Venus Williams recalled her first Grand Slam semifinal and the maturity she showed at just 17 years old. Williams showed great mental strength in her first Grand Slam semifinal as she beat Irina Spirlea 7-6 4-6 7-6 to set up a Martina Hingis final.
At the time, Williams became the first unseeded player in the Open Era to make the US Open final. "The semifinal got really nasty but I showed real maturity," Williams said in a video uploaded to her YouTube channel, as quoted on Sportskeeda.
"17-year-old me is more mature than whatever age I am now. They didn't show it in the clip, but we bumped into each other during the changeover. Afterwards it just got crazy - my dad said some things, she said some things.
"But I stayed out of it. I don't do drama, I am not a drama queen. I just kept my mouth shut and said, 'Well, she is entitled to her own opinion or whatever.' I was focussed on the tennis. I kept it all about the tennis."
Williams fell just short of winning the US Open
Williams' dream US Open didn't end with a title as Martina Hingis handed the American 6-0 6-4 final. Williams admitted the moment was too big for her. "I could never let go of the nerves in the final," Williams said.
"Also, I did not believe I could win it. I did not know how to win it. I had no experience. Martina was also 17 but she was No. 1 in the world and her level of experience was way beyond mine and she was so talented. "More than anything, it comes down to the belief.
I got more competitive in the second set, but I just did not have the experience. Sometimes, that is all it comes down to. I was never unhappy with myself about this match because these are the moments that you build on. That's what I got out of it."