In Arthur Ashe Stadium on Tuesday night, fans were treated to the presence of a Williams sister once again, and their applause echoed through the arena at the match’s conclusion. However, this time it was Venus Williams, not Serena, and there was no grand ceremony, no formal farewell—unlike the emotional farewell Serena bid at the 2022 Flushing Meadows. Venus’s future in tennis remains uncertain.
While Venus Williams is still competing, her age of 43 and a troublesome knee injury didn’t favor her on this humid evening. She suffered a crushing defeat of 6-1, 6-1 in the first round of the US Open at the hands of Belgian qualifier Greet Minnen. It marked her most one-sided loss in her illustrious career, a career that saw her claim the US Open trophy in 2000 and 2001.
Despite the lopsided loss, the crowd, just happy to witness Venus Williams play in person, sent her off with applause and cheers. She waved and smiled as she left the court, her iconic red racket bag slung over her shoulder.
The support was really wonderful to hear. Venus Williams, the oldest competitor in the competition, said, “I know the fans have been here for me forever, so that’s amazing to still have that support even more than before. Someone remarked, “So it’s a lovely thing, and I love the Open.”
In a show of respect for the tennis great, her opponent, 26-year-old Minnen, said, “For me, it was incredible to play a legend like her. I greatly appreciate you. Being there at the age of 43 is very incredible.
Venus had an incredible record of 21-0 in the first round of the US Open in her first 21 appearances. However, this marked her third consecutive opening-round loss.
Minnen was lauded by Williams, who said, “I really have to give credit to Minnen.” Really, it was absolutely amazing. If she can play at this level, you may imagine that she could be among the top 10, maybe even number one, or win a Grand Slam, or something along those lines.
Venus Williams has an impressive career with seven major championships, including five at Wimbledon. However, she has faced early exits in her last 12 Grand Slam appearances, often plagued by injuries. Her 2023 season has been limited to just 10 matches, with a 3-7 win-loss record, following only four matches in 2022. Her most recent setback was a knee injury that forced her to withdraw from a tune-up tournament in Cleveland a little over a week ago.
Venus Williams , despite the odds, managed to make it to the US Open, and she thanked her physicians for their assistance in making it possible. “I love playing here,” she declared. Today, I truly gave it my best. She responded to my pretty good shots with some amazing plays of her own. I should have been more equipped for that.
The challenging weather conditions in New York, with temperatures in the low 70s and high humidity at 90%, made it difficult for Williams to stay competitive against Minnen. She found herself down 3-0 quickly, with her usually formidable serve faltering.
In order to keep Venus Williams off balance, Minnen used a variety of strategies, including well-executed drop shots. Minnen acknowledged the difficulty of competing against the tennis legend despite the age gap, adding, “She’s always been an excellent player, and she still is now. To defeat her, I knew I had to perform at my best. She continues to hit the ball really effectively despite getting a little older.
Venus Williams journey with Tennis:
For more than two decades, Venus and Serena Williams traveled the world together, dominating the tennis scene. Now that Serena has retired from professional tennis and recently had her second child, questions naturally arise about Venus’s future in the sport. Venus Williams has become accustomed to such inquiries and, once again, she deflected them. She remains uncertain about her plans for the remainder of the year, let alone her future in tennis.
When asked about playing without her sister, she commented, “I mean, I was very much aware that Serena wouldn’t be playing the tournament, so I think I was okay. I’ve had a chance to get used to that idea even before she retired,” the elder Williams said. “I kind of knew that was coming.”
Regarding her plans for the rest of the year, she simply said, “I don’t know what I’ll do this fall. Definitely too soon to say.”