As Serena Williams prepares for the Cincinnati Masters this weekend, the 23-time Grand Slam champion met the media today via video and talked a lot of the coronavirus and returning to New York.
In 2011, Serena suffered a pulmonary embolism which put her in the hospital. She knows to be careful and she chose staying in a house over the player hotel.
“I think for me I have been really just super careful, and, like, if anything, I’m just not taking any risks,” Serena said Friday.
“I didn’t want to be in the hotel because I have lung issues, so I felt like it was actually a big risk for me personally.
“At my house, I can control more. There is no housekeeping, there is none of that type of stuff. And so, I mean, as much as I want to be here, it’s great, but I have genuine health issues that I just really needed to put my mind at rest to even be able to perform in New York
All players will be tested once they reach New York and again two days later.
“I think the biggest adjustment is just the extra testing, but I’m all for the extra testing, actually.”
So far, the 38-year-old is pleased with how the tournament has handled the conditions.
“I think it’s good because of my health issues, so I’m all for, like, the extra protocols and the extra safety,” she said.
“I want to know where people are going. I want to make sure that we are all keeping ourselves in this giant bubble. Like it’s more people now. It’s a 128 draw for each, singles, men and women. So it’s going to be a lot of people that enter this bubble.
“I think they are doing a really good job of making sure everyone is staying to their word and staying honest about it. Yeah, I think it’s really good.”
In 10 days, Serena will resume her quest for the elusive 24th career Slam. But she’s not worried about all the withdrawals tarnishing a potential win.
“I think this whole year deserves an asterisk, because it’s such a special year, history we have never been through in this world, to be honest, not this generation, not this lifetime. It’s just in history, period,” she said.
“So I think we are living a future history lesson. So I think regardless, there is always going to be some asterisk by it, because it’s never been done before. And if you win, it was, like, wow, I was able to win in this crazy circumstance where there was no fans. It was just so sterile and weird. But I mentally came through. It might be a more mental test than anything.”
Above all, safety will be No. 1 for Serena and her sister Venus.
“You might see me walking around with my HAZMAT glasses and everything, and mask, obviously,” she added.
“This is a little bit deeper than just playing tennis. It’s, like, okay, I have health issues and I don’t necessarily want to get sick, and if I do, I want the good version. So I have been doing extra vitamins. So if something happens, at least I will have the good strain, I guess, of the virus.
“It’s really important for me to take so many precautions. I’m probably taking more than most people, but not more than Venus because she’s, like, in the same boat as me.
“We, together, I am just really, really, really aware of everything that we do.”
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