Tennis legend Venus Williams was eliminated in the first round of the 2022 US Open on Tuesday, falling to 26-year-old Greet Minnen of Belgium in straight sets, 6-1, 6-1.
The 43-year-old Williams, owner of 7 Grand Slam singles titles, was overmatched by Minnen, who was born just weeks before Williams made her first US Open final in 1997. Now ranked 410th in the world, Williams lacked answers for Minnen’s dominant performance.
“There wasn’t a shot she couldn’t make,” said Williams after the loss. “Even when I hit really amazing shots, she just hit a winner or a dropshot. It was just incredible.”
Williams has hinted this US Open could be her last, though she remains noncommittal on retirement plans. “I may reconsider that this year because my year didn’t go the way, in any way, shape or form, that I thought it would go,” she admitted.
After building momentum into Wimbledon, where she also lost in the first round, Williams saw her season derailed by a knee injury suffered at the All England Club.
While she refused to reveal a timeline for retirement, Williams offered high praise for her conqueror, stating Minnen has the talent to reach the top 10 and possibly win a Grand Slam title.
At 24 straight appearances, this US Open marks Williams’ record for most played. She has seen her legendary career wind down in recent years, tending to end seasons after Flushing Meadows.
With her sister Serena also likely nearing the end of her historic career, the window is closing for the Williams sisters who have defined women’s tennis for over two decades.
But for Costa Rican fans, seeing the iconic Venus Williams grace the courts at Arthur Ashe Stadium remains an honor, win or lose. She has inspired generations of tennis aspirants and refugees alike with her talent, determination and advocacy.