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By Chris Oddo | @TheFanChild | Saturday August 8, 2020

 
Serena Williams

As she prepares to resume her season in Lexington, Serena Williams talks about the new normal and avoiding too many plans.

Photo Source: Christopher Levy

Serena Williams is ready to resume her 2020 season at the Top Seed Open in Lexington, where the American will join several other top players, including her sister Venus, Coco Gauff, Sloane Stephens, Victoria Azarenka, Aryna Sabalenka. The American, who has not played since February, says she is ready to embrace the new normal and get her tennis back on track again.

Tennis Express

“It is something that the whole world is going through, it’s not just us as tennis players or us as athletes, it’s literally the whole world is going through this pandemic right now, and right now I think sports is one of the few things that can actually provide almost like a deep breath of fresh air or like a sigh of relief to people that are really still stuck in the homes,” she said in a virtual press conference on Saturday.

The 23-time Grand Slam champion says she is living in the moment more than ever—one of the key lessons she has learned during the pandemic is that it’s useless to make plans.

That said, she wants to play tennis when she can—even in Europe later this year—if the tournaments are held.

“I see myself doing it all, if it happens,” she said. “But like I said I’m not planning for the future, I learned that, like as tournaments got cancelled, I was like ‘Alright, let me just work on today and focus on today and see what happens.’”




During quarantine Williams says she has been being very careful about her health. She stated her "pro-mask" leanings, and said she is very aware of the dangers of living in Florida right now. Rather than risk going to the gym she built one at her property, and she also built her own tennis court and had the US Open’s hard court surface installed.

“Why haven’t I done this 20 years ago?” she said of the new court, calling it a sanctuary. “It’s really cool. It’s fun, we had a few players out there, I’m like ‘This is the US Open surface, so come hit with me,’ I was just trying to get people to come. ... It’s cool because it got me out of the house, I get to drive to it and get a little physical separation.”

Williams says she likes the security of having her own facility, especially with things as difficult as they have been in the United States with regard to the pandemic.

“This is a lifetime,” she said. “It’s the new normal, I don’t know when I’m going to go to a gym again because I’m not going to risk it for my personal health. It’s just the new normal, it was so radical how fast it happened.”

“I’ve been a little bit of a recluse. I started self-distancing before, like early March, or something. I don’t have full lung capacity so I’m not sure what would happen to me. I’m sure I’ll be okay but I don’t want to find out, kind of thing. I have like 50 masks that I travel with; I never want to be without one. So health concerned, I’m super, super careful with what I’m doing and everyone in the Serena bubble is really protected because, at the end of the day yeah it’s cool to play tennis but this is my life and this is my health, so I’ve been a little neurotic to an extent but that’s just what I have to be right now.”


The American isn’t quite sure what the future will hold for professional tennis, but she’s thrilled to have the chance to compete in Kentucky in the first WTA event on American soil since early March.

When asked about the Olympics in 2021, Williams admitted that the future is very uncertain. It’s foolish to look too far ahead.

“That’s just looking too far ahead for me right now. I don’t know if Tokyo plans to be in Tokyo. So we’ll have to kind of wait to see what happens in the fall. We just have to wait and see, I don’t know what to expect. One thing I have learned with this pandemic is: don’t plan. I’m literally living for the day and for the moment, and in a good way, but I’m not making plans too far out.”

 

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