Venus, Oldest at Wimbledon This Year, Has 'Painful' Day

'I got killed by the grass,' jokes the 43-year-old after slip leads to defeat
By Newser Editors and Wire Services
Posted Jul 3, 2023 3:45 PM CDT
Venus, Oldest at Wimbledon This Year, Has 'Painful' Day
Officials assist after Venus Williams of the US slipped during her match against Ukraine's Elina Svitolina at Wimbledon.   (AP Photo/Kin Cheung)

As Venus Williams entered Centre Court for her 24th Wimbledon appearance at age 43, she was greeted by a standing ovation. And once her first-round match against Elina Svitolina began, Williams played like a throwback version of herself, per the AP. Quickly, she was a point from a 3-0 lead on Monday. And then, moving forward to attempt a volley, Williams slipped on the green grass and collapsed to the ground. She shrieked and clutched at her right knee, which already was covered by a beige sleeve. Williams twice was treated by a trainer—including getting that knee taped up during a medical timeout after the first set—and although the American kept playing, she could not manage to overcome 2019 Wimbledon semifinalist Svitolina in a 6-4, 6-3 defeat.

"I'm not sure what I've done. I'm going to have to investigate it tomorrow. It's late today. But it was quite painful," Williams said. "Grass is inherently going to be slippery; you're going to fall at some point. It was just bad luck for me. I started the match perfectly. I was literally killing it. And then I got killed by the grass." Williams, a former No. 1 now ranked outside the Top 500 after a series of injuries that limited her to 22 matches since the start of 2021, was the oldest player in this year's field and the fourth-oldest to compete in the main draw at Wimbledon.

"Right now, I'm kind of in shock. I can't believe this happened. It's bizarre. I'm still processing it at the moment," Williams said at her news conference, more than an hour after the match ended. "What makes this one hard to process is that I've had so many injuries. ... This is not what I want for myself." Svitolina was only 2 when Williams made her Wimbledon debut in 1997 and just 5 when Williams won the event for the first time in 2000. "It's always a pleasure to play against Venus," Svitolina said, calling her opponent a "big legend." (Younger sister Serena may be done with the game.)

(More Venus Williams stories.)

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