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Page last updated at 22:23 GMT, Monday, 27 June 2011 23:23 UK

Wimbledon 2011: Lindsay Davenport & Tracy Austin on the Williams sisters

Serena Williams and Marion Bartoli

Serena slain by battling Bartoli (UK only)

There was a double shock at Wimbledon as both Serena and Venus Williams bowed out of the tournament at the fourth-round stage.

The two sisters have won nine out of the last 11 ladies' singles titles at SW19, but injury and illness meant that they both came into the event way short of match practice.

After battling through the opening three rounds they were both sent tumbling out of the tournament in straight sets - Serena to Marion Bartoli and Venus to Tsvetana Pironkova.

It is the first time that they have each lost a singles match at Wimbledon on the same day.

Lindsay Davenport, who faced both sisters many times in her career, analyses what went wrong with Serena, while two-time US Open winner Tracy Austin casts her expert opinion on Venus' exit.


By Lindsay Davenport
1999 Wimbledon champion

M Bartoli (Fr) (9) beat S Williams (US) (7) 6-3 7-6 (8-6)

Reaching the fourth round is pretty good considering what Serena Williams has been through in the last 12 months.

Logically it made sense for Serena to go out at this stage as her rust and lack of action after such an lengthy absence was really apparent.

Not only that, she was up against a player in Marion Bartoli, who was playing extremely well and wasn't intimidated by the match, the opponent or the circumstance.

No matter how much Serena tried it was clear she is not back to her best level yet and it was obvious that when she came up against a top player like Bartoli she may be exposed and that was the case.

I don't think this is quite the end of an era yet

Lindsay Davenport

I thought she was just a tad slow. You expect Serena to be explosive and she just seemed to be reacting rather than being proactive around the court.

She had practised for just 28 days before arriving at Wimbledon and if it had been any other tournament she wouldn't have come. She made the exception to play here and it won't take her long to get over the loss.

Next year is a massive one for both the Williams sisters if they can stay injury-free. Serena is nearly 30 and Venus has just turned 31, so time is not on their side. Serena has got a little bit more of a spring in her step but we will only be able to make an educated guess on their futures in three to six months time.

Serena Williams

Serena devastated at exit

I don't think this is quite the end of an era yet.

I don't think it would have been embarrassing for the women's game if either of the Williams sisters had been able to come back with little or no match practice and win the ladies' title.

They are two of the greatest champions we have ever seen and when you are a true legend of the game you are a level above and have the ability to pick up where you left off.

They can both leave Wimbledon with their heads held high.


By Tracy Austin
Two-time US Open champion

T Pironkova (Bul) (32) beat V Williams (US) (23) 6-2 6-3

You can't play 12 matches in 12 months and then expect to come out and expect to be on your 'A' game.

And it didn't help that Venus Williams really had a bad day at the office against Tsvetana Pironkova.

I liked her effort, she really looked like she was trying to find it and get the rhythm back. However, she got into points too quickly, tried to go too big and made a ton of unforced errors.

Venus really had a bad day at the office (UK only)

Tracy Austin

Her first serve percentage was high so that wasn't the problem, she just hasn't had enough time in my opinion. Three matches at Eastbourne in the build-up to Wimbledon was not enough for her to feel comfortable enough out there.

Also Pironkova did a wonderful job of dictating play and staying so composed in a scenario she isn't really used to playing in.

What made it fun about both their comebacks is that we just didn't know how quickly they could get their game together.

We have seen them get it together very quickly before after injuries and win tournaments, but it didn't happen today. It's just a case of Venus and Serena needing more practice.

Venus Williams

I was not intimidated insists Venus

I've heard a lot of people say it would have been bad for women's tennis if they had come back and won, but they are true legends of the game so it certainly wouldn't have been an insult. It is great for tennis that they were back.

It is most definitely not the end of an era, they just didn't have enough time. They are still hungry and there are more grand slams to come, especially for Venus here at Wimbledon as this is where she seems to shine.

It was a big day for women's tennis, but this is the beginning of both of their comebacks.

Lindsay and Tracy were talking to BBC Sport's Paul Birch

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see also
Williams sisters make shock exits
27 Jun 11 |  Tennis
Improving Serena powers through
25 Jun 11 |  Tennis
Emotional Serena battles through
22 Jun 11 |  Tennis
Serena battles to three-set win
24 Jun 11 |  Tennis
Venus through after epic battle
22 Jun 11 |  Tennis
Venus overcomes Amanmuradova test
20 Jun 11 |  Tennis

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