'This is serious': Serena Williams 'living in solitude' amid coronavirus crisis

Serena Williams hasn’t contracted COVID-19, but she isn’t going to be taking any chances.

The tennis great shared on Instagram on Friday morning that she would be spending the “next six weeks in solitude” in order to protect herself and her family from the coronavirus pandemic.

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“Spending the next six weeks in solitude,” Williams wrote with a video of her doing her makeup.

“Being a wife. Being a mom. Cooking. Cleaning. Spring cleaning. Face mask. Makeup tutorials. I’ll let you know how it goes … Stay safe everyone. This is serious.”

Williams hasn’t played since a pair of Fed Cup Qualifiers early last month in Washington, her first outing since she fell in the Round of 32 at the Australian Open in January. 

The 23-time Grand Slam winner’s strategy may prove to be a good one. 

Nearly every sports league in the country has shut down or suspended operations amid the outbreak.

The outbreak hasn’t slowed, either. As of Friday night, more than 143,700 people have been infected and at least 5397 have died due to the virus, according to the New York Times, and there are more than 2100 cases in the United States.

While living in “solitude” for the next six weeks could be a bit boring, Williams promised to keep us updated with her progress and activities at home with her family - which should hopefully provide a bit of entertainment in our otherwise sports-less world.

Serena Williams with daughter Alexis Olympia after winning the Auckland Classic in January 2020. (Photo by MICHAEL BRADLEY/AFP via Getty Images)

WTA still mulling European clay season

The Women's Tennis Association may seem out of step with other sports bodies in stopping short of a wholesale suspension to its calendar but say it is to give themselves more time to make informed decisions amid the coronavirus pandemic.

The ATP suspended its professional men's tennis tour for six weeks on Thursday before the International Tennis Federation (ITF) postponed all its events until April 20.

The WTA, which runs the women's tour, initially said it would not follow the ATP before cancelling tournaments in Charleston, Guadalajara and Bogota.

“The WTA has an obligation to its members (both players and tournaments) to provide playing opportunities and we feel it's best if we can offer a bit more time to see if such playing opportunities can take place,” a WTA spokeswoman told Reuters on Saturday.

The ITF also suspended the revamped version of the Fed Cup Finals - the equivalent of the men's Davis Cup - scheduled for Budapest in April, while this month's Indian Wells tournament in Southern California was cancelled at the last minute.

The next WTA tournaments start on April 20 in Stuttgart and Istanbul, marking the start of the European clay court season.

“We are in very active communications with the European clay court events and the grass court events,” the WTA added.

“We believe it is prudent and respectful to move rapidly but at the same time to not simply react, to take the necessary time to look at and evaluate the European swing in the week ahead and have the proper conversations with our tournaments and players before making that decision.

“We expect to make our decision in the week ahead.”

with AAP