Serena Williams Playing a Dangerous Game With Foot 'Injury'
A) She stepped on broken glass in a restaurant.
B) She didn't. It's an act so she doesn't have to play mandatory tournaments that don't interest her.
C) She got a little carried away in the celebration after winning Wimbledon.
D) Some other reason, not related to anything we've heard.
E) Don't know.
I'm going with E, although I've believed all the other options at some point in the past 10 days, since Williams withdrew from the World TeamTennis season and three tournaments leading up to the U.S. Open. Williams' fans don't like it when there is suspicion about her, usually blaming racial motives or jealousy or something. But the reason for the suspicion this time is Williams herself.
This will be another divisive moment for her. Pick a side. There's your truth. Williams inflames the debate.
If you have believed her in the past, then you will see any doubts about this injury as just more hating. If you haven't believed, then this will be further proof of her insincerity. "She didn't step on glass," said Williams' agent and spokesperson, Jill Smoller. "So I don't know where that came from. Her foot was cut. There was a deep laceration. She had surgery Thursday in Los Angeles ... to repair a deep laceration on top of her foot."
Surgery to repair a cut? Does that mean stitches? A torn tendon? What?
"I'm not going to go into that," she said.
See? This is an act of faith. According to her agent, Williams did hurt the foot with broken glass in a restaurant in Germany, where she had gone with a few friends after winning Wimbledon. She just didn't step on the glass. Let's see then. Top of the foot, not bottom. Broken glass, but not stepped on. Restaurant. Surgery for some unknown reason.
Hmm. Maybe a waiter broke a glass and the shards fell onto her foot? Didn't anyone see this happen to the world's most famous female athlete? We're still left guessing. Smoller said it was "a freak accident" and that she could only go so far with the details, pointing out that Williams and her sister Venus don't talk about injuries. They don't want them to come off as excuses.
Fine, but that doesn't apply here. This isn't about making excuses for a loss. Williams is out. There must be a reason. And more importantly, fans who have paid for tickets to see her play deserve answers from her. More answers from the Williams camp: When will she be able to play? As soon as she's ready. When does the doctor think that will be? She's a quick healer.
Williams is reportedly "questionable" for the U.S. Open, whatever that means. Imagine if Drew Brees had pulled out of the Super Bowl citing an injury regarding glass and foot surgery for an undisclosed reason. But actually, this brings up question No. 2 in the quiz: Is Williams "questionable" for the U.S. Open?
C) Don't know.
I'm going to go with C. In this fog, it's questionable whether she's questionable. This part of the story is not Williams' fault. When word of Williams' injury first came out, you had to be skeptical. Her record is terrible on following through on her word to play tournaments that aren't majors. The tour must know what she's up to, which led me to believe it was going along with the charade.
The Associated Press quoted a Women's Tennis Association spokesperson by name saying that Williams is questionable for the Open. I asked another WTA spokesperson about it, which led to a ping-pong match of e-mails.
"The word 'questionable' was used by AP, not the WTA. The WTA confirmed she is entered to play in the U.S. Open."
But the AP actually quotes a WTA official saying she's questionable. "Answered in the first response to your questions ..."
The AP says that the WTA says something, but the WTA says the AP is the one who said it. Was the WTA misquoted?
"We have answered your question from the initial email you sent ..."
If Williams wants to play only in majors, the tour should just let her. That way she doesn't have to throw matches, as she was doing last year, or fake injuries to get out of lesser events.
In November, she gave her word to play the Fed Cup finals. Then, a few days later, during the tour championships, she said she was too tired. She won the tour championships, revived in time for the Australian Open, said her knees hurt, and skipped everything until a French Open warm-up tournament. Then came Wimbledon. Now, she got hurt, played anyway in an exhibition in Belgium, came back to the U.S., wore high heels for photographers in a red-carpet like event, and now is skipping everything until the U.S. Open. She has had her photo taken while shopping near Hollywood with crutches and one of those boots you wear after foot surgery. How hard is it to put on a boot for 10 minutes where you know paparazzi will be?
Well, I'm going with the idea that she does, in fact, have an injury of some sort that required surgery for whatever reason.
Just a hunch. Other players give details when they're out. You know, Williams was going to get at least $150,000 to play in
Istanbul, and could have won $350,000 in Montreal and $350,000 more in Cincinnati. She's also out $400,000 from a tour bonus pool. That's more than $1 million, at least. Is she suing that restaurant?
"At this point," Smoller said, "there are no plans."
Last quiz question: If Williams plays in the U.S. Open, what does that say?
A) She is courageous and made a quick recovery.
B) Her injuries have suspiciously great timing.
C) Both will have to serve as the full truth.
Email me at firstname.lastname@example.org