Wil­liams main­tain­ing ma­jor be­lief

China Daily (Hong Kong) - - SPORTS -

LON­DON — Venus Wil­liams vowed to make amends for her Wim­ble­don fi­nal heartache by end­ing a bit­ter­sweet year on a high at the US Open.

Wil­liams failed in her bid to be­come the old­est Grand Slam cham­pion in the Open era as the Amer­i­can star was crushed 7-5, 6-0 by Gar­bine Mugu­ruza in Satur­day’s ti­tle match.

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

Wil­liams, beaten by sis­ter Ser­ena in the Aus­tralian Open fi­nal in Jan­uary, has reached the two Grand Slams fi­nals in the same year for the first time since 2003.

Given her bat­tle with the au­toim­mune dis­ease that leaves her fa­tigued and once threat­ened to end her ca­reer, Wil­liams’ re­turn to promi­nence is a trib­ute to her fe­ro­cious will to win.

With Ser­ena set to miss the rest of the year as she pre­pares to have her first child, Venus will still be among the fa­vorites to win her eighth Grand Slam ti­tle when the US Open gets un­der­way in late Au­gust.

“I’m in good form. I’ve been in a po­si­tion a lot of times this year to con­tend for big ti­tles,” Venus 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.

“I’ve had a great two weeks. I’m look­ing for­ward to the rest of the sum­mer.”

Re­grets

Bat­ting away ques­tions that in­vited her to blame her 24-minute sec­ond-set melt­down on tired­ness caused by her ill­ness, Wil­liams 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.

“Def­i­nitely would have loved to have con­verted some of those points. But she com­peted re­ally well. So credit to her. She played amaz­ing,” Wil­liams 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 As­der­ak­iMoore had in­spected the bar­ren, grass­less base­line at Wil­liams’ re­quest be­fore play got un­der­way on Cen­tre Court, but the Amer­i­can wouldn’t crit­i­cize the state of

There’s al­ways some­thing to learn from matches that you win and the ones that you don’t win.” Venus Wil­liams, af­ter de­feat to Gar­bine Mugu­ruza in the Wim­ble­don fi­nal

a sur­face that has come un­der fire from stars in­clud­ing No­vak Djokovic.

“They said the court was ready to go, so we started play,” she said.

Twenty years af­ter mak­ing her Wim­ble­don de­but, Wil­liams isn’t keen to bow out on such a frus­trat­ing low note.

Asked if she would re­turn next year, 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.”

John McEn­roe, seven-time ma­jor win­ner on Mugu­ruza Tracy Austin, win­ner

TIM IRE­LAND / AP

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