Friday, January 21, 2011

Venus Williams forced to retire from Grand Slam match for the first time.

Venus Williams, the No.4 seed, was forced to retire from her first-ever Grand Slam singles match, calling time on her third round encounter against Andrea Petkovic after just six minutes.

Williams, who injured her pelvic muscle during her gruelling three-set match against Sandra Zahlavova, began serving in the second night match on Rod Laver Arena, but was soon broken by a determined-looking Petkovic, winning just one point. And, having stretched and failed for a Petkovic passing shot, the multi-Grand Slam champion hobbled to her chair after the seventh point. Head in her hands, and consulting the trainer, she made the decision to retire from a Grand Slam singles match for the first time since 1994.

German Petkovic advances to meet Maria Sharapova in the fourth round.

As Williams walked onto Rod Laver Arena, she was already limping, and didn't make much hope for the quality three setter most would have hoped for. In the six minutes of play we were able to see Venus was obviously struggling with the injury not even attempting to run down balls. As the trainer told her the news, and the crowed saw the inevitable unfold, Williams look clearly and understandably distraught.

Here is what venus had to say after the match:

Q. What happened?
VENUS WILLIAMS: Um, I just obviously couldn't play. I mean, just couldn't move. Just too painful.

Q. We saw how debilitating it was two days ago when it happened. How has the last 24, 48 hours gone for you? Take us through that.

VENUS WILLIAMS: Yeah, the last 48 hours I did as much pain management and recovery that I could. I just hit some balls at 6:00 just kind of standing still. Just kind of warming up standing still and trying to give my best for the match.

You know, a lot times when you play, too, you get this adrenaline that blocks pain. But I just didn't get enough of that today.

Q. How disappointing is this for you?

VENUS WILLIAMS: I mean it's super disappointing because this is just not how I envisioned my Australian Open being. I've never had to retire from a Grand Slam especially after working so hard to pull out the match the other day. Just hoping for some magic that I could recover.

But I have peace of mind that I really gave more than my best to be out there.

Q. Did you get any medical advice that it wasn't a good idea to play?

VENUS WILLIAMS: What do you mean? When?

Q. In between the other day and this match.

VENUS WILLIAMS: No, my parents/coaches probably didn't think I should play. What do you think, mom? (Off microphone.)

Q. Just to follow up on what your mom said, I've seen you over the years and seemed like coming into the tournament you weren't in prime condition and moving that well. Did you ever consider taking another month and rehabbing after what you went through in the fall? Do you think you pushed it too much just trying to play here?

VENUS WILLIAMS: Um, I just wanted to give 100%. I mean when I think of myself and my career I don't make any excuses ever to myself or anyone.

For me, it was just important to give 100%. I think I learn from experiences like this. If I'm not ready to play or if I'm still hurting maybe it's better to stop. That's just learning from life. I've learned now more or less what my limits are. Just learn from that the next time.

Q. Is this an injury that's likely to stay with you for a long time and set you back from future tournaments as well?

VENUS WILLIAMS: I don't know. I don't know yet. When I come back to play next time, I'll be a 100%. So I won't be back until whenever that is. Hopefully, who knows, maybe it'll be for Fed Cup.

Q. Will you get some scans before you fly home so you know how badly injured you are?

VENUS WILLIAMS: I'm not sure, because I just got off the court. I don't know really yet what I'm going to do.

So obviously it's an option.

Q. Does it hurt a lot when you're just walking around the hotel or up and downstairs or anything like that?

VENUS WILLIAMS: My last match it just hurt walking around between points. I was able to calm down from yesterday to today to where I could pretty much walk without pain. After aggravating it today I'm not as comfortable now.

Q. Were you kind of hoping for a miracle, that you could get out there and the adrenaline will get going and you would be able to move? Because it wasn't just about tonight. Did you really think it would heal enough where you could play at a decent level?

VENUS WILLIAMS: Yeah, of course that's in the back of my mind. It's tough to come into a match not knowing if what level you can give. Normally you go into a match and you're already focused anyway, and it's hard to focus on so many other things outside of just the game.

So that was hard. Then to think about if I could last five more matches like that and what the future was. So it was really just one match at a time. Hey, can I make it one more match? Obviously I just couldn't.

Q. Serena tends to be a little more emotional outwardly than you have been. How sad are you? Does it hurt you badly or is it just something where you can say, I'm a tough woman and I can shake it off and tomorrow is another day?

VENUS WILLIAMS: I think it hurts more when you lose and it's your fault, like you made bad decisions and didn't get the ball in play. This time I feel like I tried really hard to be in this tournament. At this point I have peace of mind that I gave everything I had at all points.

So more than anything, I can't be disappointed in that aspect.

Q. You played great at the US Open and played some great tournaments last year. A lot of gaps because of injuries.


Q. At what point is tennis just not worth it to you?

VENUS WILLIAMS: Well, I'm still pretty good, even when I'm injured. I mean, at the Open I came pretty close to winning that tournament just on a hope and a prayer and little to no preparation.

Here, you know I was grinding. So I'm just going to focus obviously on getting healthy and coming back. Because I love tennis and I've got a lot of great tennis in me. I love my job, so no end in sight.

This was also Venus' first retirement since 2004 (Los Angeles) after playing 294 consecutive matches.


Carlos said...

I think age is catching up with her. She was injured in the last few months of 2010 season now this. Captain, any word how long will be out?

Emily or as Carlos likes to call me "Captain" said...

She said she may be back for Fed Cup. Although she said it was the worst injury of her life! So I am not too sure, let's say I am worried for the future of her career.

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