26th June, 2012
Venus Williams hit out at having to answer “crazy questions” about her future in the game after suffering her worst Wimbledon defeat in 15 years.
The 32-year-old five-times champion refused to be hounded into retirement and said that just being back playing after recovering from Sjogren’s Syndrome – an energy-sapping disease which causes joint pain and fatigue – was a “big victory”.
“There’s no way I’m just going to sit down and give up just because I have a hard time the first five or six freakin’ tournaments back,” Venus said after her 6-1 6-3 first-round loss to world Number 79, Elena Vesnina, yesterday.
“That’s just not me. I feel like I am a great player – I am a great player.
“Unfortunately, I had a deal with circumstances that people don’t normally have to deal with in this sport.
“But I can’t be discouraged by that, so I’m up for challenges. I have great tennis in me. I just need the opportunity.”
Williams’ defeat was her first opening-round loss at the All England Club since making her debut in 1997 and the former world No.1 also crashed out in the second round at the French Open last month.
But the seven-times major champion has posted victories over top-five stars Petra Kvitova and Samantha Stosur this year and took offence when asked about her current struggles to win matches.
“Am I struggling? Am I? I don’t know. Tell me what the struggle is,” Williams snapped during her post-match media conference.
“I’ve been through a lot for years without knowing what I was going through.
“It’s all a culmination at the end of the day. I just try to stay positive and focused on the tennis, not let anything get to me, like, you know, crazy questions. I’m tough. Let me tell you, tough as nails.”