Down but not out, Venus eyes redemption at home

Seven-time Grand Slam champion Venus Williams is determined to keep going as she seeks another Major title at age 37.
Seven-time Grand Slam champion Venus Williams is determined to keep going as she seeks another Major title at age 37.PHOTO: AGENCE FRANCE-PRESSE

LONDON • Venus Williams vowed to make amends for her Wimbledon final heartache by ending a bittersweet year on a high at the US Open. The American failed in her bid to become the oldest Grand Slam champion in the Open era as she was crushed 7-5, 6-0 by Garbine Muguruza on Saturday.

Instead of celebrating her sixth Wimbledon title, and first Major since 2008, the 37-year-old trudged off Centre Court looking her age for virtually the first time in her unexpected 2017 renaissance.

With sister Serena set to miss the rest of the year as she prepares to have her first child, Venus will be among the favourites to win her eighth Grand Slam title at Flushing Meadows next month.

"I'm in good form. I've been in a position a lot of times this year to contend for big titles," she said.

"That's the kind of position I want to keep putting myself in. It's just about getting over the line. I believe I can do that. This is where you want to be. I like to win. I don't want to just get to a final. It's just about playing a little better."

Batting away questions that invited her to blame the 24-minute second-set meltdown on tiredness caused by her autoimmune illness, Venus admitted she could have no complaints about the result.

Her only regret was a failure to take the break points that came her way in a fiercely fought first set. She said:"There's always something to learn from matches that you win and the ones that you don't win. So there's definitely something for me to learn from this. I went for some big shots and they didn't land. Probably have to make less errors."

Umpire Eva Asderaki-Moore had inspected the barren baseline at Venus's request before play got under way on Centre Court, but Venus would not criticise the state of a surface that has come under fire from stars including Novak Djokovic.

She said: "They said the court was ready to go, so we started play."

Twenty years after her Wimbledon debut, she was keen to move on from the loss. Asked if she would return, she said: "Presumably, yes. It took a lot of effort to get right here today. So this is where I want to be every single Major. What else can I say? It was a great experience."

AGENCE FRANCE-PRESSE

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on July 17, 2017, with the headline 'Down but not out, Venus eyes redemption at home'. Print Edition | Subscribe