Williams toe injury could hamper Australia efforts
Added by Guest on December 27, 2012.
(Chris Hyde/Getty Images)
Perennial tennis betting favourite, Serena Williams’ preparations for the Australian Open have received a major blow after the world number three underwent toe surgery on a persistent injury that puts her chances of competing before Melbourne in serious doubt.
Although Williams reassured fans that she is still fighting fit, she has pulled out of a Thailand exhibition tournament on 29 December. Two days later Brisbane – the first WTA tournament of the season – gets underway and Williams is scheduled to play.
Event managers have confirmed she will play Brisbane, but there is serious concern in the betting world she will not progress into the finals stages. While competitors Maria Sharapova, Sam Stour and Victoria Azarenka all go through vigorous final-week training programmes, Williams will have had to rest her minor surgery and won’t be 100% ready for Brisbane, whatever officials and PR people say.
Fans are right to be concerned, for Williams proved last season that an injury in January can seriously hamper any serious effort to win Melbourne. The 15-time Grand Slam champion may have claimed the Australian Open on five occasions but she stumbled last year because of a persistent ankle problem.
In Brisbane she withdrew at the quarter-finals stage after she twisted her ankle serving for the match against Bojana Jovanovski, and that injury persisted over the next week until Melbourne.
Her early Slam form suggested she had got over the hurt as Williams cantered through the opening rounds but fell to Russian Ekaterina Makarova in the fourth. It smashed the bet365 tennis betting odds and was her earliest Australian Open exit since 2006 and proved that when she isn’t 100% Williams is vulnerable – especially when returning her serves.
If this toe surgery proves to be a problem at Brisbane them Williams may revert to 2012 type and withdraw. This could leave her with little competitive game time before Melbourne, where Azarenka and Sharapova will punish the 31-year-old should that hurt worsen throughout the tournament.