April 14, 2024

Open Court


What’s wrong with Venus? The lady won’t say

Venus Williams was basically lobbing her serve in during her 6-3, 6-0 win over Barbora Strycova Wednesday.

No wonder Strycova was so chapped at the end that she fired her racquet over towards her chair before coming up for the handshake. Her opponent was serving roughly at the speed Open Court’s mum can bring it, and she still got bageled.

So clearly there was something wrong.

Williams, who speaks eloquently even when she says nothing, wouldn’t elaborate (which is her right).

We tried, though. Gave her a multiple-choice question. 🙂

Still, no dice.

The match between Williams and young American rival Madison Keys looks great on paper. But if Williams serves the same way tonight, it’s going to be one-way traffic.

Would it be shocking to have Williams pull out before the match? Not really. It was kind of surprising that she came to Montreal in the first place, after a gruelling week in Stanford last week. But as she put it Wednesday, she’s not playing anything after Montreal and the Olympics (which includes Cincinnati) before the US Open, and she knew this was the plan from the beginning of the season. So she’s giving it her all.

Certainly, she has met her commitment just by being here, doing an off-court activity Monday night and winning a match.

When a marquee player comes with question marks for a match, it’s always a gamble for a tournament to schedule them for an evening-session match when, unlike the day session, there aren’t other options for the fans if one match is cancelled or cut short.

Perhaps that’s why they put Venus-Keys first, followed by Bouchard-Kucova. The early match is a lot better for the players’ recovery and sleep patterns, and certainly they want to give her every shot at going as far as she can.

In a pinch, should Venus happen not to be able to go, they could possibly shift Lepchenko-Konta over from the grandstand or – if it came early enough – Kerber-Svitolina could be pushed to 6:30 pm and moved to the stadium.

Let’s hope it doesn’t come to that. But we’ll see early on if Williams has been able to address whatever the issue was during the Strycova match.

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