The opening day of action at any big event, especially one like the BNP Paribas Open, is usually focused on wrapping up qualifying rounds, taking in a few first round matches of note and catching up with the top seeds before they start play later in the week. And though the point of the WTA All-Access Hour was to give the media a chance to ask the top eight women’s seeds any question they wanted to, the question that dominated discussion was, and not a surprise, about the health of Serena Williams.
All the players wished Williams the best and echoed the sentiment that Williams would recover and likely return to the tour. Caroline Wozniacki, who while in L.A. was able to meet with Williams, expressed confidence that Serena would recover “100%” while Kim Clijsters was candid in saying how the news of Williams’s recovery from a pulmonary embolism and then from hematoma “opened my eyes and has made me aware how aware we need to be about our bodies.” When asked about potential long-term damage to the women’s game with Williams being gone for a long time, Clijsters said, “To me, Serena is the greatest women’s player ever. So for her to be out… it’s very disappointing for the public and the tournaments and everybody. To me personally, I’ve had some of my biggest and funnest matches against Serena and I want to have more of those matches in big tournaments against her, win or lose.”
Last year’s semifinalist Sam Stosur, who’s playing doubles this week with French Open champion Francesca Schiavone, acknowledged Williams’s as “the best player of my generation” and her absence as a “loss” but then added, “we’ve (the WTA) still got lots of good players and personalities and different game styles to look to. Obviously she’s a huge name to lose but there are still a lot of other things to look for in women’s tennis.”
But the questions weren’t all about Serena. Defending champion Jelena Jankovic smiled and laughed quite a bit at a slew of questions about her ongoing house construction in San Diego. Looking very relaxed, Jankovic simply replied, “It’s a big house. It’s a long process.” When pressed about the reported ten-car garage that’s part of the house and if she actually owns ten cars, Jankovic laughed that question off with a smile and then said “that’s a little too much information.”
And with that All-Access day was over. Now it’s time for the women to let their tennis do the talking on the purple courts of Indian Wells.
(See photos of the All-Access Day at Indian Wells here.)
This article originally appeared on Tennis Panorama News. Erik Gudris, moderator of Adjusting The Net, is covering the BNP Paribas Open this week for Tennis Panorama News.