Retirement Still Not On The Cards For Venus Williams As She Turns 40 - UBITENNIS
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Retirement Still Not On The Cards For Venus Williams As She Turns 40

25 years after first turning pro back in 1995 the American isn’t done with the sport just yet.

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Venus Williams (@usta on Twitter)

When Venus Williams made her grand slam debut at the 1997 French Open three members of the world’s top 10 on the WTA Tour weren’t even born.

The seven-time grand slam champion has impressively remained a headline act in the sport for more than 20 years along with her sister Serena. Her resume includes 49 WTA titles and 11 weeks as world No.1 during 2002. At the Olympics, she is the only tennis player in the Open Era – male or female – to have won five medals with four of them being gold.

Despite her impressive career the veteran American player still has no intention of hanging up her racket yet as she turns 40 on Tuesday. Williams is one of only two women aged over 40 to have an official WTA ranking. The other is Hungarian world No.424 Greta Arn who is 41. Some guessed that Williams might have retired after the Olympics this year if it wasn’t for COVID-19 bringing the Tour to a standstill. However, this isn’t the case.

“I don’t think I was going to retire there at all,” she told Tennis Majors last week. “But we basically missed a year so we’ll see what happens.’
“(I will) Probably not play as long as I’ve already played. Let’s put it that way. I will not be like 80 on the court unless there’s like a circuit for me. I can play padel or something.’
“Outside of this, I don’t know. We’ll see how I feel. When you’re over it you’re over it.”

The determination of Williams to keep playing for the foreseeable future comes after what has been a lacklustre time on the Tour. In her seven most recent tournaments she has failed to win back-to-back matches and has lost in the first round of all three tournaments played this year. Resulting in her dropping to 67th in the world. The last time Williams was ranked outside the top 100 was back in March 2011.

It could be very easy for the former world No.1 to retire given her commitments outside of sport. She also runs two successful businesses called V Starr Interiors and athletic apparel line EleVen. However, her desire to win and achieve more is still there.

“If you’ve achieved all your dreams then either you want nothing else or you’re dead,” she said. “It’s never enough.”

As to what her dream goal would be before retiring, Williams mentioned getting her maiden French Open trophy. She has played at Roland Garros 22 times during her career, but has only reached the final once. Settling for runner-up to Serena back in 2002. Overall, Williams has played in a record 85 grand slam main draws.

“I’d love to win the French Open,” she says. “I’ve come close. And the Australian, I’ve come close too, just unlucky there it seems?”

Whenever Williams does decide that enough is enough, her legacy will continue with the next generation of American player’s. Many of which were inspired by her to start playing the sport, including Madison Keys.

“I think Venus has helped the sport, especially the women’s side, with equal prize money,” Keys told reporters during the 2015 Australian Open where she lost to Williams in the semifinal. “She was a huge part of that. Just watching her is inspirational. She’s had her health battles. She loves tennis. She’s still out here, and she’s doing it remarkably well. I think that’s inspirational. However long I play, I hope I can be someone similar to that.”

Williams has won $41,805,656 in prize money during her career, which is the second highest in the history of the WTA Tour. Only Serena and four players on the men’s Tour have earned more than her.

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Jelena Ostapenko beats Greer Minnen to reach the second round at Eastbourne

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Number 6 seed Jelena Ostapenko beat Belgian qualifier Greet Minnen 7-6 (7-3) 6-1 after 1 hour and 29 minutes to secure a spot in the second round at the Rothesay international in Eastbourne. 

Ostapenko won the Eastbourne title in 2021 and reached the 2022 final before losing to Petra Kvitova. 

Minnen led by a break three times and served for the set at 5-4 and 6-5 but Ostapenko pulled back on serve each time. 

Ostapenko fired a backhand crosscourt winner to earn three set points at 6-3 in the tie-break. The Latvian player converted his first chance with a forehand return winner. 

