Monday, June 25, 2012

"I don't have time to be negative; it's not fun"

Illness cannot overtake the heart of five-time Wimbledon champion Venus Williams, but it can assault her body. It doesn't help that she's 32 years old, of course. And it doesn't help that her first-round opponent today was someone who is capable of playing extremely well--and who did so. Elena Vesnina brought her best game to Wimbledon's Court 2 today, which was a stark contrast to Williams' obvious struggle to maintain. Vesnina defeated Williams 6-1, 6-3. It was the first time in 15 years that Williams had made a first-round exit at the All England Club.

The former champion's slow walk off of the court was hard to watch. In her press conference, she apologized for her laughter. The dissonance between her affect and what one presumes was her emotion was poignant.

When she was in Charleston, Williams--who has Sjogren's syndrome--said that "...I always feel like I'm stepping into the unknown." Well, if anything felt like "the unknown" to Williams, it might have been going out in straight sets in the first round of the tournament that made her a legend. She isn't entirely out of Wimbledon, though; she and her sister are entered in doubles competition.

Though Venus Williams' exit was the news of the day, there were other exits worth  mentioning. 18th seed Jelena Jankovic went out in straight sets to the unseeded Kim Clijsters. Melanie Oudin lost to Timea Babos. Jamie Hampton beat Daniela Hantuchova, and countrywoman Camila Giorgi upset 16th seed Flavia Pennetta.

Maria Sharapova, Sam Stosur, Agnieszka Radwanska, and Li Na all advanced, as did Maria Kirilenko, Sloane Stephens and Heather Watson.


Jimmy Lumpkin said...

In the US, among other countries, the surname comes second. So, here, she is Na Li.

Diane said...

I prefer to respect her name as it is, since she doesn't stop being Asian just because I don't live in Asia :)

Jimmy Lumpkin said...

I don't see it as disrespect. I see it as confusing to invert the name order. I've heard her refer to herself as Na. And more, I 've heard Jie refer to herself as Jie Zheng. I doubt that Ms. Li would feel 'dissed' at all. Is this about respect for a name convention of another country, or about respect for a person?

Diane said...

The Chinese players do refer to themselves the "USA way" on Tennis Channel, just as the other players pronounce their names the "USA way" on Tennis Channel, for promotions. It seems pretty obvious that they've been asked to do it as part of the script. I don't think this practice benefits either the players or their potential fans in the USA.

This blog is read the world over, and just happens to be published in the USA. So--for me--it's regard for both the player and the player's culture.

Jim Lumpkin said...

I guess that the convention is peculiar to China. Here and in most parts of the world, the surname comes first only in lists, in roll calls and in formal proceedings.