“I wasn’t overpowered or hit off the court or anything, I just kind of let myself exit.”
After an impressive early 2010 season and consecutive wins in Dubai (vs. Victoria Azarenka), in Acapulco (vs. Polona Hercog) and in Madison Square Garden Exhibition (vs. Kim Clijsters), Venus Williams submitted herself with 2-6, 3-6 loss to unseeded and world’s number 82 in the world from Bulgaria, Tsvetana Pironkova, during the Wimbledon Quarterfinals.
This is reportedly the worst loss experienced by the Five-time Wimbledon Champion since 2007 and she bravely admittedly it during her after-match interview.
Q. Did you have an injury problem today?
VENUS WILLIAMS: No, I just didn’t get enough balls in today. I just, uhm, let it spiral and didn’t get any balls in. I mean, I had a lot of opportunities and a lot of short balls. I just seemed to hit each one out.
You know, obviously she’s played well to get this far, but I don’t think I did anything right today.
Q. This is a player who has now beaten you twice. What is about her and her game that does give you difficulty?
VENUS WILLIAMS: I mean, I don’t even really remember anything from last time. I think, you know, one of her biggest strengths is she’s pretty quick around the court.
Q. You said you hadn’t done anything right today. You had breakpoints at 3‑2. You started reasonably well.
VENUS WILLIAMS: Yeah, I mean, I feel like this is the kind of match I could win. You know, I didn’t get enough balls in.
Q. You have your new book out and you have your clothing line. You’re at an age when a lot of players start to walk away. Do you find the same motivation to want to win and compete? Is it harder to find that with your life moving on, as normally everybody’s lives do?
VENUS WILLIAMS: Yeah, I work hard every day, day in, day out.
Q. But do you think you want it as much when you have so many other positive things going on?
VENUS WILLIAMS: I hate losing, so…
I think anytime you accept losing, it’s definitely a good time to walk away.
At this time I feel like I’m playing great tennis, but obviously I have to avoid having days like this. It’s not a good thing for me.
Q. The statistics had you down for 29 unforced errors. That’s probably more than you committed in the first four rounds, wasn’t it?
VENUS WILLIAMS: Yeah, for sure. I mean, I think in the first round, you know, most of my rounds, it was in the single digits, you know, for two sets.
So I just didn’t do myself any favors. I just think, uhm, you know, I just kept ‑‑ I don’t know. It was not a good match today.
Q. She played well, obviously, but some of the errors were not as a result of her good play.
VENUS WILLIAMS: Yeah, you know, I felt like she played solid. But, I mean, you know, if I hadn’t contributed to her effort, I’m not sure that it would have gone as well. So I definitely made too many contributions today to her.
Q. Obviously you’ve played mostly great matches all year. You have had a handful of these. You say you have to stop having these. What can you do during the match to fight this off?
VENUS WILLIAMS: I think it’s important to stay in the moment. I think sometimes when you miss some shots you get caught up in the ones you miss, not the ones you need to make.
Obviously I expect a lot from myself. Of course, I’m disappointed if I’m not playing the tennis I think I can play. It’s important to stay in that moment, and that’s not always easy.
Q. Was it the forehand that let you down the most today?
VENUS WILLIAMS: I think I missed all shots today: forehand, volley, backhand. You know, if there was a shot to miss, I think I missed it.
Q. What was the problem with the serve? Was the sun an issue at one point?
VENUS WILLIAMS: The sun was on the far side. But, you know, I didn’t get it in.
Q. When you won yesterday, you said you felt you’ve been trying to play too many perfect shots, not settling for good shots. Was that something that affected you today at all?
VENUS WILLIAMS: I don’t remember saying that. But, you know, I think a lot of those approach shots I was missing because I felt like I got a short ball literally every point.
I just felt, you know, you have to have the mentality on the short ball to hit the approach and be ready for the volley. And I felt like I didn’t slow myself down enough, and I just kept trying to hit too good of a ‑‑ you know, you have to not want to win the point, especially when the ball’s bouncing low.
On the grass, the bounce isn’t always true, so you have to adjust your shot. I think I just let things start going too fast.
Q. Losses and wins both can be either triumphs of the emotions, mentality, technique, or strategy. Which would you say was most responsible today?
VENUS WILLIAMS: All (laughter.) Like I said, you know, I didn’t bring my best tennis today. And sometimes, like I said, you really have to live in the moment. I got too caught up in the mistakes I was making instead of just letting it go and moving on.
I expect a lot from myself, especially at this tournament. When I missed a few shots, I think I just kind of, you know, maybe was a little too hard on myself.
Usually I stay, you know, for the most part, pretty positive. But, you know, yeah.
Q. Since the millennium, five titles, three times in the final. How disappointing is it to fall so short this time?
VENUS WILLIAMS: Yeah, uhm, you know, it’s very disappointing. I felt like I played some players along the way who played really well. You know, I think she played really well, too, but maybe not as tough as like my fourth round or my third round or even my second round.
