In recent weeks, there’s been much speculation in the main media about exactly what caused Serena Williams to miss the U.S. Open.
(Does Serena’s injury pass the eye test?)
Serena claimed to Christine Brennan of USA TODAY this week that she injured both feet on July 7 in Munich, but wasn’t exactly sure how she eventually ended up needing 12 stitches in one foot and six stitches in another following a night out in the German city.
Amazingly, Serena played an exhibition match the next day against Kim Clijsters in Brussels and then apparently flew to New York to have her feet examined by a doctor. Of that examination, Serena told Brennan:
“I came back to the United States from Germany and knew something was not right. My big toe was drooping, and I thought, ‘My toe shouldn’t be hanging like this.’ I saw a specialist in New York and had an MRI, and he said I had a tendon that was torn. He said I didn’t necessarily have to fix it, but I’d have a droopy toe the rest of my life. I thought it over and decided it was better to have the surgical procedure, for my career and for my life.”
Serena was photographed nearly a week after her injury partying in heels. More from USAT’s Brennan:
Asked how she could fit her swollen, painful feet into high heels three days before surgery, Williams said, “I was bummed about wearing the Band-Aid at my party, you know me, but there were six stitches under there, so I didn’t want those to show. I love heels, I’m a sucker for heels, so if I have to get the (surgical) procedure anyway, at that point, the doctor told me I needed to do it, so I took the pictures with those shoes, then wore flats the rest of the night. I couldn’t have worn heels the whole night.”
While describing her examination, Serena first told Brennan that a doctor said surgery was elective. Then in her defense of wearing heels days after her apparent injury, Serena told Brennan that her doctor indicated that the surgery was indeed required.
Speaking of contradictions, here’s how Serena described how her feet were supposedly injured in the first place:
“We were walking out of the restaurant and, all of a sudden, I felt pain,” she said. “The pain felt like kind of a stubbed foot, like ‘Ow,’ and I thought, ‘Wow, I stubbed my foot.’ Then in 20 seconds, or a minute, I started walking again. And it hurt some more. So we looked down and there was glass all over the floor. I was standing, recovering, thinking I got a little cut and telling my nephew, who was with us, to be careful. Then my practice partner put a cellphone down to the floor so we could see, and there was a huge puddle of blood. I said, ‘OMG, I don’t think this is good.’ “
Serena’s agent Jill Smoller told Greg Couch of AOL FANHOUSE on July 22, two weeks after the unreported Munich incident, that Serena’s injury did not come from stepping on glass:
“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.”
A prolific Tweeter, Serena was far from silent on her Twitter account between the day of her apparent injury, July 7, and her reported July 15 surgery date. Between the 7th and the 15th, Serena Tweeted approximately 59 times, but none of those Tweets made mention of anything pertaining to an injury or surgery.
Her first Tweet regarding her condition was Saturday night, July 17:
hi guys! thanks for all the get well wishes. it really means a lot can’t wait to get out of bed & back on the courts & do what i do best!
On July 19, this post-op photo of Serena was Tweeted by Carmelo Anthony’s wife LaLa Vazquez:
A closeup of the photo reveals Serena suffering from what appears to be two black eyes:
The photo is made more interesting by rampant speculation in just the past couple weeks that Serena recently had cosmetic surgery. That in turn has led some to question the veracity and/or severity of Serena’s foot injury.
At the very least, Serena’s apparent nonchalance about what caused her to miss the biggest U.S. tennis tournament of the year is disappointing - but far from a surprise.
Her dedication has been questioned for some time now - but that skepticism mostly applied to her aversion for non-major tournaments.
Now it appears that perhaps even the U.S. Open isn’t allowed to encroach her lifestyle.
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