From The New York Times:Serena Williams Mending, But Return Is Not Yet Set
By Lena Williams

Serena Williams won't say when she will return to the women's tennis tour.

Williams had surgery on her left knee on Aug. 1 to repair a partial tear in the quadriceps tendon, and she has not played a match since the Wimbledon final in July. She seemed reluctant yesterday to raise expectations of an early return and then not be able to meet them.

Asked when she might return, Williams said: ''I don't want to say right now. I'm feeling really good. I'm riding a bike. I'm running and doing everything. But I don't want to get everyone's hopes up.''

She said her knee had been responding well to the physical exertion and pointed to her three-and-a-half-inch high heels as evidence that she was getting stronger.

Williams, who has won five of the last six Grand Slam singles titles she has competed in and was ranked No. 1 until August, said she did not realize how much she and her sister would be missed until they withdraw from the United States Open because of injuries. Venus had a strained abdominal muscle.

''It's been great to have the fans be so supportive,'' she said. ''I really wanted to play the Open.''

As for speculation that she may soon retire from tennis, Williams said: ''I love the game and plan to play for a long time. I really miss playing.''

She has not been sitting idly while her knee heals. She has been acting, modeling and designing a clothing line. She flew to New York from Florida yesterday to receive the celebrity role model award from the Avon Foundation for her charitable work in breast cancer awareness. Williams, 22, said she was proud to be considered a role model, especially in the fight against breast cancer, and she hoped to encourage young women to have mammograms and to do self-examinations.

''I used to think ignorance was bliss, but not when it comes to breast cancer,'' said Williams, adding that she recently had a mammogram.

Before accepting her award at a banquet at Tavern on the Green, Williams agreed to speak to reporters on the condition that she would not be asked to comment about the death of her half-sister Yetunde Price, 31, who was shot last month in Compton, Calif.

''I'm doing as good as I can for right now,'' she said when asked how difficult a year it had been for her. ''Right now, everything is a day at a time.''

Copyright New York Times Company Oct 15, 2003