You know, to not be able to bring my best tennis today and to just make that many errors is disappointing in a match where I feel like, you know, I wasn’t overpowered, you know, hit off the court or anything; where I just kind of let myself exit.
So obviously I’m not pleased with this result, but I have to move on. What else can I do? Unless I have a time machine, which I don’t.
Q. They are announcing the next Fed Cup is in San Diego. Is that something on your radar that you’re considering?
VENUS WILLIAMS: I haven’t really thought about Fed Cup, especially right now.
Q. You’ve had quite a year. You’ve had some good wins, rising to No. 2, but also some tough losses. In terms of the Grand Slams, to win seven straight matches in a row at the highest level, do you feel that’s something you can achieve again and again?
VENUS WILLIAMS: Yeah, definitely. I mean, I’ve done it before and have the experience to do it. So, uhm, definitely. I mean, that’s not a doubt for me.
But obviously losses like this aren’t fun. But, you know, I’ll be back obviously at the US Open.
Q. Serena is about to win. Will you stay and back her?
VENUS WILLIAMS: I’m in doubles tomorrow, so…
Q. You’re staying in the doubles?
VENUS WILLIAMS: Yeah, so… I don’t just pull out. Even if I’m injured, I play. There’s no such thing as a pull‑out for me. I continue until the very, very end, win, lose, or draw.
Q. Will a win in the doubles help you get over what happened today?
VENUS WILLIAMS: I have to get over it. I have to play another match. I want to win that match. I don’t want to lose that match. I have to move on rather quickly.
Q. Were there any niggles or injury worries you could put down to the fact you didn’t play at your best?
VENUS WILLIAMS: I don’t talk about injuries ever, so…
I congratulate her for hanging in there for me to make yet another error. So, yeah.
Q. When you have a match like today, to what degree does it make you think about the possibility of having a limited time left in your career; that maybe this isn’t what you want to pursue all the time?
VENUS WILLIAMS: Well, why wouldn’t I want to pursue this? I’m pretty good at it most days. Today I didn’t seem to be the best tennis player, but for the most part, I rock and roll this game.
I’ll give it up when I’m just terrible. It would take more than just a few bad days in a year to make me quit tennis. So that’s not even in the equation.
Q. Looks like Serena might play Kanepi. Do you know much about her?
VENUS WILLIAMS: I’ve played her a few times. Everyone always comes out and plays their best. You know, I haven’t played anyone this tournament who wasn’t ready to play. I’m sure she’ll come out and play.
Serena has played so many matches, she’ll be able to adjust to whatever during the match.
Q. Do you expect Serena to retain her title now that you’re not around to push her?
VENUS WILLIAMS: Yeah, I would have loved to have been around, you know, to come close and hopefully make it an all‑Williams final this year. But that won’t be this year.
Obviously she has the experience ‑ more experience than anyone left in the draw. Hopefully that will be, you know, really a lot more than enough for her.
Q. Based on your experience and relationship with Serena, what does it do for her when you’re out of a tournament and she doesn’t have to think about maybe having to play you?
VENUS WILLIAMS: I’m not sure, because regardless, you have to win your match no matter who you’re playing. So theoretically I should have won today. So if she was too busy thinking about, Oh, my gosh, I might have to play Venus, that would throw her game off.
You can’t be worried about who you might or might not play. You have to get through the draw. You have to focus on that match or else it doesn’t work, so…
Q. Do you think it makes her life easier not to have to deal with the issue of playing you?
VENUS WILLIAMS: Uhm, I mean, hopefully it makes everybody’s life easier in the draw maybe (laughter.)
But, you know, regardless, I hope that she can win.
Q. Yesterday she said she was wearing your necklace. Is it the Venus Rosewater Trophy, and is she wearing it again today? Is it a replica of the trophy?
VENUS WILLIAMS: No, it’s not a replica of the trophy. We have a few of those sitting at home. But, yeah, she borrowed some jewelry from me.
Q. Will she give it back?
VENUS WILLIAMS: I probably won’t get it back (smiling.)
Q. Matches like this, normally you get back quite quickly. I watch you all the time. How did you feel? What was in your mind that affected you?
VENUS WILLIAMS: Yeah, normally I always expect to come back and to win the next two sets. I even had a break in the second set.
But, uhm, I just should have hung onto that.
(Personal Insights: I don’t know if Venus can still win another slam after this landslide loss. Perhaps, she can win it next year but all these assumptions and predictions are all easy to say. Truth is, age is a big factor in tennis and as expected, the former world number one is getting older and although grass remains her favorite surface, Venus will and is expected to experience flaws in all areas of her game, especially in her movement.)
But who knows, tennis is unpredictable and miracles do happen. Let’s see what the future holds for Venus 🙂