Venus Williams wins her Wimbledon opener after police say she caused fatal crash in Florida.
Williams “speechless” about fatal crash that police say she caused
LONDON» Venus Williams wiped tears from her eyes during her Wimbledon news conference Monday.
She shook her head, fiddled with her hair and sat, silently.
The wave of emotion came as Williams attempted to answer a question about the two-car crash that police said she caused June 9 in Florida; a 78year-old passenger in the other vehicle died 13 days later. Williams’ 7-6 (7), 6-4 victory over Elise Mertens at the All England Club was the five-time Wimbledon champion’s first match anywhere since the accident — and the first time she has spoken about it publicly.
Well, tried to speak about it. She began by saying: “There are really no words to describe how devastating and ...” Williams paused. “Yeah, I’m completely speechless,” she continued. “It’s just ...”
“Yeah, I mean, I’m just ...” Then she sat there, silently. Eventually, the moderator seated next to Williams temporarily halted the news conference, allowing the 37-year-old American star to leave the room. She huddled nearby with her older sister, Isha, before returning. When the proceedings resumed, the moderator asked that the topic of the crash be avoided, saying, “Venus is willing to take a couple more questions about other things. Tennis, perhaps.”
The 10th-seeded Williams’ return to action, and difficulty in addressing the off-court matters with the media — just last week, the police report was released, and a day later, the estate of the man who died sued her — were the most noteworthy happenings on Day One at the grasscourt Grand Slam tournament.
There was, though, on-court news too, of course, starting with this: No. 3-ranked Stan Wawrinka, a three-time major champion and the runner-up at the French Open just three weeks ago, dealt with a bothersome left knee and bowed out 6-4, 3-6, 6-4, 6-1 to Daniil Medvedev, a 21-year-old Russian ranked only 49th who had never won so much as one Grand Slam match in his career.
“For sure, I wasn’t feeling the way I wanted to feel,” Wawrinka said.
“Apparently,” he said with a grin, “grass is not the best surface for my knee.”
Two of the four men who have divvied up the past 14 Wimbledon title trophies won easily Monday: Andy Murray and Rafael Nadal.
Spain’s Rafael Nadal, playing his first-round match Monday against Australia’s John Millman, advanced with a 6-1, 6-3, 6-2 victory. Nadal is the No. 4 seed at Wimbledon.