Wednesday, June 22, 2011
Venus Williams' post-match interview (video here).
Well, at least we know where Venus Williams will not be in the next couple of days - she will not be in the gym busting a gut. After spending nearly three hours huffing and puffing on Centre Court to get the better of Kimiko Date-Krumm, she has given herself a little time off.
"When you lose, that gives you extra time to go practice and work out in the gym. But I prefer not to have the extra time," she said with perfect comic timing (not that she was laughing as she said it). "I've had a ton of extra time to be in the gym in the last five months, then the three months before that, then the three months before that. So it's been too much gym time. I needed that win and I'm glad it worked out for me."
It was an odd assessment of what had been a stunning match. The 40-year-old Date-Krumm had given Venus the most almighty scare, nipping to a 5-1 lead and then refusing to lie down when Venus started to fight back. The tennis was remarkable, the atmosphere was electric and the result was up in the air until the last couple of points. The crowd loved it; Venus seemed marginally less enthusiastic about the whole affair. This had been just a little too close for comfort.
"As you can tell in the match, I was very serious about trying to get the win, even down 1‑5 in the first set," she said. "I really felt like if I held and broke, I would still be in there. Even down, I don't know, was it 2‑6 in the tiebreak, I was still trying to win that set. So I always thought I was going out there to win it.
"She runs down every ball. She hits every ball basically on the baseline, hard and flat. If you get it anywhere near the mid‑court, she hits for the corners and comes to the net. I thought she played unbelievable today. I thought she had some luck on her side, too, with net cords, balls hitting lines. I just thought today was a perfect storm for her to try to get a win. Thankfully I had some answers."
The perfect storm above (which was actually more like relentless drizzle) meant that the roof was closed for the duration of the match giving Venus her first taste of "indoor Wimbledon". This, it turned out, was not necessarily a good thing as the acoustics amplified her every yelp of disapproval as another ball went wide or long.
"The roof was a lot warmer and definitely you can hear some echoes," she said. "So when I was frustrated, you could definitely hear those screams echoing around the arena."
Those screams continued for much of the three sets but, no matter, Venus would not give in. Since leaving SW19 last year, she had only played three tournaments thanks to injury and now, at last fit again, she was not going to be dumped out of her favourite tournament without a fight.
"I thought my movement was really good and I was competing really well," she said. "Because, let me tell you, she was really competing well. On big points, she was hitting all kind of shots on the line. So when you play an opponent like that, you just have to kind of get into that competitive mode and compete no matter what happens.
"I've been extremely positive regardless of how my opponent's playing ‑ not only here but also in Eastbourne. Just no matter what the score, very positive. Just keeping fighting. I think that's going to be crucial, not only for me but for anyone in this championship to stay positive and keep fighting."
And the longer she fights, the less time she has to spend in the gym. From here, that definitely looks like a win-win for the No.23 seed.