No rest for Serena Williams before 2012 Olympics

No rest for Serena Williams before 2012 Olympics

STANFORD, California - The Associated Press
No rest for Serena Williams before 2012 Olympics

US tennis star Serena Williams made a remarkable return to form after her hard-fought win in the Wimbledon final. REUTERS Photo

Serena Williams has had little time to reflect on her first Grand Slam title in two years and even less time to sleep with a schedule she says is “probably the most hectic it has been in my career.”
And it has only just begun.

Three days removed from winning Wimbledon and less than three weeks away from returning to London to go for Olympic gold, a jet-lagged Williams was back on the court on July 10 - more than 5,000 miles and eight time zones away from the All England Club - in the serene setting at Stanford.
“I don’t know really where I am right now,” she joked.

The 14-time Grand Slam singles champion left London a day earlier, watched “at least five movies” on the flight - “The Hunger Games” was her favorite - because she couldn’t sleep and only rested a few hours before she showed up on Court 10 wearing a pink, long-sleeved shirt and black capris in front of about a dozen spectators.

Leaving the London drizzle for the Stanford sunshine wasn’t the only reason Williams returned.

Special meaning

The Bank of the West Classic holds special meaning for Williams. The tournament is where her comeback took shape last year when she beat Marion Bartoli in the finals for her first WTA title victory since returning from blood clots in her lugs and two foot operations that threatened her life and career.
“I really wanted to come here more than anything,” Williams said. “This is kind of where I felt like it began. Just getting on that plane and coming here to play is probably the best thing I could have done.”

What a way to gear up for the Olympic Games.

Not only did Williams win the singles title at Wimbledon, she also teamed with older sister Venus to capture the doubles crown.

The two will be right back on grass at the All England Club when Olympic competition begins July 28.
Williams, now No. 4 in the world rankings, and Venus won gold in doubles in 2000 and 2008 and will go for a third this year. A year ago at this time, even playing in the Olympics didn’t seem possible.

Williams cut her feet on glass at a restaurant two weeks after her 2010 Wimbledon title, leading to a series of health problems for most of the next year, including being hospitalized for clots in her lungs. She also had a pocket of blood removed under the skin on her stomach.

Now she’s back and better than ever. “I’ve actually never felt this fit and this good in my entire life,” Williams said. “It’s really, really weird but I’ve never felt this good.”