Serena Williams turned her ankle during the first round of the Australian Open Sunday, but the tennis star didn't let the injury stop her from victory. After receiving medical attention on the court, Williams won with minimal movement.
Serena Williams turned her right ankle while ahead of Edina Gallovits-Hall of Romania 4-0. The forehand shot was accompanied by uneven footing, and her ankle rolled badly; the 31-year-old was writhing on the court in pain soon after.
After a medical timeout, the 5-time winner of the Australian Open came back to the court and promptly thrashed Gallovits-Hall 6-0, 6-0. However, she no longer chased balls in the style that caused her initial injury. She was also eager to let her other opponents know that she would not forfeit because of her injury.
"Oh, I'll be out there," Serena told the Australian Associated Press. "I mean, unless something fatal happens to me, there's no way I'm not going to be competing. I'm alive. My heart's beating. I'll be fine. I've played this tournament with so many injuries and was able to come off pretty on top. So for me it's just another page and a great story to tell the grandkids one day."
Still, Williams admitted that she was initially frightened when she first turned her ankle- even though she has experienced the shooting pain during a match before.
"I think I was really, really close to panicking because a very similar thing happened to me last year, almost on the same side, the same shot," she explained.
The tennis champion has a strategy, though, and it involves ignorance of her injuries unless they are minor. After having a scan, she revealed that she would only have her medical team inform her of something she could possibly play though- otherwise, they'll be instructed to keep quiet.
"I know one year I won this tournament and had two bone bruises in both knees. I had no idea. I just knew I was in pain," Williams said. "I think sometimes what you don't know cannot hurt you."
Williams plans on undergoing physical rehabilitation in the next 24 hours for her next match. If she is to claim her sixth victory- she won the Australian Open in 2003, 2005, 2007, 2009 and 2010- the fan favorite will have to be in her best possible shape.
"Obviously there's pain, obviously there's swelling. So it's going to be really important to see how the next few hours unfold," she said.
The defending champion of the Australian Open, Victoria Azarenka, also beat her opponent Monica Niculescu to advance to the next round.