New Venus article/interview from FT UK "We really believe in what were doing" - TennisForum.com
Reply
 
LinkBack Thread Tools
post #1 of 141 (permalink) Old Jun 19th, 2006, 03:37 PM Thread Starter
King
 
Viktymise's Avatar
 
Join Date: Jan 2006
Location: Flux
Posts: 27,520
                     
Lightbulb New Venus article/interview from FT UK "We really believe in what were doing"

'We really believe in what we're doing'
By Simon Kuper

Published: June 17 2006 03:00 | Last updated: June 17 2006 03:00

When Venus Williams thinks of Wimbledon, what image comes to mind? She has won the tournament three times, so I expect her to name some crucial break-point or royal curtsey. Instead she rocks back, all 6ft 1in of her, and tells a story about her mother hobbling through Wimbledon village on an undiagnosed broken foot heading for the cookie tray. "Just always at the cookies!" Venus screams with laughter. Poor Mrs Williams subsequently spent time in a wheelchair having her sugar addiction mocked by her daughters. "I lost, Serena lost, but we had fun," says Venus.

We are sitting in her Paris hotel looking ahead to Wimbledon. It is perhaps 14ºC, which to Williams is like Siberian permafrost. After finding me, she hurries me with great courtesy from the hotel's door into the warm lounge.


I'm here to question her motivation. The word in tennis circles is that Venus and her sister Serena don't care any more. Having dominated the women's game, they now seldom even show up on tour. They nurse injuries, write books, appear on their reality television show, study fashion and so on. But people expect them to be mono-maniac.

At least they still like Wimbledon. Every women's final in south-west London this century has featured one or both Williams sisters. Last year Venus won. However, it was her only Grand Slam victory in the past five years. Is tennis losing the Williamses? This line of attack is fine, says her agent beforehand, but I mustn't ask about Serena. The sisters - Venus is the elder by 15 months - dislike always being asked about each other or about their family.

They were born to tennis. Richard Williams has even claimed that he gave life to his last two daughters in order to turn them into tennis champions. But Venus dismisses the notion that he was a single-minded "tennis Dad". She cites some of his exhortations:

"You want to be the most polite person in the world."

"Let's go to the park!"

"Have a life after tennis."

Yet she was being courted by sponsors at six, turned pro at 14, and at 16 made her first foreign trip to play the French Open here in Paris. What does she remember? "I remember thinking how small the cars were, just being green and wide-eyed and - not getting past the second round. Aaaaah." A big laugh.

If that 16-year-old could've seen herself now - 26 years old today (happy birthday, Venus) and world famous - what would she have thought? "She'd have been very competitive with me and she'd have thought that she could beat me." Even at 16? "I thought I was the best. That's how I was raised."

Has Venus ever faced anyone with more talent? There is a pause, an "errm", and a laugh. Then: "I don't want to get involved in being boastful or anything. I think Irina Sprlea was really talented . . . " Sprlea is a surprising mention. The Romanian was briefly a contender but is now remembered chiefly for having bumped into Williams during a change of ends in 1997.

But doesn't Williams sometimes lose to better players? "There've been a few times where I've gotten beat, a couple of times against Serena, a couple of times where it's just random players, where they came out and they're unbelievable, and I could not touch 'em. But usually when I lose I really beat myself, and I made 50 errors and the other person just kind of showed up and that was all anyone had to do that day, could have been sewing in the stands.

"A lot of times it's hard for my opponent to play better than me, or to serve better than me, or move better, or improvise better, because - I don't know why, just because!" She laughs. "A lot of great players out there at the moment, though."

The Williams sisters famously don't befriend colleagues. Does Venus not consider the Sony Ericsson WTA Tour a place for friendships? "First and foremost, I'm here for the tennis. Plus, I have Serena. I've never needed much more. I already had a friend on tour."

It will be clear by this point that the aim of not mentioning Serena has failed. That is Venus's fault. In an hour and a quarter of interview, I count 18 unprompted mentions of Serena, nine of their parents, and four more of the family. Meanwhile the only non-Williamses to get name-checks are Sprlea, Lindsay Davenport and Pete Sampras, once each, and always as tennis players rather than people.

In fact, Venus and Serena areso close that recently they've often been injured together. Venus, who this year discovered that she is "an over-achiever type personality", has used the time off to study fashion design in Fort Lauderdale, Florida. "I was still trying to train and do my rehab and my school's about an hour away from my house, so it's a drive. I'm not planning on taking more classes but the thing is: my punishment if I don't play the way I should is to take a class" - gales of laughter - "because it's just such hard work."

