Venus on Alicia: "Absolutely wonderful player. So graceful, so talented"
Venus lying low while her star rises
By Jake Niall
January 21, 2005
Venus Williams has shown signs of a revival at Melbourne Park and the fuss about coming Russians and ephedrine has allowed the Williams sisters, particularly Venus, to enjoy the luxury of a lower profile.
Venus, a straight-sets victor over China's Shuai Peng yesterday, wouldn't have noticed if she was flying under the radar this year, because she does not read newspapers or watch television. "If I do (watch TV), it's on mute," said the eighth seed and four-time slam winner. "I hate propaganda and hype, so I've stayed away from it for ages."
The Williams, apparently, get their news via the internet.
Even if she hates hype and ignores a news media that obsesses over her every garment, Venus has noticed the rapid rise of potential fourth-round opponent Alicia Molik, for whom she had charitable words last night. "Absolutely wonderful player. So graceful, so talented, she absolutely deserves everything she's got. You can tell she's working hard. It will be, if we can make it happen, both of us, it will be a great match."
There were limits, however, to her generosity, when asked whether the emerging Aussie was in good enough nick to beat her. "Do I think she's playing well enough? Why would I say that? She's playing very well, but I don't want to concede a win to my opponent, doesn't matter if she's Australian or not."
Venus was still some distance from her slam-winning 2000-2001 zenith yesterday, but her description - "very solid" - was accurate. She did what was required to have a relatively comfortable victory over Peng, whose unwieldy two-handed groundstrokes on both sides were only effective in patches.
The difference, as in most Venus routs, was her super-sized serve. Peng, one of the expanding group of Chinese women on tour - a group Lindsay Davenport yesterday suggested were the coming force - had only a pop-gun delivery, which was insufficient to really trouble Venus.
Richard Williams, occasionally wont to make big calls, recently suggested that his daughters could resume the No. 1 and No. 2 rankings if they dedicated themselves utterly to tennis again. Venus agreed - well, sort of. "Uhm, I guess he's right."
The more immediate challenge for Venus is on winning her first slam since the heady days of 2000-2001, before Serena took ownership of the family's WTA business, which has since been bought out by the Belgians and Russians.
"It's definitely the right mindset to have," said Venus of believing she could win the Open. "Mentally, you always have to feel like it's your turn."
But I, being poor, have only my dreams
I have spread my dreams under your feet
Tread softly because you tread on my dreams