Ahead of Wimbledon this year, Venus Williams (re)launched her YouTube channel. Call it a digital grass-court prelude.
Then she took a pair of straight-sets losses, in singles and in mixed doubles alongside Frances Tiafoe. The pair had been viable title contenders. Now she's speaking to her early exit from action at the All England Club this year, namely the solo match.
In the clip, she lets footage and commentary from her ouster at the 15-year-old hands of Coco Gauff speak to that generational factor most directly. She does note that "on any given day, against any given player, any given thing can happen."
She also quotes both Martin Luther King, Jr., and Pierre de Coubertin. The latter was the French founder of the International Olympic Committee, an organization that Venus cherishes for her many experiences and successes over a few Olympic Games.
Clad in a purple EleVen by Venus long-sleeved tee and speaking in direct-address style, Venus regales the camera with tales of her 1997 Wimbledon debut, in part. In that match, she also lost in the first round, in her second-ever major singles event.
"It's normal, it's natural to choke," Venus says. "That's just a part of it, especially when you're first coming on tour, but I was determined to learn from it and to do better. Like, that wasn't my destiny, was to choke out and to fall down. My destiny was to rise."
That 1997 defeat at SW19 came against Magdalena Grzybowska. The promising Polish player would suffer a career-threatening injury within two years, and retired from the sport in 2002 at the age of 24.
Meanwhile, Venus persisted in her court craft. And she persists yet today, more than two decades later.
"I see both results as an opportunity for me to look deep inside myself and find out why," she says to her YouTube audience, "As an opportunity to take responsibility for my life—for God's sakes!—and an opportunity for me to be bigger, be stronger, be more, be greater."
The new, eight-minute clip already had as many views (80,000 and counting) as her first one in the series, posted about two weeks earlier. That's near-exponential growth, given her subscriber base of 7,700 to date.
Venus fans and admirers, as well as media members who know she has far fewer words in press conferences these days, will watch for the series' episode three. Expect a release timed to the US Open in New York, though as Venus remarked, "I'll see you guys next week."