WTA Elite Trophy, Zhuhai
Women’s Final: [CR11] Venus Williams (USA) vs. [CR13] Karolina Pliskova (CZE)
Williams was once a prominent fixture in the top ten. For eleven years she ended the year ranked in the top ten and was once ranked as high as number 1. In 2011 Williams saw her ranking plummet outside the top ten for the first time in four years. That was also the year she announced that she was suffering with Sjogren’s Syndrome. Not fully understanding how to manage the symptoms while on tour, Williams began a transition period of mentally and physically making changes to her schedule. During that time she withdrew from matches, had numerous injuries and losses to players she once dominated; however, through it all, Williams maintained her belief that she would get through this. Even when she lost, she calmly smiled and remained determined that she would be back to a more productive form. She was not content to just win a few matches; she wanted to lift trophies at the end of the tournaments.
Many fans, myself included, doubted that she could come back. Not only was she fighting a disease that affects the entire body, leaving her excessively fatigued and aching; she was fighting younger players who are hitting the ball just as hard or even harder than she did in her prime; and, if those two were not daunting enough, she is also fighting the effects of aging. Williams is now 35 years and for a while, that was considered old to be playing tennis. Yet, it now appears that 30 is the new 20. Williams is surprising everyone with her comeback and she is still eager and excited to keep going. Today Williams defeated Pliskova, who is 12 years her junior and serves as big, 7-5, 7-6(6). With this victory Williams is back in the top ten at number 7. What does this mean for her 2016 season? Will this propel her to another Major title in 2016? No matter the answers, it is great to see Williams back in the top ten.