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post #1 of 36 (permalink) Old Jun 2nd, 2004, 06:23 AM Thread Starter
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Venus: "I Couldn't Focus"

By Greg Garber
ESPN.com

PARIS -- It was merely a single point among 120, but it revealed Venus Williams' tenuous state of mind.



At one point, Venus Williams said, indecision forced an error.



Anastasia Myskina had just stroked a ball that was hurtling on the fly past Williams, who was standing just behind the baseline. Williams reached down, almost absent-mindedly, and backhanded the ball -- headed at least two or three feet long -- all the way over Myskina's baseline. Venus, what happened?



"I couldn't decide," she said later. "So when in doubt, you have to hit it."



Indecision and doubt -- not the things you want running through your brain when you're in a Grand Slam quarterfinal -- especially for a ball that was clearly out.



And that's where Venus and her younger sister Serena find themselves with respect to the 2004 French Open.



"We're going to pack our bags and leave," Venus said. "There's nothing left for us here anymore."



Minutes after Jennifer Capriati had knocked Serena, the No. 2 seed out of the tournament 6-3, 2-6, 6-3, Myskina took out No. 4-seeded Venus, 6-3, 6-4. It was the first time in their careers that the sisters lost on the same day.



And it isn't often that you will see the sisters drawn and quartered before they reach the semifinals. The last time they both played a Grand Slam event and one of them failed to make at least the semifinals was the 2001 French Open. Certainly, clay does not become their powerful games, but they both reached the 2002 final here, with Serena winning the title.



Venus was in the second set with Myskina on Court Suzanne Lenglen when Serena lost to Capriati on Court Philippe Chatrier. Did she see the score?



"I try not to look at the scoreboard," Venus said, who seemed close to tears.



So she didn't see the score?



"That didn't mean I didn't, no," she said, smiling.



What?



"I saw the score periodically, but I tried to pretty much focus on my match," she said.



"Even I couldn't focus enough today."



Precisely.



Before she sprained her ankle in the semifinals at Hamburg three weeks ago, Venus was the favorite for the French title. She won on the clay in Charleston and Warsaw, but defaulted before her German Open final with Mauresmo. Before the tournament began, Venus -- who missed five months last year with a torn abdominal muscle that she played with here at the French and at Wimbledon -- admitted the ankle still bothered her and left her tentative in her footing. Serena, who missed eight months following knee surgery, was physically healthier but hadn't played many matches.



"I think both of us would have liked to have had a better preparation for the event," Venus said. "I feel like I was fortunate that I was able to play because I had so many issues before. It's a shame that two years in a row I've had these conditions.



"Absolutely, I don't think she beat me today. Normally, against this kind of game, I'm going to really do well against her because she couldn't really hurt me."



Venus' ankle didn't seem to be a factor in her first four matches, all straight-sets affairs, leaving her with a streak of 19 consecutive wins on clay. Myskina, who had lost both previous matches against her, was not impressed. It was 4-0 before Williams broke Myskina's serve to climb temporarily back into the match.



Myskina, an exotic-looking Russian with a cool demeanor, never wavered. She held her last two serves to take the first set and broke Williams at 3-all in the second for the decisive advantage.



To underline Myskina's accomplishment: consider that Williams has been to a dozen Grand Slam semifinals, while this was the 22-year-old's first. Her best previous results were quarterfinal appearances in last year's Australian Open and U.S. Open and this year's Australian Open.



"I think Venus not really right now in her best level," Myskina said. "I knew that I can beat her. Usually, Venus like to make winners; today was much more unforced errors."



Myskina had 13 unforced errors, while Williams had 43.



The Williamses, for their part, head home for Florida. They have three weeks to prepare for Wimbledon, where they both reached the final last year.



The inactivity due to her abdominal injury dropped Venus out of the top 10 last season for the first time since 1998. And now Serena, due to her long period of inactivity, will fall out for the first time since 1999.



"For me, losing matches is not normal," Venus said. "So I'll just move on to the next tournament and get back to what's normal for me, which is winning matches."



Greg Garber is a senior writer for ESPN.com.
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post #2 of 36 (permalink) Old Jun 2nd, 2004, 06:26 AM
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"Absolutely, I don't think she beat me today.''



