WIMBLEDON – Five-time champion Venus Williams was dismissed in straight sets by Russia’s Elena Vesnina 6-1, 6-3 on the tournament’s opening day. It was only the second time that the 32-year-old has ever lost in the first round at Wimbledon.
“I did my best today,” the 58th ranked Williams said. “ You know, my opponent played well.”
Vesnina will face their seed Agnieszka Radwanska in the second round.
The American only held serve once in the first set, but was more competitive in the second.
Williams is looking forward to the Olympics.
“Well, that’s all I’ve fought for this whole year,” Williams noted, “so I hope that I can play well there. For me it will just be an honor to be there, and try to capitalize on that moment.
“I’m really proud of my efforts to get my rankings up for the Olympics. That’s one of the toughest things I’ve ever done in my life. So now I don’t really feel that much pressure, to be honest. I want to win.”
Williams who suffers from an autoimmune, fatigue-inducing illness called Sjogren’s Syndrome spoke about her drive to continue to play after the Olympics: “I feel like I am a great player. I am a great player. Unfortunately, I had a deal with circumstances that people don’t normally have to deal with in this sport.
“But I can’t be discouraged by that, so I’m up for challenges. I have great tennis in me. I just need the opportunity.
“There’s no way I’m just going to sit down and give up just because I have a hard time the first five or six freakin’ tournaments back.”
Williams lists her sister Serena as “inspirational” in her comeback. “Of course Serena Williams has been inspirational, said Venus Williams. “She’s fought back near‑death experiences ‑ several. I’m very motivated by her and nothing getting her down and everything that she’s been through that no one even knows about. That’s definitely inspirational, that in itself.
“There’s been a lot of people in this world that fought back from the brink. I don’t have time to feel sorry for myself because of everything that’s going on. I have to be positive.
“I love this sport. I feel like I can play well and I’m not going to give up on that.”
I don’t have time to be negative. I don’t know if you’ve had any negative experience, but it’s not fun. I like to use the same time to be positive because it feels a whole lot better. And also it’s easier to be productive when you’re positive, so that’s what I work on.”
“But I’m tough, let me tell you, tough as nails.”
Wimbledon singles may be over for Williams this year but she will compete in the doubles with her sister Serena and plans on playing Wimbledon in 2013.
“I’m playing doubles here, so I’m going to really try to hone my doubles, do that, and then I’ll go to the Olympics,” said Williams.