MELBOURNE, AUSTRALIA—It was inevitable after such an energetic performance in her second-round win over Stefanie Voegele at the Australian Open that Venus Williams would get asked about transcending the generations in tennis.
The 36-year-old, seven-time major winner played the first of her record 73 Grand Slam tournaments at the French Open in 1997. Back then, she got to play against the likes of Steffi Graf and Martina Navratilova.
“It’s an honour and privilege to start that young,” she added, laughing, “and play this old.”
Venus and Serena Williams withdrew from a scheduled first-round doubles match later Wednesday, citing an injury to Venus’ right elbow. The sisters have won 14 Grand Slam doubles titles together, including four at the Australian Open.
Venus Williams put plenty into her second-round singles match, which lasted an hour and 23 minutes.
In the second set, serving and with a game point, she chased the ball like a teenager from one side of the court to the other, and back, trying to finish off. Her forehand landed too long, but her intention was clear. Get through the round ASAP. She won the subsequent two points to hold.
At 15-15 and 5-2 in the second, she was still remonstrating with herself after missing a point. She finished off the match later in the same game, another break, to reach the third round. Williams lost to eventual semifinalist Johanna Konta in the opening round last year.
No. 11 Elina Svitolina had a 6-4, 6-1 win over U.S. qualifier Julia Boserup to advance to a third-round match against No. 24 Anastasia Pavlyuchenkova, a 6-2, 6-2 winner over fellow Russian Natalia Vikhlyantseva .
In another match, Alison Riske beat No. 20 Zhang Shuai 7-6 (7), 4-6, 6-1.
On the men’s side, fifth-ranked Kei Nishikori reached the third round with a 6-3, 6-4, 6-3 win over Jeremy Chardy.