Tennis pro extraordinaire Venus Williams (pictured) went up against Russian rival Elena Vesnina, 25, on Monday and lost during the first round of the women’s singles match at the All England Lawn Tennis Championships at Wimbledon, England, reports the Los Angeles Times.
Williams, who is a five-time Wimbledon champion, experienced for the first time since her debut at the tournament in 1997 the bitter taste of a first-round defeat. Vesnina, a doubles expert who reached the fourth round at Wimbledon three years ago, beat Williams in straight sets in a 6-1, 6-3 defeat in an hour and fifteen minutes.
Watch the match here:
According to some spectators, Williams looked listless while trying to keep up her competitive edge against Vesnina. Since being diagnosed last year with the little-known autoimmune disorder Sjögren’ssyndrome (pronounced show-grens), which saps not only energy levels but is also commonly accompanied by joint pain, Williams has been placed under a microscope.
Over the last year, the 32-year-old has been criticized for looking glum and lacking verve on the court. Williams’ world rankings has fallen to 58th since being diagnosed with the disorder.
All is not lost for Williams, though: She will join sister and fellow tennis-pro Serena in a game of doubles at the tournament. She is also expected to be back in London in about a month to compete in the Summer Olympics.
As far as losing at Wimbledon on Monday, Williams is keeping her head to the sky, telling ESPN, “I don’t have time to feel sorry for myself,” she said. “I’m not going to give up on it. … There’s no way I’m going to just sit down and give up just because I have a hard time the first five or six tournaments back. That’s just not me.”