Updated: 10:28 AM EST
Raymond Says Belief Key to Beating Williams Sisters
Staying Composed and Playing Your Best Enhance Chances, 30-Year-Old Adds
By OSSIAN SHINE, Reuters
MELBOURNE, Australia (Jan. 24) -- The Williams sisters have lost their intimidation factor and beating Venus was just a matter of belief, Lisa Raymond said after ousting the third seed at the Australian Open on Saturday.
Doubles specialist Raymond had lost all three previous matches the pair played, never winning more than a handful of games, but at Melbourne Park on Saturday she ousted the former world No. 1 6-4, 7-6 in the third round of the Grand Slam.
"I just stepped up to the plate and just believed I could win," the 30-year-old said, reflecting on a shocking victory.
"I think that was the bottom line. Just believing that I deserved to be on the court with her and believing that I was able to beat her," she said.
Venus, runner-up to sister Serena in the final here last year, had not played a tournament since losing the final of Wimbledon -- also to Serena -- last July. She had struggled with an abdominal injury for the second half of the year.
Serena is absent from the Australian Open with an injury of her own and Raymond believes that their long absences have dented their mystique.
"I think to a degree they've lost a little bit of their luster as far as (being) the Williams sisters," she said of the pair, who have won 10 of the last 20 Grand Slam tournaments.
"But at the same time you know they're gonna play well, you know they're gonna compete. You now they're hungrier, probably hungrier than ever now that they have been off the tour for so long and they want to come back and establish themselves."
Raymond said the victory ranked as one of her best.
"It is definitely up there, I couldn't ask much more of myself," the world No. 30 said.
"To finally play that way and to get a win feels good. There's a lot of difference between taking a top player to three sets and getting a win," she said.
Raymond had a supporter who knows a thing or two about winning matches -- her doubles partner Martina Navratilova, who won 167 singles titles and 173 doubles crowns.
"She sent me a text message this morning and said 'Just be brave and believe in yourself,'" Raymond said.
"You know, I thought about that out there. Having that voice in the back of my head certainly didn't hurt," she said.
Raymond will play teenage wild card Tatiana Golovin of France in the fourth round.
01/24/04 00:24 ET
Copyright 2004 Reuters Limited.
Is she still bitter about the Olympics snub?
I mean give me a break! The woman was out for six months with a abdominal injury and all of a sudden she can't play anymore since Lisa beat her? This is probably be the only victory she gets off of Venus (and it wsn't a blowout) and if history is any indication, we know what will happen.