American veteran Venus Williams says a dramatic fall that ruined her hopes of a notable Wimbledon win was “painful” and has left her “in shock”.
Williams, 43, slipped early in the first-round match against Ukraine’s Elina Svitolina, leading to fears she might have to retire injured.
The five-time champion did continue and pushed Svitolina before losing 6-4 6-3.
“It was bad luck for me,” Williams said. “I can’t believe it happened. I’m still trying to process it.”
Williams, who started the match with heavy strapping on her right knee, showed undiminishing determination and courage to fight through her fitness problems before succumbing to 2019 semi-finalist Svitolina.
After a record 24th Open era appearance in the Wimbledon singles ended, Williams received a standing ovation by a crowd unsure how long she has left at the top level.
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The fact she was able to finish the match, despite limping heavily around the court, felt remarkable.
Williams’ defiance not to quit was warmly appreciated by the Wimbledon crowd, who willed her on throughout an entertaining contest.
The former world number one first played at the All England Club in 1997 and, as she remains coy about her retirement plans, it remains to be seen how many more times she will return to the scene of some of her greatest triumphs.
“What makes this one hard to process is I’ve had so many injuries. I’ve been missing from tour for quite a while. This is not what I want for myself,” said Williams, who was playing in only her sixth match this year after being given a wildcard.
“This kind of fall, I didn’t do anything wrong. I just went for the ball. There’s nothing I can really do about it. Those kinds of things are hard to process emotionally, mentally and physically on the court.”
Written by: Debby Eselebor