I got killed by the grass – Venus Williams suffers nasty fall in Wimbledon loss

I got killed by the grass – Venus Williams suffers nasty fall in Wimbledon loss

Venus Williams said she was “killed by the grass” after suffering a nasty fall as her emotional Wimbledon return ended in Centre Court defeat to Elina Svitolina.

The 43-year-old, whose first outing at SW19 came in 1997, was absent from the singles draw last year but was handed a wild card into this year’s tournament.

However, the five-time champion did not make it past the opening afternoon as she went down 6-4 6-3 to the Ukrainian having been injured in the opening moments of the match.

She slipped approaching the net in the third game and fell to the ground, shrieking loudly in agony.

It looked like that may be the end of her afternoon, but she was able to carry on, though admitted she was in so much pain she could not focus on the match.

“Grass is inherently going to be slippery. You’re going to fall at some point. It was just bad luck for me,” she said.

“I started the match perfectly. I was literally killing it, then I got killed by the grass.

Venus Williams took a fall during her match against Elina Svitolina
Venus Williams is helped up from the ground as opponent Elina Svitolina brings her a towel (Zac Goodwin/PA)

“It’s not fun right now. I felt like I was in great form coming into this tournament, and great form in the match.

“It’s all very shocking at the moment. This is sports. I’m hitting the ball well.

“Hopefully I can just figure out what’s happening with me and move forward.

“I think what makes this one hard to process is I’ve had so many injuries. I’ve been missing from tour for quite a while. This is not what I want for myself.

“This kind of fall, I didn’t do anything wrong. I just went for the ball. There’s nothing I can really do about it.

“Those kinds of things are hard to process emotionally, mentally and physically on the court.

“I just couldn’t figure it out today. It was just real challenging. I’ve played through a lot of injuries and won a lot of matches injured.

“It’s almost a specialty of mine. I just couldn’t figure it out today.”

Venus Williams waves to the crowd after her first-round defeat
Venus Williams waves to the crowd after her defeat (Zac Goodwin/PA)

It remains to be seen whether this will be her Wimbledon swansong, as it was for her sister Serena 12 months ago, but time is obviously ticking on one of the all-time great tennis careers.

Williams would not commit on whether she would be fit enough to play at the US Open later this summer.

She added: “I’ve got to figure out my next plan. Right now I’m kind of in shock. I just can’t believe this happened. It’s, like, bizarre. I don’t know. I’m still processing it at the moment.”

Svitolina, who is making a return of her own after missing last year’s tournament following the birth of her first child, proved she is still a top-class player and was not going to let Williams off lightly.

But she admits she was fearing the worst when the veteran was screaming in agony.

“She screamed really loud, I was shaken up,” she said. “I was really shocked in a way, because I thought it was really, really serious.

“So I was really happy for her actually that she could stand up after and didn’t take a medical timeout. She just was checking how the knee is. And then we continue playing.

“I was really happy, because it’s such a horrible injury, the knee injury. Any injury is bad, but, you know, she screamed really loud. So I really got scared.”