The Spin Team
As is the case when Venus loses a match, there is the inevitable write up about when she is going to retire and how much longer she can continue. I reached out to a tennis friend of mine to get her perspective on this loss and where Venus goes from here. Her words presented without edit “I am bummed but she’s still competing hard. I’m not one to tell her what she should do but as long as she’s (on) the court I will support! I’ve seen too much nonsense from ‘fans’ this year who are so critical of nearly every move she makes. Some of my early faves had no choice in when they had to leave the game and so I’m just not here for that kind of attitude towards Venus”
I completely understand her point of view but as a Venus fan, and the long lost Williams Sister and so not only am I going to give my 2 cents, but I am also going to offer some career advice.
My 2 favourite players of all time are Venus and Federer. I know that Federer takes a lot of heat for skipping the clay season and there are many people who believe that as an icon of the sport he should show up, not only because, it makes tennis a lot more interesting (whether you are a fan or not), but it also offers tournaments the opportunity to make some money as he is without a doubt the biggest name in tennis.
In addition to skipping the clay season, Federer also plays a very limited schedule during the season. Venus needs to adopt that mindset. Before anyone says it, I know that both players are different and that each player needs to do what works for them, but when your results are beginning to tank, and when you seem disinterested in what is happening on court and are forced to play 3 set matches earlier on in tournaments, especially the big events, then you really need to take a step back and consider your options.
Venus has Sjorgen’s Syndrome. It is a debilitating auto-immune disease. It affects her whole body and causes muscle pain. It also causes fatigue and for someone who plays professional tennis, it is important that you get adequate rest. Venus is not getting that. In addition to the health issues, let us not forget that Venus is closer to retirement and getting a pension than she is to the start of her career.
We know she plays to win. We know that she will retire on her own terms, but it would be good if she rejigs her schedule to take account of her issues.
Finally, 2 people who are also big Venus fans have mentioned to me her behaviour during press conferences. One person has described it as disrespectful and another as sullen and rude. These are people who would never in a million years say a bad word against Venus and for them to mention these things shows that even fans are noticing that something does not seem right with Venus.
Bertens played a fantastic match yesterday. She served well and she played even better. Not known for her grass court tennis, Bertens was amazing yesterday. Venus was amazing in spurts, but at this level you have to be good every step of the way.
In another match featuring a Kiki, that Kiki started well. She served for the first set but credit to her opponent, Serena Williams, who raised her level when she needed to do so. Serena is through to the round of 16 and on a 17 match grass winning streak. Take that for whatever its worth.
Tomorrow’s matches (today) feature Halep and Hseih (which will be very good), Ostapenko v. Diatchenko (which will also be very good and the match I am looking forward to watching). Bencic going up against Suarez-Navarro (the great grass court player according to ESPN) and Osaka against Kerber (which will be good if Osaka stays focused).
Enjoy the tennis. It will be good