Wimbledon: Serena Williams battue pour son retour en simple sur le circuit

Ange Eric Hatangimana

Rémy RUGIRA

Wimbledon (Royaume-Uni) (AFP) – Après un an sans jouer de tournoi en simple, Serena Williams a manqué son retour sur le circuit: à 40 ans, l’Américaine a été battue mardi par la Française Harmony Tan (115e) 7-5, 1-6, 7-6 (10/7) en 3h11 au premier tour de Wimbledon.

Septuple championne du Majeur sur gazon et ex-N.1 mondiale incontestée, Serena Williams, redescendue au 1.204e rang mondial, avait reçu une invitation pour pouvoir entrer dans le tableau principal.

L’an dernier, elle avait quitté le Centre Court en cours de match, victime d’une blessure à une cuisse. Mardi, de retour sur ce même court, elle est allée au bout d’un match décousu au terme duquel elle s’est inclinée.

Serena Williams le 28 juin 2022 sur le Centre Court de Wimbledon lors de sa défaite face à la Française Harmony Tan. Parfois empruntée, pas toujours bien placée, voire un peu perdue sur le court, l’Américaine n’a pas su imposer sur la longueur du match son jeu si puissant et intimidant qui a fait sa force Glyn KIRK AFP/Archives

Parfois empruntée, pas toujours bien placée, voire un peu perdue sur le court, ne sachant pas s’il fallait avancer ou reculer, pas toujours sûre d’elle ni de ses coups, elle n’a pas su imposer sur la longueur du match son jeu si puissant et intimidant qui a fait sa force.

Elle a bien poussé de grands cris pour tenter d’évacuer la pression manifestement énorme qui pesait sur ses épaules, mais il y avait trop de déchet dans son jeu (54 fautes directes contre 28 pour son adversaire).

Harmony Tan célébrant sa victoire contre Serena Williams le 28 juin 2022 au premier tour de Wimbledon. “Je suis si émue que je ne trouve pas les mots, a commenté la Française. Elle est une superstar, je l’ai regardée si souvent à la télévision que pour mon premier Wimbledon, c’est… whaou !” Glyn KIRK AFP/Archives

Alors elle a parfois eu recours à des tentatives d’intimidation, avec des démonstrations particulièrement théâtrales sur quelques points clés comme celui qui lui a offert le break et la possibilité de servir pour le match dans la troisième manche. Mais en vain.

En face, Tan, 24 ans, l’a fait courir autant que possible, en avant, en arrière, sur les côtés.

Williams, visiblement à court physiquement, a terminé exténuée tandis que la Française, qui participait à son premier Wimbledon, n’en revenait pas.

“Je suis si émue que je ne trouve pas les mots… Elle est une superstar, je l’ai regardée si souvent à la télévision que pour mon premier Wimbledon, c’est… whaou !”, a commenté Tan.

Harmony Tan célébrant sa victoire contre Serena Williams le 28 juin 2022 au premier tour de Wimbledon. “Je suis si émue que je ne trouve pas les mots, a commenté la Française. Elle est une superstar, je l’ai regardée si souvent à la télévision que pour mon premier Wimbledon, c’est… whaou !” Glyn KIRK AFP/Archives

“Quand j’ai vu le tirage au sort, j’ai eu très peur. C’est Serena Williams, une légende, je me demandais comment jouer contre elle et je me disais que si déjà je gagnais un ou deux jeux, ce serait super”, a ajouté Harmony Tan, dont la coach, Nathalie Tauziat, aujourd’hui âgée de 54 ans, a affronté Serena Williams sur le circuit.

La Française aurait même pu terminer nu peu plus tôt mais Williams a sauvé la première balle de match à 6-5 dans le troisième set avant d’emmener la partie dans le super-tie break.

L’Américaine s’est alors rapidement détachée 4-0 et semblait se diriger vers une victoire, mais elle n’a pas su conserver son avantage et a fini par s’incliner.

En juillet 2021, blessée à une cuisse, elle avait été contrainte à l’abandon au premier tour face à la Bélarusse Aliaksandra Sasnovich (100e mondiale), alors qu’elle était au 8e rang de la WTA.

Elle avait repris la compétition à la surprise générale la semaine dernière en double à Eastbourne, associée à la Tunisienne Ons Jabeur (alors 3e mondiale en simple). Le duo avait gagné ses deux premiers matchs avant de déclaré forfait pour la demi-finale, en raison d’une blessure de Jabeur à un genou.

source: RFI

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