If you have seen Serena Williams’ match against Jelena Jankovic (3-6, 4-6) , you already know that something was wrong with Serena. She didn’t move well, looked tired, frustrated, uninspired, and erratic. No fist pumping or “Serena-style-fired-up-staring” at the opponent. What was wrong with Serena? Was it mental? Was it physical? Both? During the match, the ESPN commentator Pam Shriver ran (literally) to talk to Serena’s camp to get some update on what’s happening. She was told Serena did have treatment to her right quad before the match, but nothing was serious. Serena’s explanation at the press conference, didn’t shed much light either as to what her problem was. But she was obviously not 100%. However, after reading her interview, it seemed to me the explanation was obvious.
You were quite listless in the first set there. Wasn’t an injury or a problem with movement?
SERENA WILLIAMS: I was having some issues, but I don’t like to make excuses. We won’t discuss those.
Q. Did those issues extend to the doubles? Was there a bit of a problem all through the day?
SERENA WILLIAMS: Yeah, definitely all through the day. But it was ?? it’s, you know, nothing life threatening, so I’ll be ?? it’s fine.
Q. Looked like during the doubles you were sort of grabbing your leg up here. Is it the knee again?
SERENA WILLIAMS: No, my knee is fine. My knee is great, thank God.
Q. Whatever was affecting you physically, did you start to feel that more after the first couple days of the first set? Because it seemed like you lost some energy there after those first couple of games.
SERENA WILLIAMS: Yeah, definitely. You know, I was definitely feeling it, I would say throughout the whole match from the first game.
Q. When did it come up for you as an issue, the injury?
SERENA WILLIAMS: I mean, it’s not really an issue. I just think I’m not going to sit here and make excuses. I lost because Jelena played better than me and I made too many errors. I think regardless, the match was on my racquet, and I gave it away.
Q. Did that injury get you out of a lot of tournaments last year? Can we expect to see you on the tour a bit more this year?
SERENA WILLIAMS: I definitely expect to be on the tour. I look forward to it and to being in a lot of events.
My female guess is — PMS. It is not an injury per se, but it can make you feel pretty crappy, both physically and emotionally. We never read about it, but those female athletes do experience menstrual cycles as every woman. Yeah, it is true, that with the help of some medication you can skip some of them or delay it, but the fact is that it is still there. It still happens. Here is another good argument why women should get equal amount of prize money (even though they don’t play five set matches).