In Venus Williams’ press conference following her 7-6 (7), 6-4 first round victory over Belgium’s Elise Mertens at Wimbledon, reporters asked the seven-time major champion if she had a comment regarding her involvement in a car crash from June that resulted in the death of 78-year-old Jerome Barson.
“There are really no words to describe, like, how devastating — yeah I’m completely speechless,” Williams said as she struggled to form complete sentences.
Williams, who police say was at fault for the accident and is now facing a wrongful death suit from Barson’s estate, then began sobbing as the press conference was concluded.
Venus Williams got emotional in her Wimbledon press conference when asked about her car accident pic.twitter.com/ROra21j8KY
— Sports Illustrated (@SInow) July 3, 2017
Making her 20th career Wimbledon appearance, Williams fought through a spirited first set effort by the 21-year-old Mertens.
The match marked Williams equalling her sister, Serena, for the most main draw matches played at Wimbledon among active players.
Eventually, the experienced Williams was able to steady herself in the second set. A short rain delay disrupted the 37-year-old’s momentum, but she was able to refocus herself and progress to the next round in straight sets shortly after play resumed.
— Wimbledon (@Wimbledon) July 3, 2017
Williams will play Wang Qiang of China on Wednesday in the Round of 64.