|Serena ready to play after 6-month break| LEXINGTON (US), Aug 9: Serena Williams flexed and then kissed a sinewy right bicep to show down time well spent in training even without bench pressing.
“This is God given, thank you very much,” the 23-time Grand Slam champion said as she thanked her mother, Oracene.
Williams now looks to flex her muscles on a tennis court for the first time in six months.
She is preparing for the inaugural Top Seed Open that opens on Monday near Lexington, a recently added hard court tournament that serves as a tuneup for this month’s US Open in New York.
The WTA’s first event in the US since March features a spectator-free field that includes sister Venus Williams, a seven-time Grand Slam winner herself, Victoria Azarenka, Sloane Stephens and rising star Coco Gauff.
Serena Williams, ranked No. 9, is competing for the first time since playing for the US in the Fed Cup in February. The pandemic quickly shut everything down the next month, forcing an extended layoff.
Williams has a history of blood clots and pulmonary embolisms that have affected her lung capacity. She has been “super, super careful in avoiding exposure to COVID-19”.
The 38-year-old acknowledged during Saturday’s virtual news conference that she’s been “a bit of a recluse,” in addition to owning 50 face masks and taking social distancing to an extreme.
“And everyone in the Serena bubble is really protective because at the end of the day, yeah, it’s cool to play tennis, but this is my life and this is my health,” Williams said.
“I’ve been a little neurotic to an extent, but that’s just what I have to be right now.”
Williams and Azarenka enter the tournament with open minds, hungry to resume competition. – AP