A day after Serena’s shock 4-6, 7-6 (5), 6-3 loss to the 11th ranked Virginie Razzano, which also happened to be her first first-round loss at a Grand Slam, Venus bowed out too with a brief 6-2, 6-3 loss to world number 3 Agnieszka Radwanska.
Despite entering the tournament with a total of 54 wins to her name, expectations were not high for the former world number 1 following her recent battle with Sjogren’s syndrome. This condition, which causes joint pain and fatigue, was certainly evident in today’s match as Venus looked sluggish and tired and simply wasn’t able to withstand the pressure that the 23-yeard old Polish player Radwanska placed on her on court. Although 2012 was billed as her comeback tour, questions are beginning to be asked about whether the 31-year old will ever return to her former championship winning state.
Serena, too, hasn’t been without her challenging setbacks this year although they can perhaps be attributed to Olympic gold medallist’s emotional state rather than physical. Williams revealed in an interview last month that she’s suffered her fair share of heartbreak in a recent relationship, and it’s possible that this is now starting to take its toll on her on-court. In addition to the poor result of her match against Razzano, Serena was visibly miserable and out of sorts on court, making the match particularly difficult for some to watch. Although she has admitted that she has a bit of love hate relationship with tennis – she told reporters at the Brisbane International earlier in the year that “I can’t live without it — there’s a difference between not loving something and not being able to live without it” – it has never been more apparent than it was this week at the clay courts in Paris.
So, with big physical and emotional hurdles in front of these two players, will they actually get back on form this season and start rounding up those Grand Slam trophies that are within their reach? We’ve seen them both make comebacks before, but whether they’re able to pull it off again remains to be seen.