By Sigurd Neubauer
It wasn’t the comeback that she had hoped for. Venus Williams, 42, an American icon and the darling of a roaring crowd at Citi Open lost to Rebecca Marino, 31, on Monday night.
While the game was initially tight, Williams gradually but slowly lost her edge against the Canadienne as nerves were visibly high during the fourth set. At the end, the game was not close.
The Williams-Marino game wasn’t particularly elegant either as both players committed numerous unforced errors.
Following her defeat to Marino, 4-6 6-1 6-4, and her failure at the 2022 Wimbledon, it has become clear that Williams’ dominance over the world of women’s tennis belongs to a bygone era.
An emotional Williams did not divulge what is next for her during a press conference and sidestepped questions as to whether she still enjoys the game.
As the world’s former number one in both singles and doubles, she is widely regarded as one of the all-time greats of women’s tennis. She has won seven Grand Slam singles titles, five at Wimbledon, and two at the U.S. Open.
For Williams, who made her professional debut in 1994, it was her first time at Citi Open. She clearly attended the tournament with the goal of winning It altogether.
While her younger sister, Serena, is not participating at Citi Open, the two practiced together on Saturday, delighting their numerous fans who had come to watch them.
But Williams’ defeat on Monday not only represents the end of an era, but her inability to stage a comeback is in sharp contrast to the world of men’s tennis where Rafael Nadal – when he’s not injured – along with Novak Djokovic continue to dominate the sport as witnessed during the last three grand slams.
Together, the Williams sisters, along with Roger Federer, Nadal and Djokovic, represent the best tennis players of all time as they have collectively ushered in a golden era for the sport.
Williams’ inability to forge a comeback marks a generational shift for the world of women’s tennis.
Thus, Marino’s upset over Williams represents a bittersweet moment in tennis history as a new and exciting generation of women are vying to establish their own legacies. Clues of who some of these very talented players are will emerge within the coming days as Citi Open proceeds.
Williams' inability to forge a comeback marks a generational shift for the world of women's tennis