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ATHENS 2004

Williams, Rubin Beaten in Doubles

August 17, 2004|Bill Dwyre

ATHENS — There will be no repeat gold medal -- or any medal -- for Venus Williams in Olympic doubles, a result that left her not only beaten but testy Monday night.

The title she won with her sister, Serena, in Sydney will go to another doubles team after she and Chanda Rubin, a late substitute for the injured Serena, lost in the first round to Li Ting and Sun Tian Tian of China, 7-5, 1-6, 6-3. The Li-Sun team, seeded eighth, won after Williams floated a forehand volley long on break point at 3-4 of the third set, then netted a return of serve on match point.

Even though Williams and Rubin had never played doubles together and weren't expected to go all the way for the U.S. team, the defeat to the little-known Chinese team, brought a sulking reaction from Williams. Williams had never played doubles as a pro with anyone but her sister, and when a reporter asked, "Inevitably, people are going to say, 'Was Venus missing Serena? Was that a part of the defeat?' " Williams replied, "Was that why you called me in here, to ask me that? Is that why the press conference was called, so you could ask me that? I'm here playing for the USA. I love playing with Chanda Rubin. That's not even part of the equation."

Then, asked why it was annoying to be asked about her sister, she replied, "I'll tell you why it is annoying tonight, because it is really late. [The news conference started at 11 p.m.] I just feel like we were called in here so someone could ask that question. Other than that, I normally get questions about my sister."

The day was better for most other Americans. Andy Roddick and Mardy Fish lost in doubles, but the top U.S. team, Bob and Mike Bryan, won easily, and Taylor Dent, Vince Spadea and Lisa Raymond advanced in singles.

-- Bill Dwyre

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