Venus Williams quiet on her future after first-round exit from US Open

A day after Serena Williams began what is likely to be the final tournament of her tennis career, her older sister, Venus declined to comment on her own future plans following her first‑round defeat by Alison van Uytvanck of Belgium. “Right now I’m just focused on the doubles,” she said.

The elder Williams returned to the US Open with a tough first‑round defeat, losing 6-1, 7-6(5). Williams, a two-time champion here who has won seven grand slam titles overall, took nearly a year away from the tour from August 2021 after withdrawing from last year’s US Open with a leg injury.

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

Williams returned this August with wildcards into pre-US Open events, compiling a 0-4 record. On Tuesday she led by a break in the second set and then was level at 5-5 in the tiebreak before Van Uytvanck took the victory. She will likely return to action on Thursday alongside Serena as they team up together in doubles for what is likely the final time in their careers.

“It was Serena’s idea. She’s the boss, so I do whatever she tells me to do. We have had some great wins. It would be nice to add some more.”

Earlier the Wimbledon champion, Elena Rybakina, was defeated in the first round, losing against the French qualifier Clara Burel 6-4, 6-4. The top seed, Iga Swiatek, moved past Jasmine Paolini 6-3, 6-0 to reach the second round.

The former No 9 Andrea Petkovic announced her retirement from the sport after losing 6-2, 4-6, 6-4 to Belinda Bencic.

In the men’s draw the third seed Carlos Alcaraz reached the second round after his opponent, Sebastián Báez, retired early in the third set as Alcaraz led 7-5, 7-5, 2-0.