Originally Posted by Mark Newman
I watched the match and it was excellent from start to finish - Venus and Alicia were both fantastic. Why can't Venus hold her hands up and say - Alicia played amazing, dealt with the situation and playing in front of a home crowd well, took it to the Top 10 player and won fair and square. But no, she can barely spit out a compliment:
Q. You were always in the match, weren't you?
VENUS WILLIAMS: Yeah, I definitely didn't produce my best tennis today, that's for sure. It was definitely a match I definitely should have won.
Q. Do you sense a lot of change in her game the last year, two years or so?
VENUS WILLIAMS: Obviously she's playing better. But I just didn't play that well. So normally if I'm playing 5% better, this match is going to be mine. You know, I'll definitely come back in the next tournament, the next event, and I'm definitely going to play better. No doubt.
Guess that's what makes them true stars - cos they are marvellous and infuriating all at once!!!
I agree with you, Mark, at least to a certain extent. First of all, the match has been a very good one. The quality has been quite high throughout the whole match, and that's not been easy to find in women's tennis recently. I knew Alicia had raised her level, I'd seen her play often recently... and she had chances going into this match today, but I was afraid the situation - playing at home, tough opponent, nerves - could have been too much to handle. Instead, Alicia kept her level high, fought hard, stayed focused and confident. And she came out the winner.
As for Venus' comments: her best tennis is probably what earned her Slam titles a few years ago, when she was totally dominating the game for at least half a season a year... and it's true, she's not playing that kind of tennis, right now... but she hasn't for a while, it must be said. I think she has it in herself, and she's definitely been improving, for the little I can see. And this match will probably make her want to work harder and harder.
The 5% consideration... it's been a close match, 7-5, 7-6, and the difference was made by Alicia just when it was needed the most, on the big points... do it's probably true, had Venus played a little better at those times, it could have ended the other way round... still, today she wasn't able to play that 5% better, and I think Mark is right... it would be so much nicer if she had given a little more credit to Alicia, who's pretty much achieved one of her biggest wins ever!
Having said this, loads of respect for BOTH players who've given us tennis fans a great match!!