This could be the last year for Venus Williams
Venus Williams announces her withdrawal from the 2023 Australian Open as injuries catch-up with the 42-year old in Auckland despite some good level on display.
In the good old days, they called Venus in orbit. No sci-fi this, it was a reference to Venus Ebony Starr Williams, elder sister of Serena, who pulled out of the Australian Open on Saturday. Heck, what’s the big deal about a 42-year-old Yank realizing her body was not going to cope with the rigors of hard-court tennis in Melting Melbourne?
Well, if fans know their tennis, they will never say these uncharitable things about Venus, who, at six feet and one inch lorded over tennis courts in yesteryears. Sample this, at age 14, she turned pro, which is 28 years ago. To be doing the same thing day in and day out, knocking the hell out of the fuzzy tennis ball can be boring. Venus never got bored, that’s why she is still hanging around.
Agreed, today her singles ranking is in four digits, which is bad. How does one forget she was the first Williams star, who graced Wimbledon with elan and poise. Father Time, is a phrase usually used for men, who start getting old. If there was a similar phrase for Venus, it may have been apt. There is no doubt, this Australian Open in 2023 may have been Venus’s last. Now, it’s a lost opportunity she has pulled out due to injury.
At her peak, Venus was powerful and athletic. Her movement on the slick grass courts of the famous suburb of SW19, on the outskirts of London, saw her win five singles titles at the All England Lawn Tennis Club. Five singles titles on grass were no mean achievement at Wimbledon. Add to it the two US Open titles, Venus has a collection of seven Grand Slam titles.
All signs indicating to Venus Williams calling it a day this season
There was a twist in the tale, to be sure. When the two sisters started off, Venus was in command. So much so, fans joked outcome of the matches between these two sisters was fixed in the locker room by Dad Richard Williams. That was all gas as these two sisters went for the jugular on the tennis court. Initially, Serena may have been a bit of a sissy, she would cry and seek attention.
Venus never minded it, after all, she was the elder sister. When Venus was winning the titles at the start of 2000, she looked invincible. It included a great performance at the 2000 Sydney Olympics. Her movement had gazelle-like grace and she would be a dominant force at the net. Anyone who has watched Venus will agree, she was a crafted piece. That Serena eventually overtook her and won almost triple the number of titles is a fact.
But then, you cannot ignore the fact these two sisters had the world at their feet. The Grand Slam trophies would go into the Williams cabinet, early on. They also played top-class, natural, and doubles and won 14 Grand Slam titles together. It was a big feat, though Venus also went on to win a couple of mixed doubles Grand Slam titles. Melbourne is unlucky it will not see either Williams on view in 2023.
Venus last played in 2021 and Serena lost a big match at the same venue to Naomi Osaka the same year. Venus has been knocking on the doors of Grand Slam events through wild cards. At her peak, she could kick any of the juniors. That she chose not to retire is a personal decision, though she must now be wondering how long she can go on like this. There is no point in just being another tennis pro at this age.
Modern tennis is for younger and fitter players, with the prime example of Ash Barty retiring at 26 last year coming to mind. Maybe, this is the last of Venus. Her sister Serena said goodbye last year in New York. She was given a standing ovation and all her talk of making a comeback is a flirtatious attempt at keeping the rumor mills going! She provides them with enough fodder. Comparisons between the Williams sisters in the past were often.
Yet, what variety and depth they provided to tennis will stay in history books forever. Emerging from the ghettos of Compton in the US and playing on public courts, where they faced hardships, to rising as superstars is a great story. They came from humble backgrounds and made it big. In between, there were tearful stories, for Dad Richard was seen as a nuisance and their Mom was omnipresent.
Serena made the right decision to find her date and now is the Super Mom who enjoys the company of Alexis Olympia Ohanian Jr. Venus is still single, perhaps unsure of what she wants to do in life. They had interests more than tennis in fashion design and so on. Maybe, sometime in 2023, Venus will call it a day.
Just imagine, between these two sisters, they won an assortment of 30 singles Grand Slam titles. Historic? Yes. Gigantic? Yes. You could be sure, no tennis family is going to be as famous as the Williams. For the record, Serena won her last AO title in 2017 when she was pregnant. Such facts amaze you. Salute to the Williams Sisters!
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