It wasn’t a great start to the 2022 US Open for Venus Williams, who now has only the women’s doubles tournament to look forward to.
The 42-year old didn’t say whether she would retire after she was eliminated in the first-round of the US Open playing on Arthur Ashe Tuesday afternoon; telling reporters that she’s ‘just focused on the doubles.’
Williams, a back-to-back US Open champion who made the tournament via wild-card entry, fell to the world’s 49th ranked player Alison Van Uytvanck of Belgium by a score of 1-6, 6-7 (5-7).
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It was her first Grand Slam singles event since Wimbledon in 2021 and her first time in Flushing Meadows since 2020. She also hadn’t played in a women’s singles event this season until the Citi Open in Washington, D.C. back in late-July.
Venus Williams did not say if this would be her last singles tournament after losing Tuesday
The former US Open winner fell in straight sets to Alison Van Uytvanck in Flushing Meadows
‘It was definitely the longest time I have been away from tennis and been without a racquet in my hand,’ Venus said after the loss.
‘So it was a completely new experience for me, trying to acclimate as quick as possible to be ready for the U.S. Open. Definitely, played lots of great points today but it’s just, in the end, it’s just rust.
‘There is nothing you can do about that except for, you know, not be rusty at some point. … I definitely walked out there and did my best under the circumstances.’
It marked her 23rd year of playing in Flushing Meadows, but she hasn’t had the impact she used to. After making at least the semifinals in the tournament from 1997-2002, Venus hasn’t made a final since ’02 and last made the semifinals in 2017.
Venus quickly left the court following her loss as the tennis icon prepares for the doubles tournament with her sister.
Venus – whose world ranking is down to 1,504th – hasn’t made it past the first round in the US Open since 2019, when she won only one match.
She fell in the 2020 US Open first round to 20th seed Karolina Muchova and was absent from the 2021 tournament.
The Williams sisters will continue their doubles career at this tournament, playing together in a Grand Slam tournament for the first time since the 2018 French Open.
Venus told reporters it was Serena’s idea to play doubles in Queens this tournament, jokingly adding, ‘she’s the boss, so I do whatever she tells me to do.’
The pair haven’t played together at Flushing Meadows since 2014, when they reached the quarterfinals before falling to Russian duo and eventual winners Ekaterina Makarova and Elena Vesnina.
Venus and Serena are undefeated in doubles finals of Grand Slam tournaments, with the most recent win coming in 2016 on Centre Court at Wimbledon.
The sisters take on Linda Noskova and Lucie Hradecka of the Czech Republic on September 1st.
The Williams sisters have won every doubles Grand Slam final they’ve played together