"COME ON - VENUS" "CREAM THE COMPETITION" "LET'S GO - CAUSE YOU CAN DO IT"
Williams resumes tournament play Wednesday, July 24, 2002
(07-24) 11:55 PDT STANFORD, Calif. (AP) -- Nearly three weeks after losing the No. 1 ranking -- and the title at Wimbledon -- Venus Williams resumes tournament play at the Bank of the West Classic this week with her sights set on getting back to the top.
"My Grand Slam record was so nice for awhile, now it's a little marred," Williams said Wednesday as she prepared to meet Meghann Shaughnessy in the second round on Thursday. "More than anything I'd like to play well here." Williams brings a 41-6 record, with four tournament titles, into this year's event at the Taube Family Tennis Center.
Three of those losses have come to her younger sister, Serena, including the finals at the French Open and Wimbledon. "She's a great player," said Williams. "You have to play well or go home with a loss. Sometimes I play well and still lose." Williams, a two-time Wimbledon champion, returns to her professional roots this week. She made her debut at this event when it was held at the Oakland Coliseum Arena. She won the title at Stanford in 1999 and 2000, but was upset by Shaughnessy in last year's quarterfinals.
"That seems like so long ago," said Williams. "I wouldn't call it revenge, but I do hate losing. I just have to play consistently and serve well." Williams, ranked second in the world (and in her own family), took a week off following her loss in England. She returned to practice with the goal of using the summer tournaments to get ready for the U.S. Open in New York and yet another possible showdown with her sister.
"This has always been a great tournament," said Williams. "I want to make sure I'm technically sound and build confidence. I'm always confident, but it's better when you're playing well. I love being in California and I enjoy this part of the year. For me, it's somewhat cool. Florida can get crazy hot. Now I have to wear sweaters."
The top-seeded Williams is one of six players among the top nine entered in the tournament. American Monica Seles (No. 4), defending champion Kim Clijsters (5) of Belgium, Yugoslavia's Jelena Dokic (6) and American Lindsay Davenport (9) are all still alive, while Belgium's Justine Henin (7) was upset by American Marissa Irvin in the first round on Tuesday. "I think I'm ready," said Williams.