MADRID May 10 World number two Serena Williams
hit out at the WTA Tour injuries policy on Sunday, commenting
that players would be fined for pulling out of a tournament even
if they were dead.
The American 10-times grand slam winner was asked why she
played at last month's Andalucia Tennis Championships when she
had clearly not recovered from a thigh problem that hampered her
in the final of the Sony Ericsson Open the previous week.
"Unfortunately it doesn't matter if you're injured, if
you're dead or if you're alive, if you don't play they're going
to fine you heavily," Williams said at a news conference ahead
of this week's Madrid Open.
"So I have to play whether I am injured or not. That's just
how it is so I have no choice."
Williams suffered a shock defeat to Klara Zakopalova of the
Czech Republic in the first round in Marbella having lost
heavily to Belarussian teenager Victoria Azarenka in Miami.
The WTA introduced a new Roadmap for 2009 designed to reduce
the number of tournaments and shorten the season to make it less
physically demanding on the players.
Top 10 players must still compete in at least 10 of the 20
Premier events -- previously known as Tier 1 and 2 tournaments
-- and the four grand slams and are also obliged to play the
events at Indian Wells, Miami, Madrid and Beijing.
Justine Henin's retirement last year at the age of 25
highlighted the problem of burnout and Russia's Maria Sharapova
has accused the ruling body of women's tennis (WTA) of being
ignorant of the players' needs.
Men's world number one Rafael Nadal has repeatedly
complained about the congested ATP calendar and reiterated his
concerns on Saturday in Madrid at the combined men's and women's
"It's a fact that there are too many matches but that's the
way the calendar has been set," the Spaniard, who suffered a
knee injury at the end of last season, told a news conference.
(Reporting by Iain Rogers, editing by Alison Wildey; To
query or comment on this story email