4/15- Serena Williams announces her withdrawl from the 2004 Family Circle Cup
Date: 4/15/2004

Thursday, April 15, 2004

Withdrawal of Serena Williams


Interview of:




AMY BINDER:  Thank you guys for coming.  Unfortunately Serena is having to withdraw from the tournament due to a left knee irritation, but she's here to answer questions and talk to you about this.

Q.  How disappointing is this?

SERENA WILLIAMS:  I'm really disappointed because I really like the fans here, and every year I seem to, I don't know, I just love coming back here, and I just love playing here, and I've been doing well, so I'm kind of like a little -- very, not a little, very, very disappointed.

Q.  When did you make the decision?

SERENA WILLIAMS:  This morning.  I didn't practice yesterday, and I just figured that I should -- I don't know, I just decided just this morning.

Q.  Was it one of those situations where you wanted -- it was hurting coming in and you wanted to push it just because how much you liked it here and then it was over the top?

SERENA WILLIAMS:  I definitely wanted to push it.  I love playing here, and I don't know, just really try and get ready for the season as well, and I think the fact that I've kind of been going nonstop.

Q.  Serena, did the knee start in Miami during the hard courts or did it really get started during the transition from hard to clay?

SERENA WILLIAMS:  It really got sore kind of during the transition.  I was doing fine, and it's kind of like I've been playing every day, because you know, in order to get prepared for Miami, I was practicing weeks and weeks and weeks in advance, and like I said, I've just been going nonstop, and I think I had a little scheduling conflict.  Maybe I should have stopped after Amelia Island, but you know, I became too excited the fact that I was coming back, and I just wanted to play everything.

Q.  Is this a recurrent injury?  Is this from the surgery in the off season or a different injury?

SERENA WILLIAMS:  No.  It's kind of recurring, but it's just more or less, I think, fatigue in the leg.  It's, I mean it's been under a lot of pressure lately.  So he's like, give me a little break.

Q.  Can you describe what the specific problem is?  Do you have trouble pushing off?  What do you have trouble with?

SERENA WILLIAMS:  It's the surface, with the sliding, it was giving my leg a lot of problems, and you know, obviously bending, but it's not that big of a setback.  It's actually not even a setback at all.  I really look forward to playing the next tournament.

Q.  Is it an official diagnosis or is it just a soreness?

SERENA WILLIAMS:  The official diagnosis by the doctor was that he was shocked that I was playing this many tournaments in the beginning.  He said normally when you're coming back from a procedure like me, you should play one week and then maybe take a week or two weeks off and then play again, but he was like, okay, you really signed up for three tournaments in a row, especially Miami is like a week and a half.  He was wondering why I had decided to do so many back to back to back to back.  And he said it's not my knee that's the problem.  It's just that, you know, obviously I've been playing well and playing a lot of matches, and it got a little fatigue.

Q.  Have you had an MRI or an X ray to make sure that structurally everything is fine, that it is just getting back into shape?

SERENA WILLIAMS:  No.  I have not had an MRI or X ray, but I feel that -- I feel confident that it's fine when the doctor was checking it out.  The surgery site is 100 percent, and it's another part of the area of the knee that kind of was just compensating for the surgery site, and it was, again, I think it was too many tournaments in a row.

Q.  When do you plan to return?

SERENA WILLIAMS:  I know for sure that I'm playing Rome, so actually I was considering playing Berlin and Rome, but now maybe I won't play Berlin.  Take it a little at a time.

Q.  You had talked a couple days ago about too many tournaments on this Tour, having to play so many.  Do you think that's why you're sitting here today?

SERENA WILLIAMS:  I personally scheduled those tournaments myself.  I scheduled Amelia Island and Miami and then this one, three in a row, and I think that was due to my judgment.  I should have made a better judgment with that.

Q.  Will this throw you -- you dropped out of the Fed Cup too.  Is that because of this as well?

SERENA WILLIAMS:  Four weeks in a row I think is a bit much.  I had high expectations.  I always set my goals really high, and I honestly couldn't wait to get back out and play, and I was feeling so good, and I just wanted to just play every week.  And like I said, I want to play next week and the week after.  I don't want to stop because it's just exciting to be back out here again, and I can't do it that fast.  I need to slow down and take it one week at a time and then take a week off and then play again.  That way I'll be able to perform for the whole week.

Q.  Are you going to stick around to watch Venus?

SERENA WILLIAMS:  I hadn't planned on leaving, so I'm really excited to stay and watch Venus play and be there, a big cheerleader.

Q.  So you're going to be a part of the fans that you like so much then, huh?

SERENA WILLIAMS:  Yeah.  I've never sat in the stands here, so I'm going to sit in the stands and cheer a lot and scream loud.

Q.  What does your ongoing rehab entail to keep it strong and keep it moving forward?

SERENA WILLIAMS:  Just a lot of strengthening in my legs and just a lot of running.  I've been working really, really hard, and like I said before, I'm in really good shape right now, and some of the best shape I think I've been in in my career.  So I think I'm just going to continue just to strengthen it, and actually you know, maybe I'll take a day off.  I haven't taken any time off.  I've just been going nonstop and nonstop because I'm so excited, so maybe I'll take a couple days off, but I don't want to take too many off, and just keep going.

Q.  A couple players had said it was a surprise when you saw the main draw here there were so many top players because you all have been injured so much.  Now with Justine gone and you gone it's kind of like back to where it had been with all the injuries I guess.

SERENA WILLIAMS:  Yeah, I guess, yeah.

Q.  How disappointing is that for you because this was such a good field to be able to play and improve your ranking?

SERENA WILLIAMS:  I think, if anything, it's disappointing for the fans.  I'm really sad for the fans because I get so much support here, and that's why I like coming here because people actually cheer for me when I play here, and that's rare, and I really, really like that.  So I think, if anything, it's disappointing for the fans, but I don't know.






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