Since Wimbledon, women's tennis has gone "Williams-less" thanks to injuries that have prevented Serena and Venus from taking part in the hardcourt season. Serena previously withdrew from this week's U.S. Open after suffering a mysterious foot injury, but Venus, who has ben rehabbing a knee injury, is ready to give it a go.

"Going into the tournament, I haven't had ideal preparation," Venus Williams said this afternoon. "I have to be mentally ready without having matches." She added that he injured knee has taken a turn for the better. "Absolutely, I can move a lot better."

Asked to describe her confidence level, Williams said, "I feel good because I've played so many matches. "I can bank on my experience. Plus, theoretically, I've had more rest than everybody else."

Williams clammed up when the questions turned to her sister's injury or recent controversial comments by tennis commentator John McEnroe suggesting the WTA should reduce its schedule because women can't handle the grind and too many top stars are getting injured.

"I'm not here to talk about [Serena's] injury," Williams said. "You'll have to ask her. Sorry guys.

advertisement | advertise on newsday

Venus praised the current WTA schedule and noted the women have two months off, but issued a "no comment" when asked specifically about McEnroe. She also had kind words for No. 1 seed Caroline Wozniacki as a much-improved, "nice all-around player," and she expressed regret that she and Serena can't team up in doubles and that he knee will prevent her from trying mixed doubles for a change.

"This would have been the perfect opportunity to play mixed doubles," Venus said, "but I just need to play one event right now."

The one subject that engaged Williams a little bit had to do with the continuing comeback of golfer Tiger Woods after his recent divorce. "Maybe he's had trying times," Venus said. "We all deserve privacy in our lives. With the way the media is, it's hard these days."

advertisement | advertise on newsday

Having said that much, she retreated into her protective shell as the interview ended.