The Norman Transcript

Sports

June 26, 2014

Venus Williams still a big factor at Wimbledon

LONDON — Let others wonder when or whether Venus Williams might move on from tennis. She’s not ready to contemplate going anywhere just yet.

Even as her early losses accumulated, even as Williams got older and was forced to deal with health issues, she never entertained the idea of quitting.

Here she is, at age 34, once again a factor at Wimbledon, site of five of her seven major titles. And there’s a matchup against another former champion looming.

Williams overcame a slow start Wednesday for a 7-6 (4), 6-1 victory over 41st-ranked Kurumi Nara of Japan to reach the third round at a Grand Slam tournament for only the second time in her past 10 appearances.

“I don’t like watching it on TV. I want to be out there. I’m not about the easy thing. Life is a challenge. For me, when I leave tennis, I want it to be on my own terms. I want to know that I rose to every challenge. I want to look back with no regrets,” Williams said. “Everyone messes up. Everyone chokes. Everyone gets tight. Everyone loses matches they should have won. But as long as you walked out there and you gave it your all, you can look back with no regrets.”

Williams, a former No. 1 who is seeded 30th, revealed three years ago she was diagnosed with an energy-sapping autoimmune disease.

A year ago, she skipped Wimbledon because of a back injury. She hasn’t been to the fourth round at a major since 2011 at the All England Club. But the American will return to that stage if she beats that year’s titlist, Petra Kvitova.

“She likes to play on the grass,” Kvitova said, “and I’m totally the same.”

Williams fell behind 3-0 against Nara, then started finding the mark. In the tiebreaker, Williams again began poorly and trailed 4-1 before grabbing six points in a row for the set.

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