Venus Williams of the US (L) shakes hands with Coco Vandeweghe of the US after winning their women’s singles semi-final match on day 11 of the Australian Open tennis tournament in Melbourne on January 26, 2017. / AFP PHOTO / WILLIAM WEST /
Coco Vandeweghe revealed her crushing disappointment Thursday at missing out on her first Grand Slam final and said she still wasn’t satisfied despite reaching the Australian Open’s last four.
The unseeded American took a one-set lead before was sent packing by the vastly experienced Venus Williams, who rolled back the years to win their semi-final 6-7 (3/7), 6-2, 6-3.
Despite the loss, it was Vandeweghe’s best Grand Slam yet with wins over world number one Angelique Kerber, French Open champion Garbine Muguruza and 2014 semi-finalist Eugenie Bouchard.
“Straight after the match I was pretty upset. I had a feel-sorry-for myself moment,” the 25-year-old said, calling her loss from one set up a “missed opportunity”.
“But what made me feel a lot better was when my team came over when I was in the gym sitting by myself, they came over, gave me a big hug.
“Each and every one of them told me how proud they were of how I competed out there and everything like that.
“So that kind of picked me up and made the situation feel a lot better. But I was very disappointed and upset.”
Before her run to the semi-final in Melbourne, Vandeweghe had only ever been to one Grand Slam quarter-final before, at Wimbledon in 2015.
She had earned a reputation for inconsistency, finishing last season with a whimper as she lost seven of her last 10 matches.
But she has been in brilliant form so far this year with her booming serve and phenomenal groundstrokes suited to the fast and hard courts of the Australian Open.
Making the semi-finals has already surpassed the goal she set for 2017. She is also set to move up to 20 in the world from her current 35, another target for this year.
“I have to actually set two new goals for this year because I achieved two of them in this first tournament,” she said.
“I’m very happy with starting the year this way, putting validation to the hard work that I’ve put in the off-season, the sacrifices, all the good stuff like that.
“But, you know, at the same time I’m not satisfied. I mean, there’s a disappointment factor because I’m not satisfied. I think that’s a good thing.”
Vandeweghe also paid tribute to Williams, a Fed Cup team-mate who is through to her first Grand Slam final since 2009 at the age of 36.
“I think Venus is an unbelievable competitor. Putting age aside, age is just a number. For her to be the great champion that she is is a great accomplishment,” she said.
“It doesn’t matter if she’s 36 or 18 or anything like that. For me, I appreciate her as an athlete, as a competitor.”