Both players traded breaks in the first two games of the second set. Ostapenko earned a second break in the third game, but she took an off court medical time-out after a fall at 3-1 in the second set. 

Ostapenko recovered by winning four consecutive games with two breaks to win the second set 6-1. 

“Grass is a great surface, but sometimes it can be slippery and really tricky. So I took the medical time-out just to make sure I am fine”, said Ostapenko.  

 “I think the surface suits me really well. The first I played on grass, I was like: ‘How can we play tennis on this surface ? I don’t understand what’s happening here, but then every year was better and better”, said Ostapenko. 

British wild card Harriet Dart battled past former Wimbledon quarter finalist Marie Bouzhkova 7-5 6-7 (7-9) 6-4 after 3 hours and 29 minutes in the third-longest match on the WTA Tour this year. 

Bouzhkova broke twice in the third and fifth games to open up a 4-1 lead, but Dart won six of the next seven games with three breaks of serve to win the first set 7-5. 

Dart fought back from 1-4 down to force a tie-break with two breaks of serve in the sixth and eighth games. The British player never held a match point in the second set. Bouzhkova converted her fourth set point to seal the tie-break 9-7 after a 88-minute second set. 

After a trade of breaks at the start of the third set, Dart earned a decisive break in the third game to take a 2-1 lead. The British wild card saved a break point at 4-3 en route to the win. 

Dart was scheduled to face 2022 Wimbeldon champion Elena Rybakina, but the Kazakh player withdrew from the tournament on Monday due to a change of schedule. Dart will face wild card Sofia Kenin, who won the Australian Open title and reached the final at Roland Garros in 2020.  

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(VIDEO) What A Weekend For Italian Tennis!

Ubitennis founder Ubaldo Scanagatta looks back on this week’s action on the ATP Tour.

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Jannik Sinner – ATP Halle 2024 (foto via Twitter @atptour)

It has been a memorable Sunday for Italian tennis with the country winning two titles on the ATP Tour. 

In Halle, world No.1 Jannik Sinner claimed his first trophy on the grass with a hard-fought two-set win over Hubert Hurkacz. There was also success in the doubles tournament with top seeds Simone Bolelli and Andrea Vavassori winning the title. Meanwhile, in London, Lorenzo Musetti was unable to make it a hatrick of wins for his country after losing in the final of the Cinch Championships to Tommy Paul.  

So how much can be read into these wins and should we be expecting similar results at Wimbledon which begins a week tomorrow? 

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Jannik Sinner reaches the first grass final of his career in Halle

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Jannik Sinner overcame Zhang Zhizhen 6-4 7-6 (7-3) to reach the first final of his career on grass at the Terra Wortmann in Halle. Sinner achieved his best result on this surface when he reached the semifinal at Wimbledon in 2023. 

Sinner will face a final against his friend Hubert Hurkacz, who beat Alexander Zverev 7-6 (7-2) 6-4 in the first semifinal. The Italian player converted his only break point in the ninth game and fended off the only break point he faced at 5-6 in the second set with a forehand winner, one of his winners of the match. 

The Italian player earned an early mini-break to take a 2-0 lead. Zhang Zhizhen pulled the mini-break back. Sinner earned two mini-breaks in the fourth and eighth points to win the tie-break 7-3. Sinner won the first of the four tie-breaks he played this week.

Sinner finished the match in straight sets after clinching three consecutive three-set wins at the start of his campaign at this year’s edition of the Terra Wortmann in Halle. 

The world number 1 player won three titles on hard court at the Australian Open, Rotterdam and Miami this year. 

“It means a lot. I had four tough matches to go to the final. It was a good match today. Definitely more rallies than yesterday. And that’s definitely what I needed today. I am happy and let’s see what’s coming tomorrow”, said Sinner.  

Earlier this week Zhang Zhizhen had previously beaten Danil Medvedev in the second round and came back from 2-5 down to beat Christopher Eubanks in the quarter finals. 

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