Venus Williams accused by fans of ‘acting like a child’ for not shaking umpire’s hand after Wimbledon loss.
Despite receiving a standing ovation as she exited Centre Court, fans criticised the five-time champion’s behaviour after the deciding point on day one in SW19.
The clash against Svitolina was by no means easy for Williams as she went down injured in the third game of the first set.
She slipped and rolled on the court close to the net, holding an already bandaged right knee.
Williams was able to get back up and continue shortly after, but her Ukrainian opponent went on to win the set 6-4.
Svitolina won the second 6-3 and her victory was confirmed after her forehand was initially called out by a line judge before being overturned by a challenge
With disappointment on her face clear to see, Williams looked towards umpire Marija Cicak and shook her head before opting not to shake hands.
She then quickly picked up her tennis bag and towel and made her way off the court, with fans quick to criticise on social media.
On Twitter, one said: “Embarrassing from Venus Williams not shaking hands with the umpire at the end of that match. Wants to play into her fifties but acts like a child. Just retire.”
“Amazing that Venus Williams is still turning out at Wimbledon, though shaking her head at the umpire and no handshake showed a lack of class unbecoming of a champion,” added another.
A third said: “It was amazing to see Venus Williams make another Wimbledon appearance, a shame that she left shaking her head at the umpire and no handshake, embarrassing conduct for a legendary player.”
Williams, who hasn’t won a singles Grand Slam since Wimbledon in 2008, is currently in her 30th year on the WTA Tour and like Svitolina, entered Wimbledon this year as a wildcard.
“Grass is inherently going to be slippery. You’re going to fall at some point. It was just bad luck for me,” she said afterwards.
“I started the match perfectly. I was literally killing it, then I got killed by the grass.
“It’s not fun right now. I felt like I was in great form coming into this tournament, and great form in the match.
“It’s all very shocking at the moment. This is sports. I’m hitting the ball well.
“Hopefully I can just figure out what’s happening with me and move forward.
“I think what makes this one hard to process is I’ve had so many injuries. I’ve been missing from tour for quite a while. This is not what I want for myself.
“This kind of fall, I didn’t do anything wrong. I just went for the ball. There’s nothing I can really do about it.
“Those kinds of things are hard to process emotionally, mentally and physically on the court.
“I just couldn’t figure it out today. It was just real challenging. I’ve played through a lot of injuries and won a lot of matches injured.
“It’s almost a speciality of mine. I just couldn’t figure it out today.”
Talk will turn to how long she will continue playing, with sister Serena playing her last Wimbledon in 2022, but Venus doesn’t appear done yet.
Despite being 43 years of age, a social media message in the lead-up to this year’s tournament hinted that retirement is by no means playing on her mind as of now.
Svitolina, meanwhile, will now face Belgian Elise Mertens in the second round.