Williams Will Go Down As One of the Best Players in Professional Tennis History
More than 20 years have passed since Venus Williams first ascended to No. 1 in the WTA rankings. These days, one of the best players in tennis history has fallen out of the top 400 in the rankings and relies on wild cards to get into the tournament. At the US Open, Venus Williams was one-and-done for the ninth time in the last 12 Grand Slam tournaments she played in.
Each time she plays at a tournament, there are questions about when she will retire. It is understandable since she has not advanced to the third round at a Grand Slam event since the 2017 US Open.
Williams lost to qualifier Greet Minnen 6-1, 6-1 in the first round of the 2023 US Open, and that raised questions about whether she deserved to get into the field of 128 as a player ranked outside of the top 400. When looking at the US Open brackets, Williams might have matched up with Daria Kasatkina in the third round.
A Seven-Time Major Champion
The faster the surface, the more dangerous Williams was during her heyday. She won five Wimbledon singles titles from 2000-2008 and at the US Open, Venus Williams won back-to-back titles in 2000 and 2001.
She reached the Australian Open final in 2003 and 2017 was a French Open finalist in 2002. Williams reached nine Wimbledon finals.
The Venus Williams US Open experience began with a run to the title match in 1997 as she advanced to the finals four times in a span of six years.
Early in her career, Williams’ name was near the top regarding the US Open predictions.
Doubling Her Pleasure
Playing with her younger sister Serena, Venus Williams won 14 Grand Slam doubles titles and was 14-0 in Grand Slam title matches.
The first Venus Williams US Open title in doubles came in 1999. She won six titles at Wimbledon, four at the Australian Open, and two each at the French Open and US Open. The four titles have her pretty high on the US Open leaderboard.
Williams added mixed doubles titles at the Australian Open and French Open in 1998.
Crunching the Numbers
Williams has won 49 WTA singles titles and 818 matches in singles, and that makes her one of the most successful players in tennis history.
Williams has played in the Australian Open 21 times, at the French Open and Wimbledon 24 times team, and been in the singles main draw 19 times. Seven of her losses in Grand Slam singles titles came to her sister Serena.
Wins have been hard to come by in recent years. However, Williams did upset No. 16 seed Veronika Kudermetova in the first round at the Western & Southern Open. Her only other match wins in 2023 came against Camila Giorgi at the Rothsay Classic in Birmingham, Great Britain, and versus Katie Volynets at the ASB Classic in Auckland, New Zealand.
The last of her 49 WTA singles titles came at Kaohsiung in 2016. The last time on U.S. soil was at Memphis in 2007.
In her Own Words
Not every player will be asked to come into a press conference after losing 6-1, 6-1 in the first round at the Grand Slam as an unseeded player.
However, Williams is still a draw whenever she plays.
Here’s some of what she had to say after the loss in New York.
“I definitely could have hoped for more throughout the year,” Williams said. “Honestly, I just had some terrible luck. I don’t think it was a lack of my body not holding up, it was just a lack of really bad luck with injuries. There were things I couldn’t control.
“I was really happy to be here. When I had to withdraw from Cleveland, I wasn’t sure that I could be here. I have to really thank my doctors for helping me to get here. That in itself was a blessing.
“I love playing here. I really gave it my all today. I really played some great shots, but she had some incredible answers to that. I wish I could have been more prepared for that.”
Williams was noncommital about her plans moving forward after losing at the US Open. At age 43, the retirement questions will persist.
More Than Just Wins and Losses
Williams was at the forefront of the push for equal prize money for men and women at the Grand Slam event.
In 2001 she was named one of the 30 most powerful women in America by the Ladies Home Journal.
She has been ranked as high as No. 8 in the list of the best women’s tennis players of all time.
Williams helped blaze the trail for the future generations of American tennis players and helped players like current US Open semifinalist Coco Gauff believe that they could make an impact on the tennis court as well as off of it.
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