Venus Williams Talks Retirement, Murray Avoids Meltdown


Published on November 17 2016 6:32 am
Last Updated on November 17 2016 6:32 am


Historically reticent when it comes to retirement talk, Venus Williams finally opened up about when she might call it a career.

Appearing on the Hallmark Channel's "Home & Family," Williams said she hopes to play long enough for another opportunity at gold: "I'm kind of targeting the next Olympics [Tokyo 2020], and that's in, what, three-and-a-half years ... and I'm not counting!"

Williams, 36, finished this season ranked No. 17 and won one title, in Taiwan. She played surprisingly well at the majors, highlighted by a run to the semifinals at Wimbledon and the fourth round of the US Open.

Despite a lackluster fall, Williams was steadfast in her belief that she can still compete on tour. After a heartbreaking, third-set tiebreaker loss to Karolina Pliskova in New York, Williams spoke of the positives she took from the season.

"Where there's a will, there's a way," she told the press. "I definitely have the will, so I think I will keep finding the way. I feel like I'm going to get more [wins] as the future goes on."

Five years ago, Williams was diagnosed with Sjogren's Syndrome, an autoimmune disorder that causes debilitating joint pain, swelling and numbness. She saw her year-end ranking plummet to No. 103, and Williams was more or less an afterthought on tour.

Still, she refuted any retirement rhetoric and began to play regularly -- with encouraging results. A year ago, she won three titles, her most in a season since her halcyon days in 2008. Williams is a seven-time Grand Slam champion, and her 49 career titles rank ninth all time.

If she does indeed compete on tour until the 2020 Games, she will be 40 years old. She is a four-time Olympic gold medalist (one singles and three doubles with sister Serena). This season, after falling in the first round in singles and doubles in Rio, Williams teamed with Rajeem Ram to win a silver medal in mixed doubles.

Murray Avoids Meltdown in Epic Win

It was a foreboding touch to hear a gong-type noise played on U.K. television coverage as Andy Murray failed to save a fifth set point against Kei Nishikori in an epic 18-minute first-set tiebreaker on Wednesday.

A similar booming sound played over Arthur Ashe Stadium's loudspeakers in September's US Open. After the mysterious noise, Murray melted down in a five-set quarterfinal defeat to Nishikori. But this time, Murray just about regrouped at the World Tour Finals to beat the world No. 5 6-7 (9), 6-4, 6-4.

He still flirted with disaster here. Several times he got wound up into a similar state of agitation as he had in that fourth set at Flushing Meadows; he was distracted throughout, remonstrating with himself and shouting at his box.

"I didn't feel like I was hitting the ball as well as I would have liked," Murray later told a news conference. "He was dictating so many of the points. For me it was frustrating. Didn't matter whether I tried to hit the ball a bit harder, adjusted my position on the court, nothing was making me hit the ball cleaner.

"As the match went on, I was getting kind of frustrated, then becoming like sarcastic with myself that I couldn't seem to hit the ball as clean as I wanted to. Yeah, I don't often do that, but today I was definitely being more sarcastic towards myself than usual."

His frustrations almost cost him dearly when he failed to take two set points at 5-4 in the second set, having already been broken back once. He then needed four games to finally put away Nishikori, after building a 5-1 lead in the decider.

No doubt about it, this was a step up in class for the Scot -- not since his French Open final defeat to Novak Djokovic in June had he faced a top-five opponent.