In class, doesn't everyone think, "Wow, that's Venus Williams"?

"Oh, everyone's so stressed out and working so hard and trying to make their game look good, I mean get their classes done, that they don't really care who's there. Like last fall we had two hurricanes. School was closed, there was no extra time to make it up, and it was just crazy. I'm grateful for my day job."

As we discuss the course, suddenly there's Serena again: "We had to do sewing. Serena was good at putting zippers on" - an explosive laugh - "so I'd pass it to her. I'm really meticulous and I work a lot slower but it comes out right and when she would do her patterns they wouldn't come out right because she was going too fast, and when it came to sewing the garment I'd have to fix it."

Have she and Serena always been so close? "Yeah. We were sometimes even in the same class growing up. Whatever it was, whatever she needed, that's what I was and I am. It makes me really proud and happy if I can be something for her. Even the little things, like, 'Oh Venus, do you have a hairband?' Like if I can give her a hairband I'm so happy. I know this sounds weird. Even when I was really little and she was still in a stroller, I was pushing her around."

How to picture the scene: a giant two-year-old pushing a giant baby through the ghetto of Compton outside Los Angeles? "I just see two little girls who were just starting out in the world, and they were happy together. And they're still happy together. They've got each other. Till the end."

Naturally Serena inspired her in last year's Wimbledon final. "I was thinking, 'I want to be just like Serena', because she had played in the Australian Open final, and she was down, and she came back and won. So afterwards I told her, 'Just all I want to do is be like you!'"

In the past Serena wanted to be like her, Venus adds. "We weren't really different until the last maybe five years, because she always did what I did." Venus pauses to reflect, then says: "It's actually still the same."

Serena's studying fashion too, I point out.

"Yeah, she's doing fashion as well. Like I'll change my style, and then I'll notice she'll change her style. Or I'll start going to Miami, and she'll start going. I realise whatever I do needs to be a good example, because she's going to do it!" So Venus isn't a role model to unseen millions of children, she's a role model to . . .

"Serena, yeah! She wants to be like me! Mmmmm. Or like" - pause for long guffaw - "we'll be in a store, she does this crazy thing, if I like reach out for something, she'll reach out for it too. And then I have to like, reach out, fake it and then . . . " Venus mimes reaching for another item instead. She cracks up.

Ahem, back to tennis. Does it make her happy? She punches her fist in the air: "Oh, absolutely. Even when I lose. Like someone would ask me, 'How's it going this year?' 'Well I only played one match and I lost it.' Laugh. Because it's not that serious. You can't take it into a life-and-death experience. I don't want to look back and say, 'I was way too serious and unable to enjoy the moment and now I don't have those moments.' "

Does winning tournaments become less sweet with repetition? "Not at all. Nice! Every single time! I promise you."

Yet she doesn't aspire to establish a hegemony in tennis? "I just see this life as - what word am I looking for? - kind of just temporary. Because you know, most people - a lot of people believe in afterlife, or going to heaven, or things like that. I see this life as not necessarily the true life. There'll be something better coming next, so there'll be a time when records don't really matter." For a Jehovah's witness, Venus isn't much of a proselytiser.

She'll win Wimbledon this year, won't she? "Yeah! You said it!" she thrusts two triumphant fingers towards me. "Hahaha. I'd love to."

And after the final comes the Champions' ball. Venus will arrive in London prepared. "We really believe in what we're doing, and so we always bring a dress for the ball. Last year I didn't, I just couldn't be bothered, but normally always."

Which dress will get the nod this year? "Probably 'Old Faithful'. This Cerruti dress I pull out for charities. There's two of them I have. They're about five years old. It's good to know I still fit my dresses. Actually one of them had to get retired, it's just been photographed way too much! And the other one's in semi-retirement."

Tennis romances often start at these balls. But not for Venus? "That's always been Serena and I's rule number one, we just don't date colleagues. Just not. Just don't do it."


Nice interesting artice i think good luck and win Wimbledon Vee some funny mentions too plus she seems really onfident about Wimbledon and the Irena Spirlea thing aswell shows how mature she has become but Spirlea i mean she was good but more talented than Vee or loads of others vee has played lol

Grassonkova.

Last edited by Viktymise; Jun 19th, 2006 at 03:53 PM.
Viktymise is offline  
Sponsored Links
Advertisement
 
post #2 of 141 (permalink) Old Jun 19th, 2006, 03:58 PM
Senior Member
 
deep bass's Avatar
 
Join Date: Nov 2004
Location: away with the fairies
Posts: 540
                     
Anyone read Venus Envy? According to Jon the Wills and Irina kissed and made up.
Nice to see Venus confident.

