Wimbledon: Venus always rises at Wimbledon
WIMBLEDON, England ó Forget the wins, the losses, the struggles. Everything changes when Venus Williams steps onto the manicured lawns of the All England Club.
The 28-year-old American won her fifth Wimbledon singles title Saturday, showing once again that she seems able to unleash something special in herself at key moments during the grass-court Grand Slam tournament.
“When I get here I feel like it’s a different ball game, no matter what my results were, good or bad, in the beginning,” Williams said Sunday in an interview at the All England Club. “This is Wimbledon. No matter what, I’m going to play good here.”
Williams entered the tournament with a 14-7 record in 2008 and not a single appearance in a final, but she excelled over the last two weeks, rolling through six matches in straight sets before coming up against younger sister Serena in the final. Despite a 1-5 record against her sibling in previous Grand Slam finals, Williams won her second straight Wimbledon title 7-5, 6-4 on Centre Court.
Her next challenge will be trying ó again ó to maintain that momentum heading into the U.S. Open.
“I definitely want to build on this and keep playing great,” Williams said. “That’s always the goal.”
She has won seven Grand Slam titles, the last three coming the past four years at Wimbledon. From 2001-03, it had looked as though she would win dozens, playing her sister in six major tournament finals but losing five of them.
The Williamses’ dominance on the circuit ended after the death of their older half-sister, Yetunde Price, in September 2003.
“There were times when I just felt very discouraged about some of my results, but ultimately the standard that I set for myself is extremely high,” Williams said. “The results that I didn’t like were great results for other players. I just had to put everything in perspective and come through those times.”
She certainly has come through at Wimbledon, and she wouldn’t trade a single Venus Rosewater dish for a title at either the Australian Open or French Open, two majors she has never won.
“People remember Wimbledon,” Williams said. “The French Open and the Australian, they’re unbelievable Slams, but they can get a little lost on the wayside. Wimbledon will never get lost.”
Her next challenge at the All England Club would be trying to match Billie Jean King’s six titles, then Steffi Graf’s seven, and then Martina Navratilova’s nine ó the most won at Wimbledon since the 1930s.