09:33 PM
Mama O keeps it real. Serena just do your best. Don't give up, and keep building.

Brooklyn90
Jan 13th, 2007, 09:37 PM
Mama O keeps it real. Serena just do your best. Don't give up, and keep building.

:yeah:

nhissan
Jan 13th, 2007, 09:43 PM
Williams agreed that the current situation felt unnatural coming after a six-year stretch when she, Venus, Davenport and Jennifer Capriati all reached No. 1 in the rankings. “You would think someone would have been like, ‘Oh, I want to be like Jennifer’ or, ‘I want to be like Venus,’ and would have a more promising career than what they’ve had already,” Williams said. “I’m sure someone somewhere is always working hard. I just don’t know where.”

I think Sharapova is that girl ,yeah I know she's not american but I think she grew up watching W. sisters as a model

-VSR-
Jan 13th, 2007, 09:44 PM
Yeah, I agree, Mama Oracene never lies! That's why I like hearing from her, but I hope Serena 'brings it' Monday.

Steffica Greles
Jan 13th, 2007, 09:47 PM
“I’m sure someone somewhere is always working hard. I just don’t know where.”

No, Serena. Nor me.

Shimizu Amon
Jan 13th, 2007, 09:47 PM
Well Serena I'm gonna cross my fingers for you. I really hope that you can get more game practice at the AO. It's gonna be a tough one with the current draw. But just keep in there and play matches and let's hope you'll be back in form asap!

sweetpeas
Jan 13th, 2007, 10:05 PM
Just do your best Serena.Keep working .Don"t stop just because,you lose early? Go home,and contiune.Keep working on yourself .Serena will never be the old Serena!Serena injure"s hamper that.Serena can still win Slams,but Serena must play more tennis.Wish Serena all the happniess.Life isn"t easy,but Serena trying!

vejh
Jan 14th, 2007, 02:50 AM
But even in her dominating days, Serena never played alot. But her mom is right; Serena's natural game is so angled, flat, powerful and accurate that even in her worse shape she will give people fits. She has good playing technique. Oracene is just so real. I think no way my mom would be so frank with the press about her daughter's work ethics.lol. So frank, it almost hurts. She don't play. I'm a bit skeptical about the role of mom and dad as coach. B/c how can the coach not know what the pupil is doing training wise in the off-season?lol.

I'm curious to know about Venus' wrist. How was it 'fixed'? WHy so secretive about it? but I'm glad it's 'fixed'.

MrSerenaWilliams
Jan 14th, 2007, 04:01 AM
I don't care...I'm just glad she's playing. I mean, it could be worse. She could be out for 6 more months on the sidelines. At least she's out there playing. Showing the field, although she has NOTHING to prove to ANYONE, that she still cares about the sport and wants to be around for more than ceremony.

:bigclap: People will always doubt you, but I can't live without you! :yeah:

Go Ree!

Direwolf
Jan 14th, 2007, 04:38 AM
Very good news for the Venus part...
Hopefully she can hit with her 2 handed backhand without any pain...
Just a matter of time before putting more power to it...

Hope to see her back with a new weapon..

starin
Jan 14th, 2007, 06:01 AM
wow...i'm kinda suprised. If Serena's mom is saying that she is still having movement problems then Serena must still be in bad shape. And :help: :tape: at the comment by the reporter that she looked heavier than she did at USO. Hopefully his/her eyes are mistaken and she's actually in better shape.

Sinnet
Jan 14th, 2007, 06:30 AM
Pretty good commentary article.

Not good that it kinda confirms the bad situation that Serena's in, but hopefully she'll move on from this. And to those saying she "has nothing to prove," well, unfortunately, she does. She has to prove that she's recommitted after saying that she's at 100 percent etc. It's been nearly two years now that Serena has been out of it... it's time to "prove" that she's still competing. But I have faith that she will. :)

~Eclipsed~
Jan 14th, 2007, 07:05 AM
Well I really hope Serena can play her way into the tourney like she did in 05.

I'm really glad to see Oracene acknowledging Serena's current condition. Most people give optimistic responses when being interviewed to please the readers, but not Oracene. :p

Craigy
Jan 14th, 2007, 12:01 PM
I'm glad her mum sees there is a problem. Hopefully she can get Serena into some decent shape this year.

Craigy
Jan 14th, 2007, 12:03 PM
wow...i'm kinda suprised. If Serena's mom is saying that she is still having movement problems then Serena must still be in bad shape. And :help: :tape: at the comment by the reporter that she looked heavier than she did at USO. Hopefully his/her eyes are mistaken and she's actually in better shape.
She has got worse...Everyone can see that.

40-0
Jan 14th, 2007, 12:12 PM
Oh So I think V was smart this time... if oracene said: ITS FIXED then it means that it healed.. she doesnt wanna rust... so i believe..and hoping!

henree
Jan 14th, 2007, 01:33 PM
Thank God thats out the way. Maybe some of my fellow Serena fans can stop posting that Serena looks perfectly fine.

Foot_Fault
Jan 14th, 2007, 02:31 PM
I like this article too... Oracene is on the MONEY!!! And it's very good to see Serena Financing a School in Ghana. That touched me!

starr
Jan 14th, 2007, 03:27 PM
Everyone talks about how difficult Serena's draw is, but she's had good luck in having an ailing Petrova and a possibly hampered Jankovic as the big guns in her draw. She definitely has chances with her draw and a chance to rest between matches. She might get further than she didlast year.

I think she might have to play herself into shape. Working out during layoffs doesn't seem to be her forte.

Mother_Marjorie
Jan 14th, 2007, 03:58 PM
Im glad Oracene was real. She always is.

Oracene is one of my favorite tennis parents of all-time, right up there with Jimmy Evert and Gloria Connors.

She is a no-nonsense kinda gal that handles the press well and that is brutally honest. Every tennis player needs a parent like Oracene.

VeeReeDavJCap81
Jan 14th, 2007, 04:11 PM
Oracene is one of my favorite tennis parents of all-time, right up there with Jimmy Evert and Gloria Connors.

She is a no-nonsense kinda gal that handles the press well and that is brutally honest. Every tennis player needs a parent like Oracene.

Yes, she sure is..... Even Williams haters like Mary Carillo have expressed their respect for Oracene.

mykarma
Jan 14th, 2007, 04:25 PM
I like this article too... Oracene is on the MONEY!!! And it's very good to see Serena Financing a School in Ghana. That touched me!
:bounce::bounce:I'm going to Ghana next year. I hope they've started building it by then.