As Venus Williams prepares to vie for her eighth grand slam title and sixth Wimbledon, she does so with a heavy heart.
Venus was recently in a car accident that killed an elderly man.
According to a report, Venus was found “at fault” in the crash, and she could face legal ramifications.
The daughter of the slain man has filed a wrongful-death suit against Venus.
From the New York Times:
Williams was crossing an intersection in her Toyota S.U.V. in Palm Beach Gardens, Fla., around 1 p.m. on June 9, when, according to a police report, she collided with a car being driven by Linda Barson. Barson’s husband, Jerome, 78, was a passenger in the car, and he died on June 22 from injuries he sustained in the crash.
According to the lawsuit, filed on Thursday and obtained by The New York Times, Linda Barson, 68, also sustained injuries, including “a cracked sternum, shattered right arm, broken wrist, hand and fingers.”
Williams, who arrived in London on Wednesday to prepare for her 20th Wimbledon tournament, made her first public comments about the crash with a post on her Facebook page Friday evening.
Williams wrote that she was “heartbroken by this accident. My heartfelt condolences go out to the family and friends of Jerome Barson and I continue to keep them in my thoughts and prayers.”
The accident happened as Williams’s car was crossing the intersection at about 5 miles per hour and Barson’s car ran into it, the report said. It said Williams was at fault for “violating the right of way” of the other vehicle, although she was not cited. A police spokesman said on Thursday that the accident remained under investigation. Williams was physically unharmed in the crash.
Neither driver was suspected of driving under the influence of alcohol or drugs or of being distracted by electronics or other factors, according to the police report.
Witnesses told investigators that Williams ran a red light just as Barson’s car entered the intersection on a green light.
“The front end of the Hyundai Accent was crushed, the front windshield shattered, the airbags deployed, there was crush damage to the rear on the driver’s side, and the back window was shattered,” the lawsuit said. “The Defendant’s Toyota Sequoia was also severely damaged.”
After a practice session on Friday in London, Williams’s coach, David Witt, said that she arrived in England on Wednesday morning and practiced on Wednesday, Thursday and Friday.
“It’s tough on her, but she’s trying to stay positive and taking it one day at a time,” Witt said of the accident. “She wants to focus on the tennis here.”
Venus hasn’t won a single grand slam since Wimbledon in 2008. Her career seemed to plateau as her younger sister Serena’s continued to rise.
However, Venus has played better this year, reaching the finals at the Australian Open (eventually losing to Serena).
Tennis is one of the most mentally-taxing sports. It’s one-on-one with few breaks and no help from a coach.
Venus is a decorated champion, but it’s tough imagining her blocking out the personal turmoil and making a deep tournament run.