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Venus refuses to give up

NEW YORK (AFP) — Venus Williams brushed off questions about her future on Tuesday after tumbling out of the US Open in the first round.

The 42-year-old, who has barely played in the past year and whose last victory in a singles match came at Wimbledon in 2021, was beaten 6-1, 7-6 (7/5) by Belgium’s Alison van Uytvanck.

It was yet another indication that Williams is fast-approaching the end of her glittering 28-year professional career.

But she said she was not thinking about following in the footsteps of younger sister Serena, who has signalled that this year’s Open will be her last tournament.

The Williams sisters are reuniting for the doubles at Flushing Meadows — their first tournament together since 2018 — and Venus says she is looking no further than that.

“Right now I’m just focused on the doubles,” she replied when asked about her future following Tuesday’s defeat.

Despite losing all four of the singles matches she has now played in 2022, the seven-time Grand Slam champion insisted she was still motivated to compete.

Asked what was driving her to compete at the highest level, she told reporters: “Three letters: W-I-N. That’s it. Very simple.”

Williams also maintained she had taken satisfaction from her performances in recent weeks, which saw her play in Cincinnati, Toronto and Washington DC after a near year-long layoff in which her world ranking plunged to 1,504. She was given a wild card into the New York draw.

“It was definitely the longest time I have been away from tennis and been without a racquet in my hand,” she said.

“So it was a completely new experience for me, getting a racquet back in my hand and trying to acclimate as quick as possible to be ready for the US Open, which was not easy.”

“Definitely, like, playing lots of great points but it’s just, in the end, it’s just rust.”

“So I’m very excited about, you know, all the good moments that I had this summer. I definitely walked out there and did my best under the circumstances.”

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