Thursday, January 20, 2011
Venus survives huge scare, in "worst tennis dress ever"
Venus Williams has been in that position before - injured, down on her luck and a set. But as she has shown time and time at again at the majors, she never quits, so after suffering a muscle injury near her groin at the end of the first set of her 6-7(6) 6-0 6-4 victory over the little known Czech Sandra Zahlavova, she went back to the locker room wrapped herself up and came back on court a revived warrior.
"I wasn't very happy, to say the least," said the fourth seed. "I mean, with an injury like that, you just don't know what to expect. So I was just really trying to get tough."
That Venus was able to come back on court wasn't exactly a miracle, but it was somewhat surprising as when she went up to hit a high backhand swing volley, she screamed as she stained the muscle. She said that her yell was no run of the mill tennis grunt.
"I didn't even run for the next ball, so you can take your guess," she said. "It was a bit of shock and just kind of involuntary. I think this is probably the most acute injury that I've ever had. But I just wanted to stay on the court and try to survive and see if I could feel better another day."
After the first set, the American refused to be pushed around the court anymore, forgot about the pain, began to cut loose and showed the Czech just what having a stellar Grand Slam resume means.
She calmed down on her serve, stepped inside the court, cut off the angles and blow-torched winners to the corners. Even though her movement was clearly hindered, she was still willing to try and chase down every ball in her sight.
Distracted by Williams's injury time out, Zahlavova's level dropped precipitously in the second set but she picked it back in the third and forced Venus to earn the victory. She stood strong in most rallies and gamely tried to yank Venus around the court, but in the end, Williams tightened the screws and demanded that her foe come up with high-level shots point to point, and she couldn't.
"I think this being a major definitely has a lot to do with me staying on the court," said Venus, who has never retired from a match in 250 Grand Slam matches. "I really haven't retired from a match in any tournament in quite a long time. I think that's a testament to how I feel when I step on the court. I'm there to stay. Definitely this being a major I definitely gave it my best. It wasn't easy out there at all. Had it not been a major, would have definitely been harder to continue."
The seven-time Grand Slam champion doesn't know how she'll feel when she walks out on court in Friday, but she promises she won't give in easy.
"I think what keeps me going is knowing that when I'm healthy I play really, really well," said Venus, who reached the final here in 2003. "And knowing that I have so much good tennis in my body keeps me motivated.
As for her outfit, it is a disgrace! I knew this was coming, I would have forced her to ware the first dress! I don't know why she would ever ware such a thing! It's really a shame, in her first year or two of designing her own "EleVen" line, the outfits were quite nice, but now, its horrible! To make things worse this dress is supposedly inspired by Alice in Wonderland...Hmm still trying to get my head around that one!