I wouldnt be so sure to rule Venus out of the winning grand slam equation just yet, certainly not out of the part where she should be at least challenging for them. She already stated one of her goals for mid way through the season was to be top 4 and defend most of her clay points. I saw the Sharapova match and saw some of the old Venus in her. Always a fighter never out of the match til her opponent decides to take the match away from her. Her serve was pretty decent, hit a couple of unreturnables and quite a few aces, thats what had been lacking the past year and a half. Her net game has improved so much, she always had excellent swinging volleys and ber high backhand volleys were always good, her touch has really improved, she rarely loses a point when coming in.
The match really came down to Sharapova capitalizing on Venus' forehand, however Venus hung in there, just an error too many in the end from this wing, but at one point in the match both were playing a very clean game, quite competitive, both were at a +8 or more differential, and thats really big for how big these two were hitting the ball. So we should see what Venus has in store for us at Wimbledon, her favorite tournie I would say and the one that suits her game the most.