STANFORD, CALIFORNIA – Serena Williams finally realized what happened days later, when she was allowed to get out of bed.
Williams said she was barely aware of how sick she was as she tried to play through a viral infection that caused her to lose equilibrium during a women’s doubles match with sister Venus at Wimbledon. It was only later, when she was able to clear her head, that she realized the seriousness of her situation.
“It was interesting and I was scared after,” Williams said. “I didn’t realize how I felt until later. In the moment I didn’t realize how sick I was. It’s weird but that’s the fight in me. I never know when to say when.”
She would have continued had not Venus insisted she get off the court.
“She kept saying, ‘walk off the court, I’m the older sister and I say you have to leave.’ ” Williams said. “I’m feeling really good right now and I’m happy to be here.”
Williams said she will undergo a series of tests at the end of the season.
“I was really ill,” she said. “I got to thinking about a lot of things and because of family history, I’ll get the tests done and we’ll go from there.”
Williams apparently expected to play in the following week until her mother nixed that idea.
Doctors wouldn’t let her leave her room, so she got some much-needed rest before resuming a full schedule that included a working vacation and a movie shoot.
“I was going to stay in Europe and play in a tournament,” she said. “Going to Croatia was unexpected. I’m glad I went. It was so pretty.”
Williams’ long-time hitting partner Sascha Bajin suggested the trip, telling her “there are more tennis courts than people there. And there were tennis courts everywhere you looked.”
She practiced in the morning and took it easy the rest of the day.
“I was running and swimming and jumping in the ocean,” Williams said. “I tried to stay away from the sharks. That’s pretty good motivation. I didn’t want to be eaten by sharks.”
Williams maintained that after three days in bed, she had already moved on and stopped thinking about it. She also ignored internet rumors.
Looking comfortable and relaxed, the world’s No. 1 player said she’s ready to renew her pursuit of excellence on the court.
Williams meets the Czech Republic’s Karolina Pliskova on Wednesday in the second round of the Bank of West Classic. Pliskova beat Kimiko Date-Krumm, 6-1, 6-3, on Monday.