Tuesday, April 8, 2008

Harkleroad out of Charleston, Fed Cup--Venus out of everything

When Ashley Harkleroad played Virginie Razzano in the second round of the Sony Ericsson Open, she experienced some pain that she thought was caused by menstrual cramps. The pain became worse, and an ultrasound revealed that she had a blood-filled cyst on her right ovary. The medical advice she received was that she could keep playing as long as she could tolerate the pain.

It was very bad advice. In the next round, the pain continued, and because it hurt her to drink, Harkleroad took in very little water and became severely dehydrated. She then went back to her hotel and vomited until she became frightenly weak. Her tongue went numb, and she was taken to a hospital in an ambulance. The cyst has burst, there was internal bleeding, her liver function was affected, and she lost a quart of blood. Harkleroad had emergency surgery to remove the ovary, and is healing quickly. She does not say whether she will take legal action against the doctor who gave her the bad advice; she does say that she thinks she ought to have paid closer attention to her symptoms.

Harkleroad will miss both the Family Circle Cup and Fed Cup.

Meanwhile, Venus Williams--who withdrew from Amelia Island because of an undisclosed medical issue, has announced that she is dropping out of the tour for an indefinite period of time. "I've just been having some issues that I need to resolve, so I'm working on that at the moment and I'm hoping to be back playing as soon as possible," she said. Williams has indicated that she wants to play in the French Open and she may also play in some other tournaments. I think it is safe to assume she will withdraw from the Family Circle Cup, which begins next week.

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