Only a few days after pulling out of the semifinals at Indian Wells, Serena Williams is set to compete for a record eighth trophy in Miami. Prior to her anticipated second round match, Williams answered questions for reporters about this tournament, her recent knee injury and expectations as 2015 moves along. Here is an excerpt below of what the 19 time major winner had to say.
Regarding the status of her knee, Williams stated “just trying to stay out of as much pain as possible and see what happens. . . [I will test it] probably my first match, if I get that far. I don’t want to put too much pressure on it before. . . I hit some balls today for the first time. I know I’m going to have to manage the pain. . . You have to figure out the best way around it”
Despite her injury, Serena iterated in terms of banking another Miami Open title “I definitely don’t have low expectations. . . I don’t feel any pressure because I have won this title a few times. I feel good about being here. . . I think every player has pain. . . Every match I play, I could be 10% in pain or I could be 80% in pain. . . Knowing ahead of time the problems that you’re dealing with and this is how you treat it, so you can play at a high level. . . Just something about Miami, I just feel good out here.”
Williams is living in the moment and not pondering what may be ahead. Although major number twenty is achievable, she commented “right now what’s realistic is 19. I think I have a chance to get 20. There’s is a lot of young players who want to get one. A lot of people want to increase their numbers. . . I just take it one at a time. Last year, I started thinking way far in advance and I couldn’t get past the fourth round at a Grand Slam. After that I won two in a row.”
At age 33 and with a horde of talented youngsters ranked right below her, the world number one is still viewed as the one to beat by her fellow competitors. Williams replied “I think it’s a compliment. . . I love what I do . . . I might not be good at many other things, I’m really good at playing tennis. . . I’ve always said if I am playing on a level that I know I can play. . .without pontificating, it’s difficult to beat me. . . It’s not easy to get to that level”.
Williams’ defense of her Miami title starts on Friday as she faces Monica Niculescu in the second round. The two collided in the same round last week at Indian Wells. Serena had to overcome her emotions, after being absent over a decade at that tournament, before prevailing in two tough sets. Consequently, for an injured Williams, a victory against the crafty Romanian may not be a given.