Venus in tears over crash after first-round win

LONDON — Venus Williams was overcome with emotions in her postmatch news conference Monday following a 7-6 (7), 6-4 win over Elise Mertens in the opening round at Wimbledon.

Asked whether she would like to expand on her feelings following a car crash last month that resulted in the death of 78-year-old Jerome Barson, Williams’ eyes welled up after a quick response and she walked away.

“There are really no words to describe, like, how devastating and — yeah,” Williams said. “I’m completely speechless. It’s just — yeah, I mean, I’m just …”

Williams sat silently, her head in the palm of her hands as she tried to regroup. Moments later, Williams said, “Maybe I should go,” and left the media room.

She later returned to answer a few more questions.

On Friday, Williams released a brief statement on Facebook about the crash.

“I am devastated and heartbroken by this accident,” Williams wrote. “My heartfelt condolences go out to the family and friends of Jerome Barson and I continue to keep them in my thoughts and prayers.”

Williams was not injured in the June 9 crash, but police in Palm Beach Gardens, Florida, found her at fault. The family of Barson has opened a wrongful death lawsuit against Williams.

Playing in her 20th Wimbledon, Williams needed five match points to secure the win. She next plays Wang Qiang in Wednesday’s second-round match.

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