US legend bids for Olympic swansong

Venus Williams, the legendary US five-time Wimbledon champion, was a late withdrawal from the Nottingham Open that will undoubtedly have disappointed her legion of fans.

But the ten-time Grand Slam winner, who is likely to announce her retirement after this summer’s Olympics in Japan, is expected to compete at the All England Club in London.

Williams, who was due to make her debut at the Nottingham Open after being beaten in the French Open opening round at both Singles and Doubles, has rarely played at the English Wimbledon warm-up events. Yet she did make an impact at both Birmingham’s Edgbaston Priory Club and Eastbourne’s Devonshire Park on her handful of appearances.

The 40-year-old has been stuck on 49 WTA Tour Singles titles for five years. With her inability to string together back-to-back wins on the circuit it really would take a miracle for her to ever capture another crown, especially as she languishes outside the top 100.

Williams sadly appears only a shadow of the player who enjoyed such a highly productive campaign as recently as 2017, when she raced into the finals at both the Australian Open and Wimbledon.

Yet Williams’ swansong is not expected to be Wimbledon but the Games in Toyko. The veteran could still be named in the US Tennis Team for Doubles and Mixed Doubles in Japan.

Yet the Florida-based legend partnered US compatriot Cori “Coco” Gauff in the Ladies Doubles at the French Open, where they bowed out at the first hurdle.

Since Williams was swept aside on Wimbledon Centre Court in 2019 by teenage sensation Gauff, who was just 15 at the time, the iconic figure has drifted from WTA tournament to tournament and severely lacks the killer instinct that used to make her one of the most feared opponents on the circuit.

The curtain on Williams’ illustrious career, having scooped seven Grand Slam Singles crowns, is likely to come crashing down at SW19 despite being a fans’ favourite although she will be setting her heart on making the Olympics her grand finale.