The post-match press conference was of the type in which Venus Williams has come to specialise. The questions were considerably longer than the answers as the five-times champion studiously avoided elaborating in any meaningful way on her stunning second set collapse against Garbine Muguruza.
Her autoimmune disease Sjogren’s seemed the most obvious reason her energy levels sapped allowing Muguruza to inflict the first 6-0 scoreline on the 37-year-old in her 20-year Wimbledon history.
By the end of the women’s final, as the second set screamed by in a 26-minute rush of errors, Venus Williams walked as if in a daze. The shots she had struck so firmly during an unforgettable fortnight had gone missing. Some strayed long. Some nestled into the middle of the net. Others scuttled quietly to the sides of the court, landing wide.
But don’t cry for Venus. Do not feel too terribly bad. After the match, in her typically taciturn way, she vowed to march on. “I’ve been in a position this year to contend for big titles,” said Williams, who at 37, after going eight years without making it to the Wimbledon final has now been runner-up at the Australian Open and here in London. “It’s just about getting over the line. I believe I can.”
- GarbiÃÂ±e Muguruza became the first woman to beat both Williams sisters in a Slam final in a historic Wimbledon win over Venus
Williams has long been one of the WTA’s leaders, rightly praised for leading the fight for equal pay. But she is also a closed book. Off court, her most revealing moment at this tournament came when she briefly broke down when asked about the recent Florida pile-up in which led to the death of an elderly man. Other than that, she gave not an inch.
Once Wimbledon 2017 was over, as thoughtful as she is known to be in private, she could have offered sincere introspection, as many other top players have. She could have mused at length on the match — or her historic, 20 years playing Wimbledon. Maybe one day; not now.
Now, the vibe she keeps giving, win or lose, is that nobody is going to get inside. She’s going to keep pursuing her goals in tennis, same as ever. And now, that means pursuing more big wins, more majors, no matter what happened Saturday on Centre Court.
Perhaps Muguruza put it best in her own postmatch press conference. “I’m just very surprised that she’s hungry to keep winning,” she said of Venus. “She has won almost everything. She’s not young anymore. … She keeps winning, makes two finals Grand Slams this year. She just shows this toughness.”
Well put. The grand dame of tennis will march on. Don’t for a moment cry for her or feel terribly bad.
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