Like some installment of the recently revised “Sherlock Holmes” mysteries, perhaps the famed detective himself should investigate the last 48 hours of Serena Williams’ life.
If one hasn’t been paying attention, Serena along with her sister Venus Williams, stepped out Tuesday to play a second round doubles match against Kristina Barrois and Stefanie Voegle. Yet, during the warmup, Serena had difficulty even getting the ball over the net.
After being examined by a doctor on the sidelines, during which time Serena appeared on the verge of tears, the match went on. Serena, who looked unsteady and disoriented, couldn’t manage to get her serves over the net. Umpire Kadir Nouni got out of his chair to find out if Serena was ok and, let’s face it, probably tried to find out what exactly was going on. Soon enough, Venus took Serena by the hand and the pair abruptly retired from the match down 0-3.
Later, Serena released a statement saying she had been suffering from a viral illness over the last few days. The WTA released its own statement Wednesday saying that Williams had seen yet more doctors and was doing a bit better.
That didn’t stop the collective eyebrow of scrutiny, raised the moment Serena walked on court, from closing shut. With reports that her coach, Patrick Mouratoglou, had not seen her for two days along with family members saying that Serena was resting the day before, it was hard to understand why Serena ended up like she did.
The biggest voice of skepticism came from Martina Navratilova who said in a recent interview she couldn’t how understand Serena’s coach or team would allow her to step out onto the court. If she really was that ill, Serena should have defaulted prior to the match the Hall of Famer contends.
While it is possible Serena was indeed suffering from a viral illness, others aren’t so sure. Theories abound that perhaps Serena is or was dealing with complications from her recent health issues from several years ago. Some others suggest that it was more mental than physical, with Serena still depressed after losing in the third round to Alize Cornet.
As to why she played at all, perhaps she felt a loyalty to do so for her big sister Venus. Serena may have thought perhaps once she stepped out on court, everything would be fine. Again, all speculation, but only because we are likely never to find out really why.
After a standout last season, 2014 is turning into a very lackluster one for the reigning No.1. Despite having won three titles, Williams has bowed out of the first week of each of the majors so far. There’s plenty of time for her to turn things around this summer, especially at the US Open. But Williams definitely appears to be in need of some down time away from the courts and perhaps away from any training as well. Considering Williams is probably also pondering where she is in this late stage of her career, time away from the spotlight after this unfortunate episode is for the best.
Will Serena find the answers she needs? This is one cliffhanger few will want to predict.