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

The Denver Post - - SPORTS - By Howard Fen­drich

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.

Glyn Kirk, Getty Im­ages

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.

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