Serena and Azarenka make round two
Serena Williams says her injury helped her relax, after the US Open champion cruised into the second round of the Australian Open.PT1M27S http://www.canberratimes.com.au/action/externalEmbeddedPlayer?id=d-2cs80 620 349 January 16, 2013
MELBOURNE Park has hosted AC/DC and various other rockers, but it has seldom felt such ripples as when Serena Williams, the indomitable force of the women's game, fell on the blue plexi-cushion with an ankle injury in her first appearance of this Australian Open.
Serena was stretching for a forehand on Hisense Arena, the No.2 stadium, when her right ankle wilted under that strain of all her locomotive power. She fell to the rubber - it's not earth - and lay on her back in what she described as "a lot of pain".
Would her pain be another's gain? That question arose immediately, since Williams is by some distance the best female tennis player on this planet, despite the mysterious women's tennis association rankings that place her at No.3 behind the grunting duo Victoria Azarenka, the world No.1, and Maria Sharapova.
Down and out: Serena Williams injures her ankle in the first round. Photo: Getty Images
The medical cavalry converged, as tournament doctor Tim Wood (formerly Geelong Football Club's medico), inspected what seemed like a garden-variety rolled right ankle, unwinding Serena's elaborate ankle wrapping and replacing it. Williams worried because she had experienced an eerily similar fall in Brisbane 12 months ago. "I thought, 'Oh, not again' ... I was thinking, 'I hope it's not serious,' because it was really serious last year."
Serena led 4-0 over Edina Gallovits-Hall of Romania when she keeled over. Her opponent did not test her ankle much, as the five-times Australian Open champion did not need to move far or wide to dispatch Gallovits-Hall 6-0, 6-0 - a double bagel, in tennis talk - in less than an hour.
We may not know the impact of the injury on Serena's title hopes - and those of the competitors she has terrorised over the past 12 months, winning 58 of 62 matches - until the ankle has been iced, treated and settled. She does not have to play until Thursday, but has guaranteed that she will be out on the court.
Serena drama on day two
Serena Williams goes down on Hisense Arena playing Edina Gallovits-Hall. Photo: Sebastian Costanzo
"Unless something fatal happens to me, there's no way I'm not going to be competing."
Williams said she also intended to keep playing doubles, which she does with her sister Venus, again barring death. "I'm not here to make excuses, I'm here to play."
And to win. She noted that she had won here before with sore knees. "I've played this tournament with so many injuries and was able to come off pretty on top. So for me it's just another page and a great story to tell the grandkids one day."