Tennis-Wimbledon-Life beyond baseline is vital- Richard Williams
LONDON, June 26 (Reuters) - Richard Williams is delighted that his tennis playing daughters have developed interests beyond the baseline.
Serena has taken some steps along the path to a part-time acting career, while Venus is studying interior design and both sisters also have a keen interest in fashion design.
Nine-times Wimbledon champion Martina Navratilova said in a newspaper column on Saturday that the sisters need to forget their outside distractions if they want to re-establish their dominance of women's tennis.
"Tennis is not everything and it never will be," Williams said at Wimbledon on Saturday. "They are doing a lot of things right now and I think they are doing the right thing.
"If that means they don't play the type of tennis they once played, that is quite OK with the family."
Williams, their mentor and trainer as well as their father, said he had always told them that tennis should never be their all-consuming obssession.
"Venus and Serena were taught there is life beyond the baseline," he said. "They need to do other things than just play tennis."
"Serena is now thinking about trying to develop a film herself. I think that she should."
"It is very difficult for me to understand sometimes how a parent could raise a child just to be a tennis player," he added. "If you want to be well-rounded, you cannot just think of tennis, tennis, tennis."
Much as he admired champions like Navratilova, who returned to grand slam singles this year at the age of 47, Williams said he hoped his daughters would never be tempted down the comeback trail.
"I hope they never return," he said. "When Venus and Serena put their rackets down, I hope it is for good. I hope they don't do like the boxers do. They are too bright to continue this forever."
Venus Williams, Wimbledon champion in 2000 and 2001, was knocked out of this year's tournament in the second round and then flew straight home to resume her studies.
"I don't think any parent could ask for anything other than that," Williams said.
Serena, who has won the Wimbledon title for the last two years by beating her sister in the final, is still on course to retain her title -- when the rain finally lets up.