“The grass killed me.” Williams fell, screamed and did not shake the referee’s hand at Wimbledon
Alexander Nasonov July 4, 2023, 09:30 Moscow time
Venus, 43, did not make it past the first round of the current tournament.
Venus Williams is a seven-time Grand Slam champion. The American tennis player took five of her main titles at Wimbledon. The last one, however, is quite some time ago, back in 2008. But still, Williams Sr., of course, has a special relationship with this prestigious tournament.
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At the current Wimbledon, 43-year-old Venus met a rather difficult opponent in the first round, who also entered the main draw via the wild card. The Ukrainian Elina Svitolina, former third racket in the world, became a mother last year and is now trying to return to her previous level. She is already achieving something: for example, in May she won the title for the first time in almost two years, having won it on the Strasbourg court.
Despite the age difference, Svitolina is only 28 years old, so compared to her opponent she is a very young athlete, the start of the match was left to her by Williams, who was leading 2-0 with a break. That was the end of the good news for the American. At one point, he slipped and fell in an extremely unpleasant manner. He couldn’t help but cry out in pain. After the fall, Venus decided to continue the fight and came out with a tape on her right knee.
Venus after the fall
Photo: Shaun Botterill/Getty Images
As a result, the first set went to Svitolina. Williams, with a score of 5:4 in favor of the Ukrainian, had two break points, but missed them, and Elina took the game – 6:4. And in the second set, Svitolina already controlled the course of events and, having made three breaks (although she herself gave one with a score of 5: 2), she won – 6: 4, 6: 3.
Also, Venus did not shake hands with the referee in the tower after the match. Because? At the end of the second set, Svitolina struck and the judge first recorded an out, but the Ukrainian accepted the challenge, after which it was determined that the ball hit the line. Williams wanted a replay of the episode, but the referee waved the American away, giving her opponent a point.
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After the match, the seven-time TBSH champion discussed the unpleasant episode in detail at a press conference. “I don’t understand how it happened. Will have to investigate tomorrow. Later today. But it was quite painful. It was very difficult to concentrate on what I was doing. The grass is inherently slippery, so you could fall at some point. I just had bad luck. I started the game perfectly and then the grass killed me (laughs).
Yeah, it’s not fun right now. I felt like I was in very good shape going into this tournament and in very good shape going into the match. What happened now is very shocking. This is a sport. I hope I can understand what is happening to me and move on. Such a fall… I didn’t do anything wrong, I just went after the ball. I can’t help it. These things are difficult to swallow emotionally, mentally and physically on the court. I can’t understand it. It’s very difficult. I went through a lot of injuries and won a lot of games with injuries. It’s almost my specialty. But today I can’t understand. Did you think about taking it off? No. I tried to figure out how to win the match, I tried to fight to live another day,” he said.
Svitolina also commented on the incident. “Did you think that Venus was hurt when she fell? Yes, because she screamed very loud. I was shocked. In a way, surprised, because I thought he was really serious. I was glad that she could get up after that. During the medical waiting time, she just checked on the knee and then we played on.
I was happy for her, because it’s a terrible injury, a knee injury. Any injury is bad, but, you know, she screamed really loud. So I got really scared. Is it better to win as it happened than with the opponent’s refusal due to injury? Yes, sure. She tried, she is a champion, she fought and gave her all. She is just an incredible champion,” she said at a press conference.
As for the incident with the judge, to whom the American did not shake hands, Venus was extremely laconic: “I completely disagree with this decision. That’s the kind of day today.”