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Serena Williams ‘a little bit neurotic’ over coronavirus fears

Phloxy Gem Drey

Aug. 08, 2020

Serena Williams admitted she had become a ‘little bit of a recluse’ and ‘a little bit neurotic’ over health concerns amid the coronavirus pandemic.
Williams, the 23-time Grand Slam champion from the USA, will make a return to professional tennis this week in Kentucky, at the Top Seed Open in Lexington.
Her last outing came in February, when she represented her country in a Fed Cup tie against Latvia, and the world has changed significantly since during the Covid-19 crisis.
Williams has not taken the situation lightly and is at particular risk after suffering with blood clots during her career. A life-threatening pulmonary embolism forced her to miss months of tennis the best part of a decade ago, while there were complications when she gave birth to her daughter in 2017.
Her health has, understandably, been her number one priority. And she is refusing to take too many chances as she enforces a strict ‘Serena bubble’.
‘I have been a little bit of a recluse,’ Williams said in a virtual press conference in Lexington on Saturday. ‘I started social distancing in early March.
‘I don’t have full lung capacity so I’m not sure what would happen to me. I am sure I would be okay but I don’t want to find out. I have like 50 masks that I travel with, I don’t ever want to be without one.
‘With health concerns I am super careful with what I have been doing and everyone in the Serena bubble is really protected.
‘It is cool to play tennis, but this is my life and my health, so I have been a little bit neurotic but that is how I have to be right now.’
While a challenging time, Williams admitted ‘every part of me loved’ being at home for six months after spending more than two decades on the road.
She and her husband, Reddit co-founder Alexis Ohanian have even built a tennis court and a gym in their Florida home during the pandemic.
Her return this week will serve as a warm-up to a bigger prize: the elusive 24th Grand Slam title.
Equalling Margaret Court’s record majors haul has been driving the 38-year-old this late on in her career. She has come agonisingly close, losing four Grand Slam finals since 2018.
Two of those came at her home major, the US Open. And she believes she will be at an advantage this time – after being so used to long absences in her career due to injuries and pregancy, with everyone else returning in the same boat.
‘I definitely think so, that is the biggest difference of me being injured, everyone has had to take a break and a pause and it will be really fun and interesting to see how we play,’ added Williams.
‘Everyone has an opportunity to be more fit now, because we spent so much time at home to work on ourselves.
‘Fitness wise, there is going to be a tonne of fitness, but match fitness is different to fit-fitness.’
There are plans afoot for Williams to travel to Europe for what’s left of the clay-court season, too, although, after the Madrid Open’s cancellation, Williams is taking nothing for granted.
She said: ‘I see myself doing it all if it happens, but I am not planning for the future, as tournaments got cancelled I was just like, “Let me just work on today and see what happens”.’
It’s a philosophy she’s applying to next year’s rescheduled Olympic Games in Tokyo.
‘That is just looking too far ahead right now, I don’t know if Tokyo plans to be in Tokyo, we will have to wait and see what happens,’ added Williams.
‘I don’t know what to expect. One thing I have learned is don’t plan, I am living for the day and for the moment, in a good way but I am not making plans too far out.’
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