To avoid criticism, do nothing, say nothing, and be nothing.
Elbert Hubbard

I don't suffer from insanity, I enjoy every minute of it.
Angelina Jolie

Go Bepa Z Williams X 2 Danka Masha Nastya Ana Bally
deep bass is offline  
post #3 of 141 (permalink) Old Jun 19th, 2006, 03:58 PM
Senior Member
 
vwfan's Avatar
 
Join Date: May 2005
Posts: 6,841
                     
funny and nice article about Venus.

she is not only a great tennis player, but a really grounded person. and that is why, win or lose, she is a great champion!

thanks for posting it lenavee.
vwfan is offline  
post #4 of 141 (permalink) Old Jun 19th, 2006, 04:00 PM
Senior Member
 
Paneru's Avatar
 
Join Date: Jun 2003
Posts: 22,129
                     
Quote:
Originally Posted by lenavee
"..... I'm not planning on taking more classes but the thing is: my punishment if I don't play the way I should is to take a class" - gales of laughter - "because it's just such hard work."
I love that!!!



Quote:
Originally Posted by lenavee
Ahem, back to tennis. Does it make her happy? She punches her fist in the air: "Oh, absolutely. Even when I lose. Like someone would ask me, 'How's it going this year?' 'Well I only played one match and I lost it.' Laugh. Because it's not that serious. You can't take it into a life-and-death experience. I don't want to look back and say, 'I was way too serious and unable to enjoy the moment and now I don't have those moments.' "

Does winning tournaments become less sweet with repetition? "Not at all. Nice! Every single time! I promise you."

Yet she doesn't aspire to establish a hegemony in tennis? "I just see this life as - what word am I looking for? - kind of just temporary. Because you know, most people - a lot of people believe in afterlife, or going to heaven, or things like that. I see this life as not necessarily the true life. There'll be something better coming next, so there'll be a time when records don't really matter." For a Jehovah's witness, Venus isn't much of a proselytiser.


Quote:
Originally Posted by lenavee
She'll win Wimbledon this year, won't she? "Yeah! You said it!" she thrusts two triumphant fingers towards me. "Hahaha. I'd love to."


Quote:
Originally Posted by lenavee
Which dress will get the nod this year? "Probably 'Old Faithful'. This Cerruti dress I pull out for charities. There's two of them I have. They're about five years old. It's good to know I still fit my dresses. Actually one of them had to get retired, it's just been photographed way too much! And the other one's in semi-retirement."
Paneru is offline  
post #5 of 141 (permalink) Old Jun 19th, 2006, 04:01 PM Thread Starter
King
 
Viktymise's Avatar
 
Join Date: Jan 2006
Location: Flux
Posts: 27,520
                     
Quote:
Originally Posted by vwfan
funny and nice article about Venus.

she is not only a great tennis player, but a really grounded person. and that is why, win or lose, she is a great champion!

thanks for posting it lenavee.
No probs i thought all the vee fans out there would like it

Grassonkova.
Viktymise is offline  
post #6 of 141 (permalink) Old Jun 19th, 2006, 04:01 PM
Senior Member
 
deep bass's Avatar
 
Join Date: Nov 2004
Location: away with the fairies
Posts: 540
                     
I can totally see Vee being methodical in her work whilst Serena rushes it.

To avoid criticism, do nothing, say nothing, and be nothing.
Elbert Hubbard

I don't suffer from insanity, I enjoy every minute of it.
Angelina Jolie

Go Bepa Z Williams X 2 Danka Masha Nastya Ana Bally
deep bass is offline  
post #7 of 141 (permalink) Old Jun 19th, 2006, 04:03 PM
Senior Member
 
Paneru's Avatar
 
Join Date: Jun 2003
Posts: 22,129
                     
Quote:
Originally Posted by deep bass
I can totally see Vee being methodical in her work whilst Serena rushes it.
Same here!

