Jan 17, 2014; Melbourne, AUSTRALIA; Serena Williams (USA) during her match against Daniela Hantuchova (SVK) on day five of the 2014 Australian Open at Melbourne Park. Mandatory Credit: Matthias Hauer/GEPA via USA TODAY Sports

Australian Open Day Six: Serena Williams crashes out, Djokovic advances

Top seed Serena Williams crashed out of the Australian Open in a three set defeat to Serbian Ana Ivanovic, ending her quest to win all four major Opens in 2014.

Ivanovic’s victory is her first over Williams in five attempts, and sees the former world number 1 and 2008 French Open champion reach only her second Grand Slam quarter final since that win in Roland Garros.

Despite Williams saving break points and then taking the first set, Ivanovic fought back to take the match -6 6-3 6-3, as pre-match reports of the American having a back problem proved to be accurate.

Williams’ serve was not the dominant force it usually is, and her movement was also impaired, which allowed Ivanovic to hold her own serve with a much greater degree of comfort than had been expected.

Elsewhere in Melbourne, other seeds made it through to the quarter finals, with men’s 2nd seed Novak Djokovic defeating Fabio Fognini 6-3 6-0 6-2. He will face either Tommy Robredo or Stanislas Wawrinka. Third seed David Ferrer also made it through, 6-7 7-5 6-2 6-1  against Florian Mayer and will play Tomas Berdych.

Li Na, the women’s fourth seed, dropped only two games in a 6-2 6-0 win over Ekaterina Makarova, setting up a quarter final against Flavia Pennetta, who had beaten number 9 seed Angelique Kerber of Germany 6-1 4-6 7-5.

Tags: Serena Williams

  • Pastor Burt

    Dear Readers:

    This is a nice little article, but it didn’t reveal reasons or what was behind this loss. That is the bigger issue. When questioned, finally Serena Williams now spoke the truth, “The secret is out…” What secret? A secret is something you don’t want to disclose; that you don’t want others to discover or admit to. What was Serena’s secret? Serena has a bad back, and this has been a long standing problem which either she will rise above or it will end her athletic career. It is that serious.

    Serena Williams has a history of a bad back, and she re-injured her back a couple days earlier. Essentially, Ivanovic did not beat Serena Williams. She beat an injured Serena Williams. Sloan Stephens did not have a breakthrough against Serena Williams in last years Australian Open. Sloan Stephens instead secured a victory over a diminished and injured Serena Williams.

    If you look at the WTA Championship matches closely you will see that Serena Williams almost lost there as well, and for the same reason: Serena Williams has a bad back. Steffi Graft has said that Serena Williams will become the greatest player of all times IF SHE REMAINS HEALTHY. Serena Williams health is the only issue. When Serena Williams is healthy, no-one can beat her.

    Bad backs historically have ended the career’s of many athletes. For example, the only reason Andrea Agassi retired was because he had two swollen vertebra and a bone spur in his spine producing terrible pain. When Serena Williams stops playing, it will not be because of superior competition or the lack of will but because her back failed her.

    Frankly, Serena Williams dealing with this back problem has been up to now short sighted and essential denial. That is why she called it a “secret”. After her loss to Ivanovic, the diminished Serena Williams made these observations. She confessed that she was on strong medication and that she nearly pulled out of match with Daniela Hantuchova. She stated, “I almost pulled out. I’m such a competitor. I mean, I probably should have… I have just been on some — the strongest meds I can take, that are legal, which my body didn’t handle it well because I haven’t been taking anything (else). So I was like really kind of out of it for a few days..”

    So the problem was again her back, just as an injury to her back took her out of the Australian Open last year against Sloane Stephens, and just as it nearly took her out of the year-end WTA championship this last December.

    If drugs could fix a back, Andrea Agassi would still be playing. He couldn’t and Serena Williams can not gut this out either. Masking the pain only causes the injury to worsen by continued play.

    Serena knows better and I am hoping that her common sense will soon kick in. She must face the issue and bring the secret out into the open where she can attack it. First, she should be strongly instructing those in her team that have advised her to take those drugs that she will not be doing so in the future.

    After all Serena Williams is a “vegan”. She lives by beliefs and rules that preclude her from eating a long list of foods, that this world otherwise foolishly thinks are perfectly fine. She daily refuses ingesting many things into her temple. Based upon her own good judgement, I expect Serena to sooner than later put an end to the use of drugs for the masking of pain.

    Second, in my opinion, Serena Williams must and hopefully will take a more holistic approach that will work to successfully extend her career for many years. What Serena Williams can do and should do is add to Team Serena a good chiropractor (one or more if necessary) to travel with her. This Doctor, this profession should be on her team to realign her back after every practice and match she participates in. Likewise, she should have the same chiropractic team align the soft tissues in her spine daily after practices even when she is in training in between tournaments.

    By taking this non-drug approach, Serena will essentially recover in most instances over night with no side affects. Even if she did not fully recover overnight, she would still be likely fit enough to play certainly every two days. If her back does act up, the injury will be much less because she will already be in a form of daily therapy to minimize what is now the current horrific results. She can not gut this out. Serena Williams needs professional services that will competently deal with the problem just like every professional tennis player has their rackets restrung before matches. Having her back professionally realigned should be as fundamental to Serena Williams professional routine after a match or practice as taking a shower or put on her makeup. This holistic approach will cure her and it will work.

    The drug approach will destroy her. Medication just masks the injury, but does not heal that which is crippling Serena Williams as an athlete competitively. Pain is the body’s way of telling the athlete that the the athlete is injured. Serena Williams should therefore proactively deal with the injury even before the injury occurs rather than use drugs to mask its existence. This is not something her trainer is capable of doing. She needs a doctor on staff to deal with this issue.

    Third, Serena Williams should stop playing doubles at tournament. When Serena Williams gets done with a singles match, she can not afford to put more strain on her back prior to the next singles match. Serena Williams is not a kid any more. She should have two days to recover in between matches at these tournaments. Our bodies have built in expiration dates base upon usage, so if you use it in time you simply loose it. I realize doubles are fun and it helps Serena feel comfortable coming to net. But from now on, Serena should play her doubles in non-tournament environments, not at tournaments. Her body is her career and it’s like money. She should not spend any of it on anything which precludes her from reaching her goals. Venus loves Serena and Serena her. Venus will understand, but Serena has to stop with this false macho Superman imitation. The only one being fooled by the Superman/woman imitation is Serena herself. She is not indestructible. She should let it go, and save herself for singles.

    I deeply admire Serena Williams. I hope she will be convinced to take this three pronged approach to preserve her athletic abilities. If she does, she will succeed in all her goals If she does not, there will be less wins and her career like Andrea Agassi’s will come to end sooner than later.


    Pastor Burt.