SERENA HEADS TO OPEN

Serena Williams, of the Washington Kastles, returns the ball to Switzerland’s Martina Hingis, of the New York Sportimes, in a World TeamTennis match Wednesday, July 20, 2011, in New York.
AP Photo/Daniel P. Derella

AP Photo/Daniel P. Derella

It won’t be long now before a two-week long major tennis tournament comes to New York. It is the United States Open Championships that annually draw thousands of fans to an international event. In fact, there are different brackets for males and females, as well as juniors and seniors in the tourney with countless matches in progress.

Serena Williams is ready to do some ‘damage’ and maybe pull an upset. She’s going to compete in the women’s singles tournament that she captured three times-in 1999, 2002, and 2008. But she sat out last summer’s tourney suffering from a foot injury that resulted in a blood clot.

“I wanted to be there (at the U.S. Open) but I couldn’t,” she recently said. “I never had more time off in one period.”

Her USTA ranking dropped down to a low of 172, at one stage, but she has been back in good condition and competed for the Washington Kastles franchise in the World Team Tennis League and also on the circuit.

Washington Kastles defeated New York Sporttime, in the latter’s last match of the season, as the locals failed to qualify for the playoffs. Boston’s two victories denied the Sporttime franchise from entering the ‘second season.’

The 30-year-old Williams attracts fans wherever she goes, and, she, alone, is a drawing card, especially when she is healthy.

And right now she seems to be healthy as she heads (on the road and then back) back to New York.

Williams, who has nothing to lose by playing in the U.S. Open singles and possibly doubles tournaments teaming with her sister Venus, is considered one of the greatest female players ever to compete in the sport of tennis.

She feels and she is confident that she will do well in her upcoming tournament that draws 128 female singles players from all over the world in the main draw. The tournament will be contested at the Billie Jean King USTA National Tennis Center in Flushing, Queens.

“After I took time off, I’m playing (again) this year,” added Williams, who reached the round of 16 at Wimbledon, in her last Grand Slam event.

She felt that team tennis certainly helped her game. She, like the rest of the players in the league, had to be ‘ready’ for every point. Every point is important in World Team Tennis. Scoring both as a team and as an individual is slightly different than the traditional sport as most of everyone knows of tennis as it is played today.

It is exciting to play in the U.S. Open or, (a matter of fact), in any Grand Slam event.

“I feel my health is pretty good,” added Williams, who possesses a two-hand backhand. “I can’t complain.”

“My plan is to do well in the tournaments that I play in,” she said at Sporttime, Randalls Island, home of the New York entry in the league. “I have to focus on doing excellent at the Grand Slam tournaments and the others, too.”

Williams’ preparation is to make sure she’s fit and confident.

“It’ll be a challenge for me,” added Serena, after spending almost a year out of action. “I can always get better.”

Meanwhile, her sister Venus, will also play singles in the U.S. Open in the tournament, which starts Monday, Aug. 29 with day and evening sessions. The competition ends on Sunday, Sept. 11 with the men’s singles final, preceded by the women’s singles championship on the previous Saturday.

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