NEW YORK (Reuters) - Serena Williams, who pulled out of the U.S. Open because of a foot injury, made a surprise appearance at Flushing Meadows on Friday.
Impossible to miss in a cherry-red evening dress, the 13-time grand slam winner hammed it up with her older sister Venus in a mock television interview then joined the McEnroe brothers John and Patrick in the commentary box for the match between Rafa Nadal and Denis Istomin.
But earlier, when the questions were put to her, the world number one revealed the extent of her injury, saying she was still stunned by the severity of the gashes that have sidelined her since Wimbledon.
"I felt something on one foot and then the other," she told ESPN TV after watching her elder sibling advance to the fourth round with an easy win on center court.
"The next thing I knew, I was in the emergency room."
Williams, who said she intended to return to tennis action in time for the United States against Italy in the Fed Cup final in November, earlier in the week tried to clear the air of mystery that had surrounded the nature of the injury.
In an interview with USA Today, she said cut both her feet leaving a restaurant in Munich five days after winning Wimbledon,
Williams said she was wearing sandals and felt something like a stubbed foot, and when she looked down, she saw glass all over the floor and a big puddle of blood.
Williams said she had X-rays taken at the Munich emergency room and received 18 stitches -- 12 on her right foot and six stitches on the bottom of her left foot.
"I don't know how it happened. Honestly, I think someone may have dropped something, which is how I got cut on both feet," she told the newspaper.
Williams traveled the next day to Brussels to participate in an exhibition match but was bothered by what she termed a "droop" of her right big toe, which was later found to have been caused by a lacerated tendon.
After surgery back in the U.S. to repair the tear, Williams was required to wear a boot to protect her foot.
"I'm out of it now," she said. "I hated that boot. I plan to use it for target practice for my serves."
Reporting by Larry Fine, Editing by Julian Linden