It looked like Serena Williams was finally getting her career back on track after missing a significant amount of time due to a foot injury. She was set to make her return in March, but it now seems that she is on the shelf indefinitely after having emergency surgery due to a hematoma from a pulmonary embolism.
The embolism, which is a blood clot in the lungs, was considered to be life-threatening, and I would be shocked if she played any tennis in 2011 as she recovers from this. This isn't something where you just sit back for a week then get right back on the tennis court; it's something that takes time to heal.
This generally happens to older people and those who don't exercise (stemming from DVT). Williams obviously doesn't fit that criteria, so this is a strange occurrence. For Williams, this is just one of many strange moments she has had in her career.
Here are the top 10.
To start off, let's go way back to the beginning of her career.
Serena and Venus Williams were up-and-coming tennis stars in 1998, and already looked to be on their way to greatness. When the two joined the 1998 Wimbledon, they were expected to face each other, but Serena did not make it that far.
In her matchup against Virginia Ruano, the 16 year old seemingly bailed in the middle of a set and lost 7-4, 4-1 without shaking the hand of her opponent or anything. She later said it was unintentional, and looking back at it, it was likely just a teenager letting her emotions get in the way. Nonetheless, it was quite odd.
There are a couple instances on this list where we see Serena's temper get the better of her. Her attitude way back at the 2000 U.S. Open was a sign of things to come.
In a match against Lindsey Davenport in the quarterfinals of the U.S. Open, where Serena was the defending champion, her shots suddenly became very erratic late in the match and she smashed her racket in frustration.
The end result was a 6-4, 6-2 loss, which prevented the Williams sisters from meeting up.
After returning from an injury which kept her out parts of 2003 and 2004, Williams again was climbing back up the ranks. She looked ready to get back on top, as she was ranked 11th in the world, yet got the third seed going into the U.S. Open.
In the quarterfinal matchup against Jennifer Capriati, Williams had several bad calls go against her, and she eventually lost, 2-6, 6-4, 6-4. Upon review, the calls were so badly botched that the chair umpire was removed for the duration of the tournament, and she was granted an apology for the calls being screwed up.
The current challenge system in tennis was implemented in part due to this match.
During some of 2003 and much of 2004, there was growing speculation in the media that both Serena and Venus Williams were concentrating a bit too much on entertainment and other matters rather than tennis.
Much of this speculation stemmed from an eight month period where Serena did not participate in any tournaments. While she was recovering from injury, one that was expected to keep her out two months, she was seen, in a nutshell, everywhere except on the tennis court.
She did eventually come back and work her way back to number one, but for a while we thought she was already done as a pro.
In the 2007 Wimbledon, Serena Williams had to deal with three separate forces in a matchup against Daniela Hantuchova. Had it not been for all three though, she probably would have lost the match.
During the match, Williams was behind 6-2, 5-5 and was about to be eliminated when her leg cramped up. After getting the leg wrapped up, she tried to play through it and fell behind 6-5. However, once this happened it began to rain, and there was a 90-minute delay.
This was enough time for the cramp to subside, and she came back to win the match, 6-2, 6-7 (2-7), 6-2.
In 2008, Williams had made it back to the top ten and was looking to continue a climb to the world number one ranking she once held. She started off the year by participating in the Australian Open, losing in the quarterfinals.
After that Grand Slam tournament, however, she has to withdraw from a few tournaments because of emergency dental surgery. Suspiciously, there is virtually nothing out there about it, just that she has to withdraw.
Injuries to legs, arms, and the like would be common for athletes, but emergency dental surgery in tennis is one of those injuries that seems to come out of nowhere.
We already know that Williams does not have the best luck with officials in the U.S. Open, but what happened in 2009 is still ridiculous.
During a semifinal match against Kim Clijsters, when Williams lost the first set, she slammed her racket to the ground in protest and was given a warning. When she was later called for a double fault, she yelled while pointing at the judge, and allegedly threatened to harm her.
She was given a hefty fine and was put on probation. Needless to say, she laid low for a while after that incident.
Serena seems to have a great deal of very unlucky and downright confusing injuries. Perhaps the most significant one happened this past July.
While in a restaurant in Munich on July 7, Serena stepped on some broken glass. After receiving 18 stitches, the wound turned out to be a lot more serious, and after surgery, she was out for the rest of 2010. Stepping on broken glass is obviously not fun, but they either had to be big chunks or something in them for that to happen.
After having surgery on her foot, a new rumor about her began to circulate in August 2010. The rumor stated that she had some rhinoplasty done while concentration was on her injured foot.
There has not been confirmation of this, and it could have instead been an illusion caused by makeup. Still, it nonetheless made rounds at the end of August throughout the web. Based on the various pictures I have of her both recently and from years prior (this one is from December 2010), I don't see the major change others did.
We all know by now what happened to Serena Williams, but it's still quite confusing. She had a pulmonary embolism last week, and a hematoma occurred, resulting in surgery. It's not the kind of health concern you see from young professional athletes.
There is dispute about how long she may be out, and I can say that with this type of health concern, combined with her history, I honestly don't see her playing tennis in 2011.
If she gets through this and is ready to go, then that's great, but it's a risk to be out there on a hard court while on blood thinners, which she will be for this issue. All I can say is that hopefully she can recover and climb the women's tennis ladder yet again.