Venus Williams bows out in first round of women’s singles at US Open
NEW YORK — Venus Williams bowed out of the U.S. Open in the first round without a major title on Sunday, becoming the oldest woman to reach the tournament’s top 10 in women’s singles since Steffi Graf at age 37 in 1997.
While Williams, who turns 32 in May, remains the No. 1-ranked player in the world, no player can match her 16 Grand Slam wins.
The loss came a day after Williams made her professional debut in the quarterfinals at the China Open, where she lost to fifth-seeded Elina Svitolina 6-4, 6-4.
“I have to accept it,” Williams said in a news conference at the U.S. Tennis Association’s headquarters. “I just hope I can learn from my experience with being out of the top five and learn from the mistakes I made.”
“It’s a big defeat, but it was a necessary one,” Williams said.
Williams is the oldest woman to reach the top 10 of the women’s singles rankings since Graf, in 1997. Steffi Graf was 36 when she won her only major.
“I’m proud of my career,” Williams said. “I accomplished a lot. I was in all the major tournaments that they usually didn’t have.”
Williams withdrew from her opening-round match against Germany’s Sabine Lisicki for personal reasons, and the tournament organisers will decide if she will be replaced.
Williams’ run in the tournament did not start optimistically. Just over a year ago, she won the French Open, the biggest and most lucrative singles event in the tennis calendar.
She defeated Serena Williams in the first round but could not complete a perfect record of 24-0 entering Sunday’s final as the ninth-seeded Williams was forced to withdraw after just six matches.
“That was tough for everyone around me,” Williams said. “But I learned from that situation. I learned that it’s going to be hard to get back to that level, but I learned to deal with the adversity.”
She did so by taking on tougher opponents and finding a way to win in dramatic fashion, becoming the oldest woman to reach the final of a Grand Slam women’s singles tournament.
“I’m so proud of Venus,” said Lisicki, who is 16 years