Venus Williams Reveals the Biggest Challenges of Playing During the Pandemic

Published 04/22/2021, 12:00 AM EDT
Venus Williams of the United States celebrates after winning match point in her first round match against Mihaela Buzarnescu of Romania during day two of the 2019 Australian Open at Melbourne Park on January 15, 2019 in Melbourne, Australia. (Photo by Cameron Spencer/Getty Images)


Veteran American tennis star Venus Williams has opened up on the challenges she experienced while playing during the pandemic. She said that the biggest task of all was to process the bulk cancellation of tournaments, including big-ticket events like the Wimbledon and the Tokyo Olympics.

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While the Wimbledon Championships were canceled owing to growing concerns around the pandemic, the Olympics were postponed to this year.

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Venus Williams says processing event cancellations due to the pandemic was difficult

Speaking to Cheddar News, the seven-time Grand Slam champion said that as difficult as it was to accept cancellation of events, playing in the new normal, closed-doors, without spectators et al., hit her like a double whammy.

“The biggest challenge I faced, of course, is tournaments being canceled. The Olympics were canceled, Wimbledon didn’t happen, and then once we were able to come back, the next thing is, no fans,” Venus said.

However, she added that living through trials and tribulations is part of the journey of every sportsperson and one has to take the “ups and downs” on the chin.

“Everyone relates to sports, it just mirrors life so much. We’ve ups and we’ve downs and we have to have the courage to get through them and that’s what athletes do on a daily basis,” the 40-year-old tennis star said.

Tennis – Australian Open – Melbourne Park, Melbourne, Australia, February 10, 2021 Venus Williams of the U.S. in action during her second round match against Italy’s Sara Errani REUTERS/Asanka Brendon Ratnayake

However, she added that what has made this journey tolerable and even enjoyable is the fact that all the stakeholders – players, tournament organizers, the governing body, and fans – have been in it together.

Venus, though, said that it’s been especially difficult to play without crowds as they mean the world for the players. “I’m really looking forward to having fans back,” the five-time Wimbledon champion said.

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To a question on the challenges that she faced preparing for events during the pandemic, the American said that with all the tournaments being shelved or canceled, she didn’t know what surface to prepare for.

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However, Venus added that it’s only a matter of time before people are able to head outdoors without the fear of catching the virus and throng tennis areas in teeming thousands as they did earlier.

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Priyabrata Chowdhury

842 articles

Priyabrata Chowdhury is a tennis author for EssentiallySports. He has been a print journalist for a decade, producing news pages for leading national dailies such as the Hindustan Times and The New Indian Express. His passion for sports eventually drove him to tennis writing.

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