Venus Williams breaks down in tears during Wimbledon presser over deadly crash: 'I'm completely speechless'

LONDON, July 3 (Reuters) - Venus Williams broke down in tears during her post-match news conference at Wimbledon on Monday when asked about a recent motoring incident she was involved in, which led to the death of a 78 year old Florida man.

Williams, who won her first-round match against Belgian Elise Mertens in straight sets, was asked about her feelings regarding the incident.

"There are really no words to describe, like, how devastating and...yeah. I'm completely speechless. It's just - yeah, I mean, I'm just," said the American before breaking down in tears and leaving the room.

The five-times Wimbledon champion returned shortly afterwards to finish off the compulsory media briefing.

News of the fatal incident near her home in Palm Beach Gardens surfaced on Thursday.

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SAINT PETERSBURG, RUSSIA - FEBRUARY 02: Venus Williams of the U.S. returns the ball to Kristina Mladenovic of France during the St. Petersburg Ladies Trophy-2017 tennis tournament match on February 2, 2017 in Saint Petersburg, Russia. (Photo by Il'ja Smirnov/Kommersant via Getty Images)
Tennis prodigy Venus Williams, 14 , of Pompano Beach, Florida, waits to take the court in Oakland, October 27. She will make her professional debut at the WTA Tour tournament in Oakland, on October 31, taking advantage of a soon-to-be defunct rule that admits 14-year-olds to the pro ranks
Venus Williams of the United States backhands a second set volley with Martina Hingis of Switzerland on March 23 during the third round of the Lipton Championships. Williams lost to Hingis in straight sets 6-4 6-2. SPORT TENNIS
Venus Williams (L) of the United States and sister Serena Williams laugh as they celebrate their doubles win at the U.S. Open in Flushing Meadows September 12, 1999. The Williams sisters defeated Sandrine Testud of France and Chandra Rubin of the United States 4-6 6-1 6-4 to win the title. PJ
Venus Williams of the USA smiles after winning her match against Tamarine Tanasugarn of Thailand at the French Open at Roland Garros stadium June 1st. Venus Williams won 6-2 6-2. JCK/WS
Venus Williams of the US is all smiles as she poses for photographers with the trophy after defeating [Lindsay Davenport] in the final, July 8. Williams won the match 6-3 7-6 to take the title.
Venus Williams of the United States returns to Nathalie Tauziat of France during their match at the U.S. Open in New York September 5, 2000. PJ/SV
U.S. second world ranking tennis player Venus Williams flashes a smile as she holds up the trophy after winning the final against her compatriot Meghann Shaughnessy at the "Betty Barclay Cup 2001" in Hamburg May 6, 2001. Williams won in straight sets 6-3 6-0. CHA/CRB
Venus Williams of the U.S.A. reacts after winning her third round match against Slovakia's Daniela Hantuchova at the Australian Open in Melbourne January 18, 2002. Williams won in three sets 3-6 6-0 6-4. REUTERS/Mark Baker MDB/RCS
Venus Williams of the U.S. serves during her match against Russia's Elena Bovina during the Trilogy Tennis Tournament, The Collins Cup, at the Royal Dublin Stadium in Ireland December 7, 2002. REUTERS/Paul McErlane PM/NMB/CMC
Tennis star Venus Williams applauds Reebok Human Rights Award winner [Christian Mukosa, a lawyer and human rights monitor in the Kivu provinces of the Congo], as she waits to present him his award during ceremonies in Boston, April 10, 2003. The awards are given annually to young human rights activists under the age of thirty from all over the world.
Venus Williams of the U.S. returns to Belgium's Kim Clijsters in their women's singles semi-final match at the Wimbledon Tennis Championships in London, July 3, 2003. Williams won the match 4-6 6-3 6-1. REUTERS/Ian Hodgson REUTERS IH/ASA
Venus Williams (R) shows pictures to Billie Jean King (L) during the Federations Cup match in Portoroz, April 25, 2004. REUTERS/Srdjan Zivulovic SZ
U.S tennis players Serena (L) and Venus Williams smile during a children's tennis practice session on court at Wimbledon in south west london, June 17, 2004. The Wimbledon championships begin on June 21.
Venus Williams celebrates after winning her quarterfinal match against Serena Williams at the Nasdaq 100 Open. Venus Williams celebrates after winning her quarterfinal match against her sister Serena Williams at the Nasdaq-100 Open in Key Biscayne, Florida, March 29, 2005. Venus won the match 6-1 7-6 (8-6.) The Williams sisters have meet 14 times, Serena has won five of the last six and leads the series 7-6. REUTERS/Jason Arnold
Venus Williams of the U.S reacts during her match against [Bulgaria's Sesil Karatantcheva] in the third round of the French Open tennis tournament at Roland Garros May 27, 2005. [Karatantcheva won 6-3 1-6 6-1.]
Venus Williams arrives during a ceremony to honor Billie Jean King at the U.S. Open in New York, August 28, 2006. The tennis center was renamed the Billie Jean King USTA Tennis Center. REUTERS/Mike Segar (UNITED STATES)
Venus Williams of the U.S. returns a shot to Maria Kirilenko of Russia during women's single final at the Korea Open tennis tournament in Seoul September 30, 2007. REUTERS/Jo Yong-Hak (SOUTH KOREA)
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Venus Williams of the U.S. returns the ball to Samantha Stosur of Australia during their Madrid Open tennis quarter-final match May 14, 2010. REUTERS/Susana Vera (SPAIN - Tags: SPORT TENNIS)
U.S. tennis player Venus Williams smiles during a news conference at the Sports Congress and Exhibition at Aspire Dome in Doha November 13, 2011. Williams said Sunday she has changed her diet following the autoimmune disease that kept her out of this year's U.S. Open and is hoping the new approach will propel her back to the top of the women's tennis rankings. REUTERS/Fadi Al-Assaad (QATAR - Tags: SPORT TENNIS SOCIETY)
Serena Williams (L) and her sister Venus Williams, of the U.S., pose with their gold medals during the presentation ceremony for the women's doubles tennis at the All England Lawn Tennis Club during the London 2012 Olympic Games August 5, 2012. REUTERS/Stefan Wermuth (BRITAIN - Tags: OLYMPICS SPORT TENNIS)
Venus Williams of the U.S. hits a return shot to Maria Kirilenko of Russia during their first round match in the 2012 Cincinnati Open tennis tournament in Cincinnati, Ohio, August 14, 2012. REUTERS/John Sommers II (UNITED STATES - Tags: SPORT TENNIS)
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Venus Williams of the U.S. holds the trophy after defeating Alize Cornet of France in their women's singles final match at the WTA Dubai Tennis Championships, February 22, 2014.REUTERS/Ahmed Jadallah (UNITED ARAB EMIRATES - Tags: SPORT TENNIS)
Venus Williams of the U.S. smiles after defeating Anett Kontaveit of Estonia during their fourth round match at the U.S. Open Championships tennis tournament in New York, September 6, 2015. REUTERS/Eduardo Munoz
MIAMI, FL - NOVEMBER 29: Venus Williams attends the Ocean Drive Magazine and Roche Bobois celebrate the December Issue with Heidi Klum on November 29, 2016 in Miami, Florida. (Photo by Sergi Alexander/Getty Images)
Venus Williams of the US celebrates her victory against Coco Vandeweghe of the US during their women's singles semi-final match on day 11 of the Australian Open tennis tournament in Melbourne on January 26, 2017. / AFP / PETER PARKS / IMAGE RESTRICTED TO EDITORIAL USE - STRICTLY NO COMMERCIAL USE (Photo credit should read PETER PARKS/AFP/Getty Images)
NEW YORK, NY - AUGUST 26: Ternnis star Venus Williams on the court during the 22nd Annual Arthur Ashe Kids' Day at USTA Billie Jean King National Tennis Center on August 26, 2017 in the Queens borough of New York City. (Photo by Roy Rochlin/FilmMagic)
NEW YORK, NY - AUGUST 24: Tennis player Venus Williams plays badminton during the 2017 Lotte New York Palace Invitational at Lotte New York Palace on August 24, 2017 in New York City. (Photo by Noam Galai/WireImage)
NEW YORK, NY - AUGUST 24: Professional tennis player Venus Williams attends the 2017 Lotte New York Palace Invitational at Lotte New York Palace on August 24, 2017 in New York City. (Photo by Jamie McCarthy/Getty Images for LOTTE New York Palace)
CINCINNATI, OH - AUGUST 16: Venus Williams of the United States hits a forehand during a match in the Western & Southern Open on August 16, 2017 at the Lindner Family Tennis Center in Cincinnati, OH. (Photo by Shelley Lipton/Icon Sportswire via Getty Images)
TORONTO, ON - AUGUST 7: Venus Williams of the United States prepares to return a serve against Irina-Camelia Begu of Romania during Day 3 of the Rogers Cup at Aviva Centre on August 7, 2017 in Toronto, Canada. (Photo by Vaughn Ridley/Getty Images)
PHILADELPHIA, PA - JULY 24: Tennis player Venus Williams attends the 2017 Mylan World TeamTennis Washington Kastles vs Philadelphia Freedoms match at Michael J. Hagan Arena at St. Joseph's University on July 24, 2017 in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania (Photo by Gilbert Carrasquillo/Getty Images)
LONDON, ENGLAND - JULY 15: Venus Williams of The United States in action against Garbine Muguruza of Spain in the Wimbledon Lawn Tennis Championships at the All England Lawn Tennis and Croquet Club at Wimbledon on July 15, 2017 in London, England. (Photo by Tim Clayton/Corbis via Getty Images)
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Palm Beach Gardens police released a preliminary report saying she was the driver at fault in a June 9 accident that left Jerome Barson, a passenger in the other car, with fatal injuries.

