Friday, January 21, 2011

Williams retires in 3rd round of Australian Open

She tried. Venus Williams came to Rod Laver Arena hoping, she said, "for some magic." "A lot of times when you play, you get that adrenalin and that blocks pain," Williams said to the press after her retirement at 0-1 in the third round in Melbourne. The 4th seed sustained a painful groin injury in the second round, but played through it. But after playing one game in which she was broken by Andrea Petkovic, Williams--while trying to return a serve--let out a cry of pain, and the match was over.

This is the first time in her long career that Williams has retired during a major. She came to the Australian Open after undergoing rehabilitation for her knee, and now--with only two matches played--she is out of competition again. Williams doesn't talk much about her injuries, but we can make a reasonable guess that this latest incident is going to require some special coping on her part.

It's also reasonable for fans to ask "How much longer?" Williams is 30, and she has always played a very physical game of tennis. She and her sister, Serena, have their eyes on the 2012 Olympic Games, which suddenly seem far away in time. Williams says she will not play again until she knows she is completely healthy. Williams is an accomplished person off of the courts, so she isn't going to slide into a state of boredom, which is a breeding ground for all kinds of bad things. I have no idea how much time will be involved in her recovery.

There were some "fans" in Melbourne who booed Williams when she retired. Jon Wertheim's reasonable guess is that these were the "party fans" who had no idea what had transpired in the second round; they didn't know that Williams was already injured. (He also points out that perhaps other players should have been given the night match.) Of course, I think the booing is inappropriate even if one didn't know about the second round occurrence. It is especially inappropriate when it is directed at a player who would rather go out bandaged from head to toe than retire from a match.

As for the rest of us--we'll just have to wait for the rehab reports. Andrea Petkovic will play Maria Sharapova in the next round. Petkovic got a walkover from Peng Shuai in the third round of the U.S. Open, but lost to eventual finalist Vera Zvonareva in the round of 16.


Anonymous said...

Get well Venus!

TennisAce said...

I am sorry but I am sick and tired of buying apologies for rowdy fan behaviour when it comes to Venus and Serena. First it was Indian Wells and they were upset because they did not get to see a battle of the Williamses. Then it was the AO 2003 and they were rooting for Aussie Kim, then came the FO 2003 and it was because the fans were rooting for the underdog and because Serena was questioning line calls; then it was Wimbledon 2010 and they were upset with Venus for arriving late on court and thought she was employing gamesmanship. Now it is drunken and disorderly fans who did not know what was happening on the court or just how injured she was.

I do not recall hearing anyone boo Marcos Daniel when he was being schooled by Nadal. I don't recall anyone booing Trocki when he retired against Djokovic.

At the end of the day the so-called fans of tennis are a bunch of losers who choose every opportunity to denigrate 2 of the greatest sporting legends to ever pick up a racquet and play this game and I for one am sick and tired of listening to the apologies. Enough

Diane said...

Well, I, for one, think that being drunk is definitely not an excuse (and that includes the person who caused Serena's absence from this tournament). I don't know what people wanted from Venus--she just wanted to play.

(I can't speak for other cultures, but in the U.S., people get booed if they questions line calls and umpires, even if the players are probably right. In the land of "get over it," it's hard to get respect from the crowd.)

Thankfully, Petkovic showed some class, both at the time and in the press conference. I felt terrible for Venus, but there is apparently a contingent that likes to kick her when she's down.

TennisAce said...

And the worst part is that it is only a few journalists who will really and truly stand up and defend her.

I was quite amazed to read the level of vitriol spilling from the lips of especially Matt Cronin last night.

Cronin as far as I know has never written anything that could be considered ground breaking journalism, and yet there he is, waxing poetic time after time about one of the sports great players. The worst part is that it is not even Venus' on court endeavours which makes her a fan favourite and a role model for lots of the younger women on the Tour. It is how she comports herself off the court.

At some point this type of behaviour has just got to stop. Tennis fans are becoming like hooligan football fans.

It is taking the sport in a direction that I for one truly abhor.

SarahDee said...

Tennis Ace I absolutely agree with you in the way the behaviour of the tennis crowd is going. The Aussies are really passionate about their sports and unfortunately there is a booing culture in certain sports over here, particularly among certain nationalities where ethnic tensions run high. I never thought I'd see it in tennis though - aside from the odd line call, argument with the umpire etc. I'm really disappointed to hear this happened. I missed the whole thing as turned over briefly to finish watching something on the other channel and when I flicked back it was over! Really feeling for Venus. I was hoping this was the year she could give the AO a really good nudge. Like Diane I wonder how long her body will hold out to keep her at the top level of tennis. Hopefully for us, a few more years ...

Anonymous said...

As I look at the William sister's and see all they have accomplished it makes me sad to see so much bias, hate or just indifference towards them. To boo someone as they leave the court in pain is just plain mean and hateful! The late Arthur Ashe said "Racism is not an excuse to not do the best you can" Venus did her best, she hurt herself in the second round did she quit? No, she can back out and won. When playing her 3rd round she tried but failed, the point is she tried and was still disrespected as she walked off. Micheal Jordon once said "I can accept failure, everyone fails at something but to not try you have already failed." As a 53 year old African American, I pray that we as the human race would open our eyes and see the world not only in black and white. Until then I wish Venus, Serena and Maryann a healthy recovery.

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