VENUS WILLIAMS is one of the greatest tennis players of all time and a five-time Wimbledon champion.
And now aged 43, the veteran superstar is still going strong with her first top-20 win in four years.
ReutersVenus Williams was considering his future before a taxi driver’s mistake[/caption]
However, her latest comeback from injury was inspired by a freak incident involving a blundering taxi driver in Paris.
Williams tore her hamstring in Auckland in January in her latest in a long line of physical setbacks.
This one, though, threatened to derail her incredible tennis career for good.
Williams took a two-month mental break before even beginning her physio rehab.
But then a trip to France changed her mind.
Williams revealed the driver took a wrong turn and ended up driving past Roland Garros, the home of the French Open.
And the 2002 finalist decided in that moment to make her own change of direction – getting herself fit enough to practise at Wimbledon’s indoor courts.
Williams said at Cincinnati last week: “I was in Paris, and I literally was digging up a racquet.
“Serena has a place there, and I looked and looked and looked and looked, and I finally found a racquet.
“I found her shoes. Her shoes had the soles taken out. I’m in these shoes. They’re too big, with one racket, and I’m trying to find string. I’m like, ‘OK, I’m ready to do my rehab again.’”
Williams received a wildcard for Wimbledon but the 2000, 2001, 2005, 2007 and 2008 champion lost in the first round to Ukrainian Elina Svitolina after a nasty fall in the first set.
The American great yelped in pain as she fell on the Centre Court grass, in similar fashion to her sister Serena in 2021, and then refused to shake the umpire’s hand after a controversial call on match point.
Williams earned that big win over No14 seed Veronika Kudermetova last Monday then lost in three sets to China’s Qinwen Zheng.
The Californian was due to face 16-year-old sensation Mirra Andreeva in Cleveland – but pulled out beforehand with a knee injury.
And she is hoping to get back to fitness to take to the court as a wildcard in the US Open next week, 26 years on from her runner-up result on debut in 1997.
Two-time Flushing Meadows winner Venus said: “Unfortunately, my knee is just not acting right. It’s just not supporting me being on the court right now.
“It’s such a bummer but I’m going to work on myself, try to get myself together, so that way I can be at the US Open, and also, hopefully, come and play Cleveland next year.
“I’m so sorry that I’m not going to be able to make it to Cleveland. I love the fans in the Midwest. You guys are awesome.
“I love you, sending all my love. I’m so sorry. And I’ll see you next time.”
Williams suffered an injury during her first-round loss at WimbledonRichard Pelham / The Sun
AP:Associated PressVenus beat Serena to win her second US Open title in 2001[/caption]