Serena Williams took no chances in her pre-event virtual media conference at the “Cincinnati” Masters in New York, with the former No. 1 entering on Friday wearing goggles and a mask.
Speaking to a remote camera at the event which begins at the weekend at the US Open site of Flushing Meadows, the 38-year-old expressed her fears of accidentally catching COVID-19.
The third seed who is travelling with her family and living inside the tournament “bio bubble” said she is staying in a private home well outside of Manhattan.
Tournament rules require players to stay either in one of two official hotels or – for those who can afford to hire their own home security staff – at a rented private residence,
No trips except to the tennis venue are allowed while masks are required around the grounds of the event along with frequent virus testing.
“I have health issues and I don’t necessarily want to get sick, and if I do, I want the good version,” Williams, who has existing lung vulnerabilities, said of the virus.
“So I’ve been doing extra vitamins. So if something happens, at least I will have the good strain, I guess, of the virus.”
The 23-time Grand Slam winner said that staying in a home gives her peace of mind.
“At my house I can control more. There is no housekeeping, none of that type of stuff.
“As much as i want to be here, I have genuine health issues. I just need to put my mind at rest to even be able to perform in New York.
“Because of my health issues, I’m all for all the extra (health) protocols and the extra safety.
“I want to make sure that we are all keeping ourselves in this giant bubble. With 128 in each of the men’s and women’s draws, it’s going to be a lot of people in this bubble.”