Tenth-seeded Venus Williams advanced to the second round at Wimbledon on Monday and the American's post-match press conference took an emotional turn after she was asked about the recent fatal car accident in which she was involved.
Following her 7-6 (7), 6-4 win over Elise Mertens of Belgium at the All England Club in London, Williams broke down in tears when questioned about the June 9 car crash that led to the death of the passenger in the other vehicle two weeks later.
Williams wrote on her Facebook page on Friday that she was "devastated and heartbroken by the accident" in Palm Beach Gardens, Fla., that resulted in the death of 78-year-old Jerome Barson.
When asked about the social media post, Venus started to break down.
"There are really no words to describe, like, how devastating and -- yeah," Williams said. "I'm completely speechless. It's just -- yeah, I mean, I'm just ..."
Williams sat silently with her head in the palm of her hands.
"Maybe I should go," Williams said as she left the media room before returning to answer a few additional questions about her match.
Williams was not injured in the Florida crash, but Palm Beach Gardens police found her at fault. The family of Barson has opened a wrongful death lawsuit against Williams.
Police said Williams was going only 5 miles per hour when she entered the intersection. Authorities said there was no evidence that alcohol, drugs or texting while driving were factors in the accident.
The 37-year-old Williams, playing in her 20th Wimbledon, needed five match points to secure the win on Monday.
The five-time Wimbledon champion had to wait through a 33-minute rain delay to win her opening match. When play was stopped, she had two match points in the second set and was leading 5-3.
Mertens held serve to make it 5-4, but Williams served out the match.
Venus will next face China's Qiang Wang, who stopped Kai-Chen Chang of Taipei 6-3, 6-4.
In other women's matches in the grass-court Grand Slam event, second-seeded Simona Halep of Romania and No. 17 American Madison Keys advanced.
Halep beat New Zealander qualifier Marina Erakovic 6-4, 6-1 while Keys defeated Nao Hibino of Japan 6-4, 6-2.
Halep will next face Beatriz Haddad Maia in the second round after the Brazilian defeated Laura Robson of Britain 6-4, 6-2.
The right-handed Keys was playing for the first time since having a second surgery on her left wrist.
"It's obviously not perfect," said Keys, who reached the quarterfinals at Wimbledon in 2015 and the fourth round last year. "I haven't been able to do the repetitions that ideally I would have wanted to do, but it feels fine. Doesn't hurt anymore. That's really all I care about."