Insects, not ankle, bug Serena

2012-01-17 19:34
Serena Williams (AP)

Melbourne - If anything, it was the insects buzzing around Rod Laver Arena that bugged Serena Williams the most.

The injured left ankle held up fine in her opening match on Tuesday at the Australian Open, and even the near-midnight start time was OK. But the bugs?

"I hate bugs more than you can imagine," Williams said after reaching the second round by beating Tamira Paszek 6-3, 6-2. "Like, they kept jumping on me. Yuck!"

The match started at 11:32, and Williams hit a service winner 1 hour, 19 minutes later to finish it off. In between points, though, she picked up and moved or shooed away bugs that landed on court, and two that landed on her back. A big one gave her a fright, making her hop as she tried to stifle a screech.

"I'm going to request not to play at night anymore because I hate bugs, except for the final. I heard it's at night," Williams said. "I'll try to get used to them."

Two years after she won her last Australian Open title, Williams extended her winning streak to 15 matches at Melbourne Park in the season's first major tournament. She won back-to-back titles in 2009 and 2010, but missed the chance to defend her title last year amid a prolonged injury layoff.

The late start was because Williams had to wait until the conclusion of a 4-hour men's night match won by Leyton Hewitt. And it was her first match since badly spraining her ankle two weeks ago at the Brisbane International, an injury that jeopardised her participation in Melbourne. Monday was the first time she was able to practice pain free, but she still had her lower left leg and ankles heavily taped.

"I don't let anything bother me," she said. "It's definitely different to have the ladies play so late, you know, so we'll see."

Williams was playing only her third match since losing the US Open final to Sam Stosur last September, so she admitted being "a wee bit tight."

She maintained her run of never losing in the first round of a major, overcoming a low-key start to get the decisive first-set break in the eighth game. She broke Paszek in the fifth game of the second set, then served four aces in the next game that lasted less than a minute as she hurried to the finish.

"Physically I felt fine. I was definitely moving better than I suspected," Williams said. "I still think I can move better, though, and just get that confidence.

"I definitely think it was good because I moved a lot and I challenged myself a lot. She made a few drop shots. She really pushed me physically. I think that's really something I needed to kind of feel and assess my ankle."

Williams conceded it wasn't easy to get herself ready.

"I'm doing everything possible that I can, things I've never done, just to get it better," she said, declining to elaborate on her therapy except to say it involved a lot of ice and experience from recovering from other injuries. "But it is a very, very, very bad sprain. So I'm just playing it by ear."

Read more on:    australian open  |  serena williams


Read News24’s Comments Policy publishes all comments posted on articles provided that they adhere to our Comments Policy. Should you wish to report a comment for editorial review, please do so by clicking the 'Report Comment' button to the right of each comment.

Comment on this story
Comments have been closed for this article.
Live Video Streaming
  • Blitz
    Mon, 24 Nov 2014 @00:00
  • SS1
    Mon, 24 Nov 2014 @01:00
  • SS2
    Mon, 24 Nov 2014 @02:00
  • SS3
    Mon, 24 Nov 2014 @03:00
Video Highlights
Sport Talk

Live scoring

Love 2 Meet
English Premiership flutter

Take Sport24's "expert" tips at your peril...


30 of the world's greatest golfers will be heading to the Gary Player Country Club for this year's Nedbank Golf Challenge - now in its 35th year. For all the latest news, player profiles, hole-by-hole descriptions and past winners, be sure to check out Sport24's dedicated section.

Latest blogs

Which is your favourite Grand Slam of the year?

Twitter Follow Sport24 on Twitter

Facebook "Like" Sport24's Facebook page

WIN Enter and win with Sport24!

BlackBerry Stay in the loop on your BlackBerry

RSS Feeds Sport news delivered really simply.

There are new stories on the homepage. Click here to see them.