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Sunday, 16 July 2017 09:52 AM BST
Venus blames too many mistakes in final defeat
Five-time champion counts the cost of missing the 'big shots' against Muguruza READ MORE

Tennis is all about playing at your best on the big points.

Twice a point away from winning a highly competitive first set against Garbiñe Muguruza in the Wimbledon final, Venus Williams just couldn’t get over the line.

With the Spaniard serving to stay in the set at 5-4 down, she handed the five-time Wimbledon winner two set points with a forehand error.

Attacking Muguruza’s faltering forehand in a 19-shot rally, the longest of the match, Williams came up short as she dumped a forehand into the net. A big serve saved the second set point, and it was all Muguruza after that as she stepped it up to take nine games in a row to win her first Wimbledon title.

“There's errors, and you can't make them,” Williams told reporters, after losing her first Wimbledon final since 2009, 7-5, 6-0 with 25 unforced errors.

There's errors, and you can't make them. You can't make them. I went for some big shots and they didn't land


“You can't make them. I went for some big shots and they didn't land. Probably have to make less errors.”

Williams declined to answer a question about her physical fitness. When asked if she was tired in the second set, which she lost in 26 minutes without winning a single game for the first time in 20 Wimbledon appearances, she replied: “She played amazing.” 

On the eve of the 2011 US Open, Williams announced she was diagnosed with the energy-sapping Sjogren’s syndrome, which left her unable to even lift her arms. Although the condition isn’t life-threatening, it can lead to inflammation in muscles and lungs and cause a general feeling of lethargy.

In the years that followed, it wasn’t always easy to watch this proud champion play, as she started losing to lower-ranked opponents she would normally have swatted aside in the early stages of the Grand Slam tournaments.

But Williams persisted, and through sheer willpower and determination has become one of the most consistent players on the women’s tour in the past two seasons. She is the only player to have reached at least the fourth round or better in the last six Slams and also the only one to have reached two Grand Slam finals this year.

Although Williams lost the Australian Open final to her sister Serena, and also came up short against Muguruza, she deserves a huge amount of respect and credit for the fact she has even got to the stage where she is contending for the sport’s biggest titles again.

 “If Venus wins, I think this one might mean more to her than any other one just because of everybody writing her off, no one thinking she could ever continue to play the level that she wanted to play,” David Witt, Williams’ long-time coach, had told The New York Times after she eased past Britain’s Jo Konta in straight sets to reach the Wimbledon title match. 

That's the kind of position I want to keep putting myself in. It's just about getting over the line. I believe I can do that


"It took a lot of effort and what you have to do to get right here today,” Williams said. “So this is where I want to be every single major.”

Williams’ defeat capped an emotional month for the 37-year-old, who had been trying to become the oldest female winner of a major in the Open era. Shortly before the start of The Championships Williams wrote on her Facebook page how a car accident in Florida had left her "devastated and heartbroken."

Speaking only an hour or so after her defeat, Williams was already looking forward to the US Open, which starts in New York at the end of August.

“I'm in good form,” said Williams, who won the season’s final Grand Slam event in 2000 and 2001. “I've been in a position a lot of times this year to contend for big titles. That's the kind of position I want to keep putting myself in. It's just about getting over the line. I believe I can do that.”

With her current form and many of the big hitters such as 23-time Grand Slam winner Serena Williams absent or making comebacks, why wouldn’t she?

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