Serena is the Hare.
Venus is the Tortoise.
Paneru is offline  
post #8 of 141 (permalink) Old Jun 19th, 2006, 04:16 PM
Junior Member
 
tonythetiger's Avatar
 
Join Date: Jan 2006
Posts: 1,875
                     
Quote:
But usually when I lose I really beat myself, and I made 50 errors and the other person just kind of showed up and that was all anyone had to do that day, could have been sewing in the stands.
This was really funny to me. Venus is such a joy!! I really hope she wins Wimbledon so that she shut up the ones that called it a fluke.
tonythetiger is offline  
post #9 of 141 (permalink) Old Jun 19th, 2006, 04:25 PM
Senior Member
 
kabuki's Avatar
 
Join Date: Jul 2004
Location: In denial
Posts: 6,176
                     
Quote:
Originally Posted by lenavee
"Serena, yeah! She wants to be like me! Mmmmm. Or like" - pause for long guffaw - "we'll be in a store, she does this crazy thing, if I like reach out for something, she'll reach out for it too. And then I have to like, reach out, fake it and then . . . " Venus mimes reaching for another item instead. She cracks up.
Envisioning this just made me crack up!
kabuki is offline  
post #10 of 141 (permalink) Old Jun 19th, 2006, 04:40 PM
Team WTAworld
Senior Member
 
Shuji Shuriken's Avatar
 
Join Date: Feb 2002
Location: Planet Venus
Posts: 12,065
                     
Venus Williams

Official Earl Of The Royal Court


Brandysan's Keeper

l[l

Venussan #1 Fan
Serenasan Warrior Princess

http://www.myspace.com/keimodarkheart
Shuji Shuriken is offline  
post #11 of 141 (permalink) Old Jun 19th, 2006, 04:53 PM
和平.
 
new-york's Avatar
 
Join Date: Aug 2005
Posts: 17,026
                     
Well, i prefered her recent post match interviews. (...)

Good luck Venus.

to new beginnings.
***
new-york is offline  
post #12 of 141 (permalink) Old Jun 19th, 2006, 05:05 PM
Gone with the Wind fabulous!
 
LoveFifteen's Avatar
 
Join Date: Jun 2005
Location: Washington, DC
Posts: 8,457
                     
I really enjoyed this article. Venus is very charming. I just wish she wouldn't say things like, "But usually when I lose I really beat myself, and I made 50 errors and the other person just kind of showed up and that was all anyone had to do that day, could have been sewing in the stands." But I guess you don't win 5 Slams when you don't believe in yourself so it doesn't bother me too much.

Now when her fans say it ...
LoveFifteen is offline  
post #13 of 141 (permalink) Old Jun 19th, 2006, 05:21 PM
Senior Member
 
Bijoux0021's Avatar
 
Join Date: Jun 2006
Posts: 9,941
                     
Quote:
Originally Posted by tonythetiger
This was really funny to me. Venus is such a joy!! I really hope she wins Wimbledon so that she shut up the ones that called it a fluke.
Same here! I always have to shake my head in disbelief everytime I read such nonsense. How could winning Wimbledon for the third time be a fluke? Yet Sharapova who won it once is not a fluke. The people who called Venus' 2005 Wimbledon title a fluke were just disappointed that she was not washed-up and a has-been as they'd concluded. It's true that she didn't win a Slam in four years, but does anyone really believe that she would have lost all those 5 Slam finals to anyone else other than her sister? Many people choose to forget that Venus also dominated everyone else on tour but Serena during those Slam losses.
Bijoux0021 is offline  
post #14 of 141 (permalink) Old Jun 19th, 2006, 05:31 PM
Gone with the Wind fabulous!
 
LoveFifteen's Avatar
 
Join Date: Jun 2005
Location: Washington, DC
Posts: 8,457
                     
Her 2005 Wimbledon was not a fluke. Only a blind hater could call it that. Venus made the W final every year this decade except 2004.
LoveFifteen is offline  
post #15 of 141 (permalink) Old Jun 19th, 2006, 05:34 PM
Senior Member
 
rjd1111's Avatar
 
Join Date: Dec 2003
Location: usa
Posts: 3,644
                     
Quote:
Originally Posted by Paneru
Same here!

Serena is the Hare.
Venus is the Tortoise.

A pretty fast tortoise
rjd1111 is offline  
Reply

Quick Reply
Message:
Options

Register Now



In order to be able to post messages on the TennisForum.com forums, you must first register.
Please enter your desired user name, your email address and other required details in the form below.

User Name:
Password
Please enter a password for your user account. Note that passwords are case-sensitive.

Password:


Confirm Password:
Email Address
Please enter a valid email address for yourself.

Email Address:
OR

Log-in









Image Verification
Please enter the six letters or digits that appear in the image opposite.

Registration Image

Thread Tools
Show Printable Version Show Printable Version
Email this Page Email this Page



Posting Rules  
You may not post new threads
You may post replies
You may not post attachments
You may not edit your posts

BB code is On
Smilies are On
[IMG] code is On
HTML code is Off
Trackbacks are On
Pingbacks are On
Refbacks are On

 
For the best viewing experience please update your browser to Google Chrome