As I am sure you already know, our girl, Venus Williams, not only lost her singles quarter final but was also knocked out of the doubles with her sister, Serena, this week.
While I am sure she is very disappointed and I am hopeful that she indeed moves on, I am very concerned about a question people have begun asking as early as her singles post-match interview: "Is her performance in the singles indication that Venus Williams should start thinking about retiring?"
Before I offer my own reply to this question, let's review a few facts:
- Venus is currently ranked #2 in singles among a field of phenomenal players, making it especially hard to attain ranking in the top 20 in the world and remain there
- Venus is currently ranked #1 in doubles
- Venus has won the singles Wimbledon title as recently as 2008 and was a finalist in 2009
- Venus is, for the first time in a long time, not playing with major injuries even at the age of 30
- Venus is still hungry for the #1 ranking -- even if it means having to take it from her sister
Here is an excerpt of an article summarizing Venus' post-match interview."Venus refuted any suggestions that, at the age of 30, it might be time for her consider whether to give up the sport. 'Why wouldn't I want to
pursue [tennis]" she asked. I'm pretty good at it most days.I'll give it up when I'm just terrible. It would take more than just a few bad days in a year to make me quit tennis. So that's not even in the equation.'"
The sign of a true champion is one who displays drive and motivation during the process of preparation and training, during the competition, after winning -- and after having lost.
Venus has all of these gifts in abundance plus a few other skills that most other tennis players do not have: she is skillfully adept at hitting winners on a full run; she has the most powerful serve in the women's field; being down match point motivates her to play at an even higher level rather than give in; her physique makes her ideally suited to the game of tennis and she is a smart player.
Would I like Venus to take a step back when facing an opponent's second serve so she has more time to return the serve and more likely win more points? Yes.
Would I like Venus to develop a better second serve? Yes, of course.
Would I like Venus to use her ability to hit the side lines in order to stretch out her slower and more vertically challenged opponents so they cannot hit the ball (as well as she can) when on a full run? I sure would.
But should Venus Williams consider retiring from tennis given her recent losses at Wimbledon? "Hell, no!"