After the crash, Barson was taken to a Florida trauma center where he died 13 days later, according to the Palm Beach county medical examiner.

The police report estimated Williams was traveling at about 5 miles per hour (8 kph) at the time of impact and was not distracted or suspected of any drug or alcohol use.

Before breaking down in the news conference, Williams had been asked several questions about her emotions in the past month but had avoided directly addressing the matter.

SEE ALSO: Venus Williams sued by family of man dead from car crash

"Life, you can't prepare for everything. I prepared for a lot of matches, tried to get ready for whatever my opponent will throw at you, but you can't prepare for everything," she said.

"I have no idea what tomorrow will bring. That's all I can say about it. That's what I've learned," she said to another question on how she was handling the situation.

Last week Williams released a statement on Facebook saying that she was "heartbroken" and "devastated" by the death of Barson.

Williams also said she was missing her sister Serena who is on a break from the game while she is pregnant.

"I miss her a lot. I think she misses me," she said.

The 37-year-old American faced a tenacious opponent as she began her bid for a sixth Wimbledon singles title with a 7-6(7) 6-4 victory.

SEE ALSO: Serena Williams talks tennis, pregnancy in Vanity Fair cover story

While a nervous Mertens struggled early, going 3-0 down in the first set, the 21-year-old, ranked 54th in the world, battled back to force a tiebreak which Williams won 9-7.

Williams, who last won Wimbledon in 2008, was unable to convert two match points in the second set before a rain break, but she returned to serve out for victory.

(Editing by Ed Osmond)

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