With An Ace And A Smile, Venus Williams Is Back

Venus Williams. The name alone invokes the image of tennis royalty. But Williams’ rich history in American tennis — 43 titles, including seven Grand Slams— was stopped short at last year’s U.S. Open when she announced early in the tournament that she had been diagnosed with the autoimmune disease Sjogren’s syndrome.

In her first competitive singles match back since last August, the tennis world saw a new and invigorated Williams deflate another WTA veteran, Kimiko Date-Krumm, in two easy sets at the Sony Ericsson Open on Wednesday, with a final score of 6-0, 6-3.

If you had seen Williams in practice on Tuesday, the comeback trail might have seemed in doubt. As she sent balls flying across fences, her frustration became visible. But that kind of motivation is perhaps exactly what she needed in order to perform at her best.

After smacking 26 winners and winning 76% of her net points, a smiling Williams was quick to note in her post-match news conference that “just to be in this tournament is a huge win for me. … I wasn’t sure how I was going to come out. I’m always positive, but it’s definitely hard to play the first match.”


Pictured: Venus Williams of the USA in action against  Kimiko Date Krumm during Day 3 of the Sony Ericsson Open at Crandon Park Tennis Center on March 21, 2012 in Key Biscayne, Florida.  (Photo by Al Bello/Getty Images)