Wimbledon: Garbiñe Makes Venus Cry Like Conchita Martinez Did With Martina Navratilova

Venus Williams’ tournament started with tears and ended with tears. Her disappointment can be compared to Navratilova’s setback 23 years ago. Williams’ lackluster performance in the second set was inexplicable. Was it because of the Sjogren’s syndrome or simple nerves?

Garbine Muguruza and Venus Williams (zimbio.com)

WIMBLEDON – Venus Williams’ tournament started with tears, when reporters asked her about the fatal car crash that she was involved in back home in Florida a few weeks ago. Venus’ Wimbledon also ended with tears, as Chris Evert – who saw Williams in the locker room after the final – reported to one of my American colleagues.

The women’s final basically lasted only one set, during which Venus Williams failed to capitalize on two set points when she was up 5-4 and 15-40 on Muguruza’s serve. After saving those set points and closing out the first set in 51 minutes, the Spaniard ran away with the second set and the title. When reporters asked Venus about what happened in the second set, the American didn’t provide any clear explanation. She simply gave credit to her opponent showing plenty of fair play. Venus is not someone who usually throws in the towel, instead during Saturday’s final her game completely abandoned her in the second part of the match, allowing Muguruza to capture 9 games in a row. The Spaniard only conceded 11 points in the second set – 6 on her serve and 5 on Venus’ serve.

Venus was diagnosed with Sjogren’s syndrome a few years ago, but it seems improbable that her condition played a role in the outcome of the match. It seemed to me that she fell victim of a psychological collapse. Perhaps her desire to lift her beloved Wimbledon trophy for the 6th time caused her an unbearable stress. Quite frankly her collapse looked strange, especially after such a hard-fought first set.

Conchita Martinez – the Davis and Fed Cup captain for Spain – was sitting in Garbiñe’s players box in a curious situation of history repeating itself. In fact, it is important to remember how Conchita made another 37-year-old legend cry on the same center court. In the 1994 final, Conchita bested none other than Martina Navratilova, who was looking for an elusive 10th Wimbledon title. Martinez – who was primarily a clay-court specialist and whose game was based on a massive top-spin forehand – surprised Navratilova with incredible backhand passing shots and became the first Spanish woman to capture the Wimbledon title in history. 64, 36, 63 was the score in favor of the Spaniard.

Had she won that classic final, Martina would have become the oldest female champion since Charlotte Cooper Sterry in 1908. Venus was looking to accomplish the same feat at this year’s Wimbledon.

Conchita started working with Garbiñe a few days before Wimbledon as a temporary replacement for coach Sam Sumyk, who decided to stay at home in Florida for family reasons. Muguruza hadn’t won any tournaments prior to Wimbledon this year, exactly like French Open champion Jelena Ostapenko before her triumph at Roland Garros last month. A few weeks before the French Open, the Latvian had also started to work with a Spanish “temporary” coach, Medina Garrigues. What a strange coincidence.

The first set of the final offered high quality rallies and great intensity with Venus failing to capitalize on multiple opportunities: She first missed a forehand that would have allowed her to lead 4-2 and then didn’t convert two set points when she was up 5-4. At 5-all, she committed a double fault and two forehand errors that cost her the first set.

Venus was also up 40-30 in the first game of the second set, but another double fault sabotaged her chances to hold serve. The match basically ended there, as Williams never recovered from the disappointment.

Muguruza quickly jumped to a 5-0 lead and unfortunately the match point proved to be anti-climactic, as Williams’ shot landed outside the baseline but the line judge failed to call the ball out. Muguruza had to rely on the hawk-eye challenge system to capture the decisive point of the match. Finally, the Spaniard went down on her knees in an outburst of emotions.

Garbiñe is a very nice girl and made the audience smile during the trophy presentation when she candidly admitted that “Venus is an incredible champion, I grew up watching her play… Sorry!” Venus was maternally laughing with the crowd as well.

When she was asked about a message for her coach Sumyk back home, Muguruza genuinely lifted the Venus Rosewater Dish in front of the camera and said: “Well, here it is!”

During her post-match press conference, Muguruza was also asked about her preference for the traditional Wimbledon Champions’ Ball, during which the ladies’ champion gets to dance with the gentlemen’s champion. “Roger! I would like to see if he’s as elegant as a dancer,” the Spaniard ironically said.
(Article translation provided by T&L Global – Translation & Language Solutions – www.t-lglobal.com )

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