Williams Sisters Tennis Clock Running Out of Time, Agassi Says
By Bob Bensch
May 30 (Bloomberg) -- Time is running out for the Williams sisters to add to their legacy of Grand Slam championships, according to eight-time major winner Andre Agassi
Venus and Serena Williams
must understand that time they devote to projects and causes off the court takes energy and focus away from their tennis, Agassi said in an interview with Bloomberg Radio's ``On the Ball'' program to air this weekend.
The 38-year-old American spoke hours before Serena Williams was eliminated in the third round of the French Open by Katerina Srebotnick, 6-4, 6-4. With Venus Williams
playing later today, the sisters have now won just two of their 14 Grand Slam titles since 2005.
``The Williams, you never quite know what you're going to get,'' Agassi said. ``It's a mixed bag when they show up at an event. They're incredible athletes who in my mind have the ability to dominate the sport but have found their own reasons why they're not.''
Serena Williams, 26, has devoted time in recent years to acting
and fashion design. Venus Williams, 27, is a certified interior decorator
, and took a break this year to deal with undisclosed medical problems.
``Every time you give your energy somewhere else, there's someone else in that draw who isn't doing that, and that reveals itself over the course of time,'' Agassi said.
Agassi said he generally was able to keep off-court interests ``in pocket'' until he retired in 2006, when he turned his attention to projects such as the Las Vegas-based Andre Agassi College Preparatory Academy
, which helps at-risk children.
``You have to plan your work and work your plan,'' he said. ``So if you're clear on what you're choosing, God bless you, but there's a clock you have on a career, especially a career that's ballistic and demanding psychologically, emotionally, physically, with the travel, the time zones, just the demands that are put on you. It takes a lot just to focus on that.''
Agassi said he is dedicated to advancing his own foundation in any way possible -- well, almost any way. The former player who strutted around the court pigeon-toed and slightly stooped said he wouldn't be joining other athletes on the ABC television reality show ``Dancing With the Stars''
to raise foundation funds.
``There are just some places where you've got to draw the line,'' he said with a chuckle.
To contact the reporter on this story: Scott Soshnick
in New York at firstname.lastname@example.org
Last Updated: May 30, 2008 11:44 EDT