A lot is being made today of Venus’ "uncharacteristic" play last night: she made 45 unforced errors, and blew 10 set point opportunites. But really, this is the Venus Williams we’ve seen over the last couple years at the Open.
Last year, when she played Jelena Jankovic in the quarters, she commited 56 unforced errors, and then hit another 35 in her semifinal loss to Justine Henin. Afterward, everyone was wondering if something was seriously wrong with Venus; her mother, Oracene Williams, made the now-ridiculous seeming claim that her daughter would be checked into the Mayo clinic afterwards.
I caught up with Carlos Fleming, Venus’ agent, before the Open began on the rooftop of the Empire Hotel and he told me she was just exhausted last year–nothing more.
Venus has won seven Grand Slams, but five of them of have been at the grass courts at Wimbledon that suits her game so perfectly–she hasn’t won a hard court major since the 2001 U.S. Open.
Rather than scratching our heads after each sloppy Venus loss at the Open, maybe we should start to wonder if her Wimbledon form is the exception and not the rule.