Venus

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post #3 of 36 (permalink) Old Jun 2nd, 2004, 06:27 AM
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But seriously, can't she give Anastasia some credit? It's not like Myskina didn't have a say in the outcome..
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post #4 of 36 (permalink) Old Jun 2nd, 2004, 06:30 AM
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venus yes, hon, she BEAT you. she withstood all you had and gave it back in spades and you could not handle it. so, yes, she BEAT you!
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post #5 of 36 (permalink) Old Jun 2nd, 2004, 06:30 AM Thread Starter
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It's all truth. And normally Venus gives players credit.
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post #6 of 36 (permalink) Old Jun 2nd, 2004, 06:30 AM
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It's not out of the realm of possiblity that people can beat themselves by not doing what they need to do. Venus didn't do that, she's saying as much. Doesn't mean Myskina didn't play well, and I don't think Venus means it in that way. If Myskina beats Venus on the same level that Myskina is playing, Venus can say Myskina beat her. But if Venus is playing like crap because of her own issues, then it's logical to state that Venus helped beat herself. Nothing hard about that
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post #7 of 36 (permalink) Old Jun 2nd, 2004, 06:38 AM
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Venus gives it to you straight up, that was a great article, and i wish the sisters the best of luck at wimbledon, and like 09 said, she usually gives her opponents credit, but she knew she should have won this match, but she couldnt find a rhythm and she made 40 something errors
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post #8 of 36 (permalink) Old Jun 2nd, 2004, 07:02 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by RussianRule
But seriously, can't she give Anastasia some credit? It's not like Myskina didn't have a say in the outcome..
We don't know if she did or didn't this isn't her entire interview after the match.
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post #9 of 36 (permalink) Old Jun 2nd, 2004, 07:08 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by tennisIlove09
Myskina, an exotic-looking Russian with a cool demeanor,


Anyways Venus did really beat herself just like last years French Open...but credit to Myskina for simply putting the ball over the net , of course she played better than Venus...she got more balls in!!!



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post #10 of 36 (permalink) Old Jun 2nd, 2004, 09:32 AM
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I agree with Venus, Myskina didnīt beat her.

When I was watching this match I though, Gosh, Myskina is playing so conservative, just returning the ball in. And Venus didn't move well, didn't hit well either.

VENUS WILLIAMS
SERENA WILLIAMS
PAULA ORMAECHEA
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post #11 of 36 (permalink) Old Jun 2nd, 2004, 09:42 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by RussianRule
"Absolutely, I don't think she beat me today.''

Venus

That should have been said by Myskina : I didn't beat her today. And Nastya did.
Venus didn't mention Myskina

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post #12 of 36 (permalink) Old Jun 2nd, 2004, 09:44 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by LucasArg
I agree with Venus, Myskina didnīt beat her.

When I was watching this match I though, Gosh, Myskina is playing so conservative, just returning the ball in. And Venus didn't move well, didn't hit well either.
All the other players in her case say " she was playing wil a lot less errors than me today" , or similar... She said the truth, but this truth is icky.

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post #13 of 36 (permalink) Old Jun 2nd, 2004, 09:51 AM
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both Williams are pathetic when they have just lost a match excuses excuses excuses
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post #14 of 36 (permalink) Old Jun 2nd, 2004, 10:59 AM
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I saw the end of the match, and I have to tell that Myskina wasn't doing anything : Myskina wasn't even running, she was walking and just trying to put the ball in ! Her match against Chladkova was a lot lot lot lot more great to watch.
On the other hand, Venus was clearly hitting it and trying to move Myskina ! But she made too many UE !

Of course, Myskina's horrible way of playing shouldn't have disturbed Venus, but yesterday it did ! But, Myskina definitely didn't beat her !

There was a great difference yesterday between Myskina who was only waiting for Venus to do the error and Dementieva who defintely did everything to beat Mauresmo !
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post #15 of 36 (permalink) Old Jun 2nd, 2004, 11:20 AM
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Saying Venus should have won because Myskina didn't do anything with the ball is bs. Why should Myskina do anything with the ball if her opponent makes the mistakes? For Myskina is was like playing a 70-ranked player, just play on the save side. Myskina HAD a gameplan before she got on court, she just didn't have to use because after the first stroke of her gameplan, Venus already mist! Who knows against a healthy Venus her gameplan would have been succes (I still believe Venus would have won, but that's beside the point).
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