Serena preparing to star on the court
Top seed busy with Hollywood social life
By Lauren Gustus , Staff Writer
Serena Williams was at the premiere of the summer blockbuster "The Bourne Supremacy" in Hollywood on Thursday. And she was serenaded by host Jamie Foxx at the ESPYs, the awards show that aired Sunday night on ESPN.
Oh, and the part-time actress/full-time tennis player is looking forward to her matches this week at the JPMorgan Chase Open in Carson, after a surprising loss to 17-year old Maria Sharapova of Russia in the finals at Wimbledon.
"I watched all my matches, of course," Williams said. "With that one in particular I thought to myself, 'What was I thinking out there?' It's kind of funny because I realized I didn't do anything that I planned on doing."
Sharapova visited with Jay Leno on Friday and she told the late-night host she didn't expect a victory over Williams.
"I never really thought about it," Sharapova said. "I guess maybe now she's beatable."
Sharapova withdrew from the JPMorgan Chase Open last week, saying she needed to rest after her unexpected run to the Wimbledon title. Defending champion Kim Clijsters won't play either. She's been sidelined since March with a wrist injury.
But the event, which returns to Carson for the second year after a 21-year stint in Manhattan Beach, has drawing power with top-seeded Serena and sister Venus, the No. 2 seed.
Lindsay Davenport, a winner over Venus in the Bank of the West Classic final Sunday in Stanford, rounds out the top three. With the exception of No. 6 Ai Sugiyama of Japan, the remaining seeded players are from Russia.
Serena, the WTA Tour's biggest draw and the No. 1 seed, has not regained her pre-knee surgery form. The six-time Grand Slam winner had surgery for a partial tear in her left quadriceps nearly a year ago and her recovery took longer than expected.
"I hadn't picked up a racket in six months," Serena said. "I expected to be back in six weeks. I didn't expect to be out that long."
Since the return, she's reached the semifinals of the French Open and finals of Wimbledon. For any other player those would be satisfactory results. But for Serena, a former World No. 1 whose ranking has dipped to No. 14, more is expected.
"I put so much pressure on myself and do well," Serena said. "I'm a perfectionist."
Serena will use the summer hardcourt season as a warm-up for the U.S. Open, a Grand Slam event she's won twice but missed last year because of the knee injury. She won the JPMorgan Chase Open in 1999 and '00.
"Right now my focus is tennis," Serena said. "That's all I really want to do is play tennis and practice and get better."
It could be the last time Davenport, who lives in Laguna Beach, will play her hometown tournament. The 28-year old has been bothered by an achy knee and would like to start a family.
French Open runner-up Elena Dementieva, of Russia, is the No. 4 seed and Svetlana Kuznetsova is No. 5. Nadia Petrova is No. 7 and No. 8 Vera Zvonareva received the last seed. Lauren Gustus, (818) 713-3607 [email protected]