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L. A. Times: Serena Williams Intends To Play Carson

Tuesday, July 22, 2008

Serena Williams says her father and one of her doctors have advised against playing because of her injured left knee, but she still wants to go forward with the East West Bank Classic at Carson.

Williams said she had an MRI afterward [Bank of the West Classic] and it showed an inflamed joint as a result of overwork, and she acknowledged that her father Richard and one of her doctors did not want her playing on it.

"He's always really passive and I'm more aggressive," Williams said of her father's approach to injuries. Both her older sister, Venus, and Lindsay Davenport withdrew from the Carson tournament on Friday because of injured right knees.

"It's the first time all year I pulled out with a knee injury and I've been doing really well all year," she said. "Maybe it's just saying, 'Serena, take a three-day vacation.' "

When that knee talks, it's good to listen, based on history.

Because Williams has a first-round bye at Carson she can give the knee an extra day of rest and start Wednesday.

Injuries and outside interests have cut into her tournament play over the years, and interestingly, the light playing schedule could extend the careers of Venus and Serena.

Serena, at least on this day, was sounding more committed than she has in some time, looking to add to her eight Grand Slam singles titles.

"I don't feel like I'm making up for lost time," she said. "I just feel like this is what I want to do. What I want to do is play tennis and just play tournaments for this year and several years."

Despite the specter of suspensions and fines, this is a sport of diplomacy. In this case, a player can mitigate the penalty by doing half a day of promotional activity within 125 miles from the tournament site and has a year to fulfill the obligation.

"I think it's good because it works all the way around, if you can't go to another tournament because of an injury," Williams said.

Said the WTA's Chief Executive Larry Scott: "We have to have a rule that applies to all players and all tournaments. But at the same time, we need to think about all types of circumstances. One of the positive things is that we're getting out of the business of trying to decide what's a legitimate injury and a legitimate reason. Because it's very difficult.

"Trying to determine when a player could have played . . . you play God. No one can do that fairly."

Full Article Here
Photo by Nina Rota

Posted by Shelia

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