Tennis: Serena Williams says knee is OK
By DENNIS PASSA
AP Sports Writer
MELBOURNE, Australia — Serena Williams says her left knee is just fine and it won’t keep her from playing both singles and doubles at the Australian Open.
The defending champion said Saturday that although her knee bothered her for much of the Sydney International final the previous night, the injury wasn’t serious and it wasn’t the reason for her 6-3, 6-2 loss to Elena Dementieva.
“The knee is much better,” Williams said. “It was good for me to get all those matches in. So it was good.”
She said the pain, which she only described as “definitely not ligament” related, hadn’t hampered her preparation for the season’s first major.
“Absolutely not,” she said. “If anything, it helped. I played a lot of matches in a row, back to back. I had a long three-set match. But that was good preparation for me because I do plan on playing both singles and doubles here.”
Williams said Olympic champion Dementieva played a strong match.
“I think Elena played well. She always plays me well ... she played amazing,” Williams said. “It’s very comforting to know that I wasn’t at my best on that particular match. What athlete really is at 100 percent every time? Probably never.”
Williams said she canceled a practice session Saturday because she wanted some rest, and she’d be ready for her first-round match at Melbourne Park against Poland’s Urszula Radwanska on Tuesday.
“Don’t want to push it, go too far,” she said of the canceled session. “Definitely want to do the best I can obviously, but also want to pace myself. Hopefully I can play seven singles rounds and six doubles rounds.”
Urszula Radwanksa is the younger sister of Agnieszka Radwanska. Williams is the younger of the two Williams sisters on the circuit — Venus is 29, Serena 28.
“I’ve played her before at Wimbledon, so she’s a tough cookie ... and she’s definitely no pushover,” Williams said of Radwanska. “She’s a younger sister, and younger sisters always want to play really hard and really tough. I know that for a fact.”
Whatever lightheartedness Williams had in her voice about sibling rivalries disappeared when she was asked about the U.S. Open last year. A profanity-laced, finger-pointing tantrum directed at a line judge in a semifinal loss to Kim Clijsters cost Williams a record fine of $82,500.
She also faces suspension from the U.S. Open if she has any serious outbursts at a major in the next two years.
Williams has spoken only briefly about the episode since arriving in Australia more than a week ago, and has let everyone know she doesn’t really want to talk about it.
So she didn’t take kindly to this question from an Australian journalist: “Last time we saw you in a Grand Slam, there was that little incident in New York. How is your anger management coming along?”
“Was it anger management, do you think?” Williams replied, obviously perturbed. “How is your writing coming along?”
When the journalist replied: “Just fine, thank you,” Williams said: “Great. Ditto, kiddo.”