Stanford Tidbits

Serena Admits She Can’t Dance in Heels – At Least Not All Night
Serena Williams has finally come clean about the left knee injury that eventually required surgery: She tweaked it grooving at an L.A. dance club in 2002. Asked why she hadn’t come clean earlier on Thursday following her 6-3, 7-6 win over Melinda Czink, Serena said: “I just didn’t want my parents to know. I don’t think they know yet. I’m still a little nervous about that.”

The No. 2 American went on to say the accident was “embarrassing” and “ridiculous,” and that she learned her lesson. “Whenever I go out now I always bring a pair of flats,” she chuckled, noting that she never returned to the same nightclub again. “I don’t dance the whole night in heels.”

However, there was a silver lining: The injury absence meant she was able to spend time with her half-sister, Yetunde, who was murdered in the Williams sisters' hometown of Compton, Calif., in 2003. “It was good because I ended up spending the whole summer with my sister, so I have zero regrets,” Serena said. “Maybe it happened for a reason….I just thought it was all worth it at the end.”

Dementieva Calls Out Jankovic’s Criticism of Roadmap
On Sunday, Jelena Jankovic, of all people, groused about the new roadmap keeping her out of events she wants to play. Without going into all the details, suffice it to say that based on the re-jiggered player commitments, it is possible that some top players are prevented from competing everywhere they want. Coming from Jankovic, who never saw a tournament she didn’t want to enter, it was a little ironic. That was not lost on elegant Russian Elena Dementieva. Asked about Jankovic’s complaints the other day, the fourth-ranked player laughed: “I don’t know what to say. It looks like she’s playing every single week, more than anyone else. If she can play two tournaments in a week, she will do this.”

Serena on Indian Wells, Beer Summit
A couple of days ago I chatted with Serena about the Henry Louis Gates-James Crowley-President Obama situation. I wondered if, in light of what was probably an overreaction on the part of all three, she might ever see the situation at ’01 Indian Wells with different colored glasses. She was adamant that she had experienced a racist reaction from the crowd, and that had it been, say, Chris and Jeanne Evert, it might have been different.

“I didn’t overreact,” she said. “I under reacted. If I had over reacted, I would have said something when I had a chance. I definitely didn’t overreact. All I did was show up and play my match. It was nothing that I did. Especially at that age, as a teenager, what could I do?” Serena said she was affronted both by what she perceived as bigotry and the idea that her father was fixing matches between her and Venus. She summed up: “Never say never, but I’m not going back anytime soon. Not next year.”

Thursday, I decided to ask Serena about tonight’s “Beer Summit” at the White House. She seemed only marginally enthusiastic. “I definitely think it could be a good idea,” the 11-time major winner said. “I don’t know if any thing will change or if it will all work out. We still have a long way to go. It’s definitely a good start. I’d be interested to tune in…There’s been a lot of mistakes lately in the police force as per killings.”


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