Serena: I'm not the type to stop. I always knew I'd play on
Monday 20 June 2011
There have been times in Serena Williams' career when the tennis world wondered whether it had seen the last of her. The 13-times Grand Slam champion, however, said on her return here yesterday that she had never contemplated leaving a sport that she has dominated for most of the last decade.
"I always thought I would want to continue to play," the 29-year-old American said of her latest comeback. "I thought I would play a lot sooner. Things didn't work out. But I'm never the type to stop. I'll stop when I'm ready and I'm just not ready. I really thoroughly enjoy being out here."
Only a month ago you would have found few people inside the game who expected Williams to defend her title here. Within days of last year's final she cut her foot on a piece of glass in a restaurant, severing a tendon. Her recovery after two operations was set back when she was rushed to hospital to have a haematoma removed after a blood clot travelled from a leg to her lungs.
Last week, however, the former world No 1 made her comeback after 11 months out. Although she is making no predictions about how she will fare over the next fortnight she is clearly in a happy frame of mind. "My game's doing pretty good. There are some things that I want to work on and improve, but I can't be upset at all about my game. I think it's doing well. It's fun. I feel like I'm young again."
She added: "My thought process is just to play the best I can and to be positive. Six or seven weeks of just trying to get myself together isn't a tremendous amount of time, but the fact that I can even compete and be in a position I wasn't sure I'd have a chance to be in again is more than enough."
Williams revealed that in having the haematoma removed she had lost a small piece of a lung. She had to work subsequently on improving her lung capacity. "I'm probably actually in better shape running-wise now than I was before," she said.
What did Williams think the women's game had missed during her absence? "I think the tour missed just having me around. But I really just missed not being around the tour. I missed the ladies in the locker room. I missed laughing. I missed having matches. I missed the tour. I hope it missed me, but I know I missed the tour."
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