Venus remains Wimbledon star of The Williams Show
By Ossian Shine
LONDON, June 21 (Reuters) - "Welcome to the Williams Show," Richard Williams told the world when his daughters met at Wimbledon two years ago.
When the All England Club opens its gates for two weeks of grand slam action on Monday, the proud father's boast will be more fitting than ever.
Venus and Serena Williams sit at either end of the women's draw, ranked one and two in the world.
But while Serena beat her elder sister for the French Open crown two weeks ago, Venus is the star of the show when they step on to the Wimbledon stage.
A woman who does things her own way -- from her exotic outfits and ever-changing hairstyles to her brutal, battering technique -- Venus is the owner of back-to-back Wimbledon titles and looks virtually invincible on the grass.
A cranked-up work ethic has allowed computer logic to finally catch up with conventional wisdom. One thing is clear -- when the grasscourt season begins, Venus is the one to beat.
A vicious piledriver of a serve is backed up by brutally clubbed groundstrokes to form an almost unbeatable force.
Certainly Venus believes so.
"Some people say I have attitude -- maybe I do," she says with a couldn't-care-less smile. "But I think you have to. You have to believe in yourself when no-one else does -- that makes you a winner right there."
That, and back-to-back U.S. Open titles to go with her Wimbledon pair. Plus Olympic gold medals for winning the singles and the women's doubles with Serena.
Her plan of attack on the grasscourt season seems simplicity itself.
"Wear lots of white, have your best sneakers on, equip yourself with a great serve and be ready to smile when you get the trophy," the American giggles when asked about Wimbledon.
There is no doubting the serve and there is no brighter nor broader smile on the circuit so can anything stop Venus?
Perhaps Serena, as she showed in the French Open final. But Venus is in no mood to surrender her Wimbledon crown.
Not even to family.
"I'll try to win Wimbledon again. The chances, I suppose, are good," she said with understatement.
FIGHTING AND PRACTISING
Venus has been back at her Palm Beach home, "fighting and practising" ahead of next week's grasscourt challenge.
Unbeaten in 14 matches at the All England Club and looking as dominant as ever, a magnificent treble looms.
The smashed glass and gang warfare of her childhood Compton seem a long way away now that Venus is queen of Centre Court.
"I think Centre Court will keep being a great place for me in the years to come," she says when asked of her Wimbledon aspirations.
"You know, I guess I always believed I would be a champ. That's what I was told (as a child) and at that age that's what you believe."
Richard Williams instilled great belief in both his daughters and Venus is not ruling out going on to beat Martina Navratilova's record of nine Wimbledon crowns.
"It will be tough. Some people started younger winning titles," she smiles.
"My first was at 20. If I could have started winning at 16, then maybe it would be different.
"But in my mind I'm always the best player in the world. I can't see anybody better than me."
Nobody else can see a player better than Venus right now. With Serena drawn to meet her sister in the final, Wimbledon is set to stage the next episode of the Williams story -- a show that will run and run.