Players live up to their seedings as Venus sinks to #14
Early exit shocks Venus
by Samantha Lane
Saturday, January 24, 2004</I>
Venus Williams will, in her own words, be a 'tennis tourist' for the rest of Australian Open 2004 after her shock elimination on Day Six of the tournament.
Her straight-sets loss, 6-4 7-6, inflicted at the hands of compatriot Lisa Raymond was an unwelcome return to the Grand Sam circuit following a stomach injury which had sidelined the 23-year-old for six months.
"I'm pretty much in shock. I still can't believe it. But that's the way I feel after every loss - whether I've been off or on or what have you," Williams said after the defeat.
"What I need to do is just put my break behind me and keep moving on with the now and with each match that I play from here, and learn from each one, learn from each one."
Asked whether she was physically 100 percent for the third round match, Williams said: "Yeah, everybody has their issues. Don't really want to get into that. But it was OK."
Williams said she had fully recovered from her stomach complaint, but blamed her performance on sluggish footwork.
"My feet, I couldn't get them to go. My feet were very bad today. Especially at my height, I can't have bad feet and still play well."
Her defeat opens up the bottom half of the women's draw, meaning a woman who has not previously reached the final four of a Grand Slam tournament will at least reach the semi-finals.
Raymond's quarter of the draw also includes Frenchwoman Nathalie Dechy, 15-year-old Tatiana Golovin and one of Patty Schnyder or Paola Suarez.
One of those will play either No.2 seed Kim Clijsters, No.6 seed Anastasia Myskina, No.9 seed Chanda Rubin or No.20 seed Silvia Farina Elia.
It was Williams' worst performance in her fifth Australian Open after she lost the 2003 final to sister Serena.
"I definitely had a lot of high hopes to do well here, and of course ultimately to win. But the best player will, whoever that is. Unfortunately it wasn't me in this fortnight," she said.
Raymond rated the victory as one of her best-ever performances, and credited her doubles partner, champion Martina Navratilova, with enhancing her positive mindset.
"I think for me, just believing, believing that I deserved to be on the court with her and believing that I was able to beat her (assisted me)," Raymond said.
"She's (Navratilova) come to watch me play a couple of times already. And, you know, she just said 'just be brave'. She sent me a text message this morning and said 'just be brave and believe in yourself'."
Meanwhile, Williams is planning to play tournaments in Tokyo, Antwerp and Dubai after a two-week break.
~|~ Justine Henin-Hardenne ~|~ ~|~ Karolina Sprem ~|~ ~|~ Ashley Harkleroad~|~ ~|~ Marissa Irvin ~|~ ~|~ Corina Morariu ~|~ ~|~ Anna Kournikova ~|~ ~|~ Clarisa Fernandez ~|~ ~|~ Flavia Pennetta ~|~ ~|~ Iroda Tulyaganova ~|~ ~|~ Lina Krasnoroutskaya ~|~ ~|~ Denisa Chladkova ~|~ ~|~ Patty Schnyder ~|~ ~|~ Aniko Kapros ~|~ ~|~ Daja Bedanova ~|~ ~|~ Maja Matevzic ~|~ ~|~ Alexandra Stevenson ~|~