Busted Racquet - Tennis

In no particular order, here are five things I believe in more than Serena Williams' current intentions to play the Toray Pan Pacific Open next month in Tokyo:

1. Santa Claus

2. The realness of the Roger Federer video

3. Albert Haynesworth's excuse

4. Harvey Dent

5. Geocentrism

The news that Serena will make her return to tennis at the Japanese event was treated as hardened fact around the sports world today (including here, where a link to the AP story was on our sports front most of the day) even though the announcement is far from it. Just because Serena is on a list of players for the event doesn't mean that she's going to play. This is only a confirmation that Serena has yet to withdraw.

You'll notice that this didn't come from Serena or her people, it came from the tournament, which issued a standard press release today announcing various particulars about the event. Thus, the news isn't "Serena coming back" but rather "Serena hasn't yet ruled out coming back." Unless a player is 100 percent out (like Justine Henin) there's no reason to to withdraw early from a tournament on the off-chance that they'll recover in time. There will be plenty of time to withdraw later if necessary. The same thing happened last month when Juan Martin del Potro was on the first list of US Open entrants.

Serena may very well play in Tokyo. She's going to need to play somewhere overseas if she wants a tune-up before the season-ending championships in Qatar and the Pan Pacific Open is a good a place as any. But she's hurt, she's rusty and she's Serena. I'll believe it when I see it, and not a moment sooner.

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