Serena On Struggles & Her WTA Comeback

Serena Williams met the press in Eastbourne and was asked about the last 12 months. Read on...

Published June 13, 2011 12:00

Serena On Struggles & Her WTA Comeback
Serena Williams

EASTBOURNE, England - The last time she played she was the clear-cut No.1 player in the world. A series of injury and health problems has kept her out since she won Wimbledon last year but now Serena Williams is back, and on Monday she met the press in Eastbourne. Here are excerpts from that...

On being back...
"I'm really excited to be back. I really miss playing tennis. I'm thoroughly enjoying the short time I've been back on the practice courts. It sucked because when I left I was ranked No.1. That's what I miss most, just being on top of the game and playing some really good tennis, and the challenges of all the other players. Venus and I have both missed tennis so much. If tennis has missed us half as much as we have missed tennis, we're in a good place."

On choosing Eastbourne for her comeback...
"I wanted to play Roland Garros, but it didn't quite work out. I don't usually play warm-up tournaments before Wimbledon. I hadn't played in about a year, so it was smart for me to play one - and where better to play than Eastbourne? I've played here before and have had some halfway decent results here."

On last year's Wimbledon...
"Wimbledon was great. I was playing great. I was serving amazing and my confidence was right up there. It was almost a shock because I didn't expect to play so well. I honestly thought I could do even better. After the tournament was over, I was talking to my dad about things I wanted to improve on."

On she and Venus coming back at the same time...
"I feel like we've been on a similar road together. Her road hasn't been as arduous or as long as mine, but I know what she's been through, coming back from Australia. She never retires, and she had to retire. When you're down and someone's down with you, it kind of makes you feel a little bit better."

On why she doesn't hit with Venus...
"I don't know why we don't hit together... We both have our own hitting partners and we hit with our own people. She's so good - when she hits with me I just get really frustrated. It's like she's always killing me on the practice courts!"

On her condition...
"I haven't played a match yet, so I'm not sure how I feel, condition-wise. I feel good in practice but I always think when you get in a match it's totally different."

On how this comeback differs from previous comebacks...
"This is totally different because I've had some serious health problems and was literally on my deathbed. I have nothing to lose. I'm just excited to be playing.

"They said I had several clots bilaterally, so in both lungs. A lot of people die from that because you don't recognize it. I couldn't breathe - I honestly just thought I was out of shape. I thought I needed to get on the treadmill or hit the elliptical. They said it could have gotten more serious a day or two later. It could have possibly been career-ending, but for the grace of God I got there in time.

"I always use the word 'blessed'. I had great people around me. My physio forced me to go to the hospital, whereas I was actually on the way to a party, to be quite honest. She's like, 'No, you need to go to the hospital.'

"Glad I didn't go to that party."

On how the foot injury and health problems were related...
"It was definitely linked. I had two surgeries so close to each other and was in a cast for 20 weeks - I was debating whether I'd rather be in jail for 20 weeks or a cast, and I was leaning towards jail because I really hated that cast. Mentally that was one of the toughest things for me. Having your foot in one position for so long and not moving it or being able to walk... it caused a lot of problems."

On how the foot injury happened...
"I was at this restaurant-barry kind of restaurant thing, with my nephew and hitting partner. We were leaving and I was walking and I felt something. I was like, 'Guys, be careful, I think there's glass on the floor.' I stepped back and was like, 'That really hurts.' Then I just kept walking and was like, 'There's definitely glass on the floor. Please be careful.' Then my coach looked down and saw a massive puddle of blood. They rushed me back - I ended up fainting because I lost so much blood, because I was standing up. I ended up having to get stitches in both feet. I guess it sliced through my ligament. I didn't know at the time it was torn, I just knew my toe was hanging low. It obviously wasn't fine."

On how she spent her time off...
"My first surgery was different because I was in LA and I was kind of like hanging out or whatever. The second surgery was way tougher, especially mentally, because I thought, 'Okay, there goes Australia,' which is really one of my favorite tournaments to play. That one was more mentally tough than a lot of things in my life, outside of maybe my sister's passing. I may have been a little depressed at some moments. Then everything just happened from there, the lung issues - it was a disaster, to be honest... As the Bible says, there are unforeseen occurrences and unforeseen things that can just take place.

"I went to a lot of Dolphins games, then I went to a bunch of Miami Heat games. I watched the US Open too. I was on my way to recovery back then, and was out of my cast. Venus got to the semis there so I was there a lot."

On whether her attitude towards the sport is the same...
"I'm definitely still going to get really serious about line calls - I probably won't make the same threats though. I pretty much learned that lesson. My attitude hasn't changed. I still cracked a couple of racquets in practice. But that's good. It makes me feel I still have that desire, where I just want to win and do well."

On this year's Wimbledon...
"I'm hoping I can peak at Wimbledon, hopefully in the second week, and hopefully I'll get there. I'm just taking everything one day at a time and not putting too many expectations on myself or on my game.

"Most of all I'm just happy to be in competition."

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