Wimbledon, England – Venus Williams, 43, received a standing ovation as she entered Center Court for her 24th Wimbledon appearance, holding a green exercise band above her head with both hands and extended it as he headed for his sideline seat.
Once her first round match against Elina Svitolina began, Williams played like a throwback version of herself. Those great services. That crisp stroke. Soon, she was one point away from a 3-0 lead on Monday.
And then, moving up to attempt a volley, Williams tripped onto the green. His right leg gave way. She fell on the ground. She screamed and grabbed her right knee, which was already covered by a beige sleeve. Williams was treated twice by a trainer – including taping her knee during a medical timeout after the first set – and although the American held on, she could not overcome 2019 Wimbledon semifinalist Svitolina 6-4, 6- Could. 3 defeat.
Williams said, “I’m not sure what I did. I’ll have to check it out tomorrow. It’s late today. But it was painful enough.” “The grass is naturally slippery; you will fall at some point. That was bad luck for me. I started the match brilliantly. I was really hitting it. And then I got hit by the grass.”
Williams, a former No. 1 now ranked outside the top 500 after a series of injuries that have limited her to 22 matches since the start of 2021, was the oldest player in this year’s field and the main draw at Wimbledon. She was the fourth oldest player to compete in the draw. ,
“Right now, I’m in shock. I can’t believe it happened. It’s weird. I’m still working on it,” Williams said in her news conference more than an hour after the match ended. ” “It’s hard to deal with because I’ve had so many injuries. … It’s not what I want for myself.”
Svitolina was only 2 when Williams made her Wimbledon debut in 1997, and she was only 5 when Williams won the tournament for the first time in 2000.
“It’s always a pleasure to play against Venus,” Svitolina said, describing her opponent as a “big legend.”
Williams also captured titles at the All England Club in 2001, 2005, 2007 and 2008, along with a pair of US Open trophies in singles – as well as winning 14 titles in women’s doubles with her younger sister Serena, who last Retired after the season. ,
The older Williams also finished runner-up at Wimbledon four times, most recently during 2017, a season in which she reached a total of two finals and another major semifinal. Since then? Williams – who in 2011 announced she was suffering from Sjögren’s syndrome, an energy-draining auto-immune disease that can cause joint pain – reached the first round in 10 of her most recent 15 Grand Slam events. Have lost
There were some vintage moments on Monday. Operates at speeds of up to 117 mph. Large cuts on forehands and two-handed backhands either resulted in clear winners or forced errors by Svitolina.
There were also 33 unforced errors, 18 more than Svitolina. That category included Williams’ total of eight double faults.
Only after 12 minutes of the game, there was a stampede in the stadium, due to which there was silence in the stadium. Her left foot chalked up as she rested on the grass, looking like she might need to stop. The chair umpire ran in to check on Williams. Svitolina did the same, tying a white towel under Williams’ head.
Williams later said, “I’m a competitor. This is what I do for a living. I did what I could today.” “I’ve played a lot of matches and won a lot of matches because of injuries. It’s a specialty of mine. I never realized it until today.”
Still, the crowd was certainly appreciative of the grit and effort Williams showed on Monday, standing and applauding as she walked off the court with a quick wave and a slight hesitation in her step.
During the match, “Go, Venus!” The slogans were resounding. or “You can do it!” to count. The truth is that both players are sympathetic figures and Svitolina, who is 28, heard their support from the stands. She is from Ukraine – which has been under attack from Russia for almost a year and a half – and returned to the tour in April after giving birth to her and her husband, tennis player Gael Monfils’ first child in October.
Svitolina finished 6–2 with more aces than Williams and nearly double the total winners, 28–16.
“The grass takes a lot out of the feet and you have to bend your feet to get all these shots,” said Svitolina, who was previously No. 3 but is now No. 76 after time-off. Like Williams, received a wild-card invitation from the All England Club. “Venus plays really fast and I had to fight really hard to win today.”