Venus Williams

Top 10 Greatest Hits of 2012 – NUMBER 6

Number 6:  The Doubles Victory at Wimbledon (July 7, 2012)

I have always loved Wimbledon, but 2012 was a rollercoaster of emotional ups and downs for me. It was one of the most challenging tournaments I have ever played in, but also one of my most cherished victories.

Serena and I hadn’t played doubles in a year but we knew we had to play to get ready for the Olympics. I was tired from the clay court season and my game was falling part. I lost in the first round of singles and that was pretty tough to recover from and get my head together for doubles. I knew I wasn’t playing well but I didn’t know how to handle it.

I was constantly struggling to put my return serve in. At first, I thought something was wrong with my racquet. I tried restringing it, then I tried a different grip, then I switched racquets, but I just couldn’t hit the ball right. I couldn’t feel it. I struggled that whole tournament with the return. We were down 4-1 in the third and I felt like it was my fault. Eventually I figured out that that my hand was swelling so much that I couldn’t really feel the ball. It felt like the racquet was vibrating when I would hit the ball. My hands are always swollen to some degree (that is a symptom of my condition,) but this was getting extreme.

I started getting a special type of gentle massage before every match, which moves the fluid out of my hands. It helped a lot. I got the feeling back and I could hit the ball more normally. It was a big breakthrough for me and I was able to get back to contributing to our victories.

That doubles gold means a lot to me for a couple reasons: One, Serena and I were defending it from when we took the title in 2010 (we didn’t compete in 2011,) and secondly, to win with your sister is such a great feeling. As an added bonus, Serena won the singles tournament about five hours before we won the doubles title. It was a good day for the Williams family.

After I lost in singles, a lot of the media was talking about where my career was going, and not in a good way. People have been wondering where my career is going my whole life, so it didn’t bum me out. I play tennis for me not for anyone else. And honestly, it felt awesome to prove that some people are full of smoke. I had a tough day but I bounced back and won doubles. The “in-your-face” thing felt good. Did it shut some mouths? I don’t know. I’ve learned that they never shut all the way.