Wimbledon 2017: Venus Williams breaks down in tears during interview when asked about fatal car crash

79-year-old Jerome Barson was killed in the crash on 9 June in Palm Beach Gardens, Florida

Mark Critchley
Friday 07 July 2017 10:21 BST
Venus Williams leaves Wimbledon 2017 press conference in tears after 'car crash' questions

Venus Williams broke down in tears during his post-match press conference at Wimbledon on Monday when asked about her involvement in a fatal car crash.

The five-time All England Club champion had previously written that she was “heartbroken” over the incident, which occurred in her hometown Palm Beach Gardens, Florida on 9 June.

Jerome Barson, a 79-year-old man, was hurt in the crash and died from his injuries 13 days later. Barson’s family claim Williams was at fault for the collision and have opened legal proceedings.

When asked about the crash after her opening round win over Belgium’s Elise Mertens on Monday, Williams struggled to describe her feelings.

“There are really no words to describe, like, how devastating and - yeah. I'm completely speechless,” she said.

At that point Williams began to cry and asked to leave the room, but returned shortly afterwards, with the moderator suggesting subsequent questions should focus on tennis.

Highlights from Day 1 of Wimbledon 2017

When a reporter then asked Williams if being back in the tennis fold helped to “heal those wounds you feel at the moment”, she declined to answer the question.

Williams also admitted to missing her sister and reigning Wimbledon champion Serena, who is not competing at the tournament this year as she expects the birth of her first child.

According to Florida police, the 37-year-old was crossing a junction when her vehicle collided with a car being driven by Linda Barson, whose husband, the deceased Jerome, was in the passenger seat.

The couple’s daughter Audrey Gassner-Dunayer filed civil court documents last Friday which alleged that Williams was “driving carelessly and recklessly” which “led to the catastrophic injuries and death of Jerome Barson”.

On Saturday, Williams wrote on her official Facebook page: “I am devasted and heartbroken by this accident. My heartfelt condolences go out to the family and friends of Jerome Barson and I continue to keep them in my thoughts and prayers.”

Additional reporting by PA

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