Meet Me in the Middle: Venus’ Career Crossroads

Venus Williams has a lot of experience dealing with little sisters.

Prior to first ball at Roland Garros, she had lost just four matches in her career to notable ‘little sisters.’ Magdalena Maleeva scored three wins against Venus in her career, while Kateryna Bondarenko also notched a victory during the Ukrainian’s career-best season in 2009.

The elephant in the room? Well, let’s just say Venus has had the most on-court success against the little sisters that didn’t grow up in her household.

When the draw was released for this year’s tournament, she found herself pitted up against another little sister in Urszula Radwanska. Like her elder sister Agnieszka, the Pole found great success on the junior circuit; however, she has struggled much more with translating this success to the WTA level, due to both a variety of injuries and a volatile on-court personality. In a match full of drama and plot twists, the two sisters battled it out for over three hours on Court Suzanne Lenglen. Each time Radwanska took a lead, Williams hit back; Radwanska’s level stayed much more even over the three hour, 19-minute contest and in the fading light of the Parisian evening, she finally pulled off the 7-6(5), 6-7(4), 6-4 victory.

Give credit where it’s due; it was finally Urszula’s time to shine on a big stage. While it seems unlikely that she will match or eclipse her elder sister’s accomplishments, as Serena did to Venus, she did show one thing that Agnieszka has become famous for: mental toughness. The younger Radwanska, who has capitulated in matches of note numerous times in her young career, could’ve easily snatched defeat from the jaws of victory. Despite nearing tears in parts, she held firm; when all the stars align for an upset, the underdog still has to see it through. Nonetheless, much of the narrative that followed was largely focused on Williams, while the victor was barely an afterthought.

Struggling with a back injury since April and having played just one match on red clay prior to Roland Garros, Venus’ preparation was less than ideal. The murmurs and the whispers of the ‘r-word’, both of which have followed the elder Williams sister since her return to the game after a Sjogren’s syndrome diagnosis in 2011, returned just a bit louder. While Venus’ mind is willing, her body says differently. She looked exhausted after every long rally, but still fought on for three hours. She clearly loves the game, but to say she’s still out there for ‘fun’ is misguided at best. She’s a competitor, a champion; she steps on the court believing she can win and still has a deep desire to do so. It’s highly unlikely that she enjoys the physically exhausting, mentally draining struggle that professional tennis often is, especially when coming out on the losing end.

On the other side of the coin, her achievements speak for themselves. She’s a seven-time grand slam champion and has every right to decide for herself when to hang up her rackets, whether just in singles or entirely. Venus Williams doesn’t have anything to prove anymore. Long considered a role model of grace and class for young players, fighting spirit and professionalism has always categorized her career; this has particularly shown through over the past 18 months. If anything, this match was the perfect storm of Venus’ frustrations with poor form, as well as the stubbornness and persistence that has made her a champion.

“My strategy was more or less to put the ball in, and that’s very difficult for me, too, because that’s not who I am,” she said, following the match. “But that’s all I had.”

If there’s anything to take away from the twilight of Venus Williams’ career, it’s the need for a middle ground. Those calling for her to retire need to gain some perspective, but so do those who believe she can still contend for the biggest titles in singles. Her A-game and Z-game have always been separated by inches. No matter how great she is, the one opponent she’ll never beat is Father Time. As we all know, however, the Williams sisters have made a career of overcoming adversity by making adjustments. Tell them they can’t, and they will find a way. It’s foolish to expect Venus to be the player she once was, but it is perhaps even more so to expect her to fall down, and stay down, after another bump in the road.

14 Responses to Meet Me in the Middle: Venus’ Career Crossroads

  • I simply want to mention I am just beginner to blogging and site-building and certainly liked this web page. More than likely I’m going to bookmark your blog post . You actually have outstanding writings. Thank you for sharing with us your web-site.

  • full post says:

    I simply want to mention I am just beginner to blogging and site-building and definitely loved this web blog. Very likely I’m want to bookmark your website . You certainly have fabulous writings. With thanks for sharing with us your web site.

  • good post says:

    I just want to say I am just newbie to blogs and truly liked this blog. Very likely I’m want to bookmark your blog post . You definitely come with fabulous article content. Thanks for sharing your web-site.

  • Howdy! I know this is kinda off topic nevertheless I’d figured I’d ask. Would you be interested in exchanging links or maybe guest writing a blog article or vice-versa? My site covers a lot of the same topics as yours and I think we could greatly benefit from each other. If you’re interested feel free to send me an email. I look forward to hearing from you! Fantastic blog by the way!

  • masaj says:

    Angelo i-Phone Repair is a full service repair facility. Let our CERTIFIED MASTER CELLULAR TECHNICIANS help you out ! We offer same day service on most devices and in most cases it is almost always less expensive to repair your device than it is to replace it.

  • full content says:

    I just want to say I am just newbie to blogging and site-building and really liked you’re blog. Very likely I’m planning to bookmark your blog post . You surely come with very good writings. With thanks for sharing with us your web page.

  • Hey there! I just wanted to ask if you ever have any issues with hackers? My last blog (wordpress) was hacked and I ended up losing a few months of hard work due to no back up. Do you have any solutions to stop hackers?

  • CDK Geomatics provides our clients with a complete spectrum of integrated land surveying and consulting services. Throughout our history, we’ve worked to provide our customers with a level of comfort, service and trust that exceeds their expectations.

  • Infertility Groups – How to Form Them For Personal Support at:: InfertilityCure.tk

  • Thanks very interesting blog!

  • web index says:

    You made some decent points there. I looked on the internet for the issue and found most individuals will go along with with your website.

  • Jay Waldrope says:

    I do not even understand how I stopped up right here, however I believed this post was great. I don’t realize who you might be but definitely you’re going to a well-known blogger in the event you are not already ;) Cheers!

  • You’ve made some good points there. I looked on the net for additional information about the issue and found most people will go along with your views
    on this web site.

  • DonTAnnarumo says:

    Keep this going please, great job!

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *


six − 1 =

You may use these HTML tags and attributes: <a href="" title=""> <abbr title=""> <acronym title=""> <b> <blockquote cite=""> <cite> <code> <del datetime=""> <em> <i> <q cite=""> <strike> <strong>