Serena Says She’s Fine, But Will Undergo More Tests After ‘Virus’
Tennis champion Serena Williams said she will undergo further tests even though she feels “fine” several weeks after exiting Wimbledon under bizarre and troubling circumstances when she could not execute the simple task of bouncing and catching a tennis ball.
Williams later said a “virus” rendered her clumsy and disoriented as she tried to play a doubles match at Wimbledon with sister Venus Williams. After three games in which she failed to hit the ball across the net on a serve, the judge stopped play and the sisters withdrew.
“Now I know better, if I’m feeling bad I’m not going to step on the court,” Williams said Monday at the Bank of the West Classic, where she is a two-time champion.
Speaking with reporters and also separately to USA Today Sports, Williams said the viral illness that felled her in London had left her bedridden for three days and under doctors’ orders not to travel.
“I was really, really sick,” she said. “Especially me … when I lose I’m on the very next flight out of there.”
Williams said she would have more testing after the season “for things that do run in the family,” but couldn’t provide a more specific diagnosis.
She said she had continued to play at Wimbledon despite sometimes struggling to make contact with the ball because she is a fighter who doesn’t like to disappoint.
“I never want to let people down,” she said. “I never want to let my sister down. I don’t want to let the fans down. I was thinking I don’t want anyone to be disappointed after I lost in singles.”
Williams, 32, said she hadn’t fully recognized how ill she was and compared it to 2011 when she was hospitalized with blood clots and a hematoma that had to be surgically removed.
“I was really scared after because I didn’t realize how I felt until later,” she said.
Williams said she does not read the press and hadn’t focused on speculation from various corners about what had caused her strange behavior.
She said she had started to feel poorly the day after losing in the first round of Wimbledon and didn’t bother to warm up before her doubles match. She said she had taken no medication before taking the court, where she appeared to cry and was treated by a trainer who took her blood pressure prior to play.
Later, her coach of two years, Patrick Mouratoglou, said he had not seen Williams in 48 hours. Mouratoglou eventually walked a shaky looking Williams to a waiting car that whisked her off the grounds.
Asked if she was in both physical and emotional distress, Williams said: “I would say it was definitely more physical because after my match against (Alize) Cornet I wasn’t feeling great and it just got worse. I didn’t get out of bed even before the match. I was feeling awful. Then after the match I wasn’t eating, I wasn’t drinking. I wasn’t anything. I was super dizzy.”
After pulling out of the event at Bastad, Sweden, following Wimbledon, Williams took an impromptu holiday to Croatia on the recommendation of her Serbian-born hitting partner, Sascha Bajin.
“I went on what I call a vacation,” she said using air quotes, “which is like you have fun in the sun, but you practice in the day in the morning.”