Venus To Put Fashion Career On Hold; Play More Tournaments
Tennis-Open-Eclipsed Venus puts fashion dreams on hold
Jun 2 2003 10:02AM
PARIS, June 2 (Reuters) - Long since eclipsed by her younger sister, the once-mighty Venus Williams cut a pitiful figure at the French Open after suffering her worst defeat in more than a year.
It was a loss which ended her run of four consecutive grand slam finals. Never mind that Venus had lost all four to Serena - the point was that only her sister could beat her.
But after Russian teenager Vera Zvonareva snuffed out her Roland Garros chances on Sunday, Venus Williams - twice a Wimbledon and U.S. Open champion - faced the world with honesty and a candour rarely witnessed before.
Languid stares and bored replies - long a Venus hallmark - were replaced by refreshing frankness, reflecting a realisation that things must change if she is to regain the top spot.
It seems tennis may once again take priority in the life of a woman whose commitment to the sport has often been questioned, not least by herself.
"I would love to win a major and I would love to finish number one," she said, still shocked by her 2-6 6-2 6-4 defeat at the hands of the 18-year-old Russian.
"I suppose I'll just play more tournaments, play more matches. I think that will help me also to .. definitely get into the groove of things."
This is a far cry from the situation two years ago when Venus gave the distinct impression that she needed simply to turn up at events to walk off with the silverware.
She won her Wimbledon and two U.S. Open crowns in 2000 and 2001 while playing a light schedule.
Fashion and design played an equally important part in her life as tennis and it appeared the American, forced to grow up in front of the cameras, could balance the two.
The 22-year-old is certified as an interior decorator and this year is due to graduate with a degree in fashion design from the Art Institute at Fort Lauderdale.
Already she is chief executive of her company V Starr Interiors, named after her own exotic name, Venus Ebone Starr Williams.
She has been spending more and more time 'hands-on' at the company's Palm Beach Gardens headquarters in Florida.
"I go to the office, I pick out fabrics, I take telephone calls, I do all kinds of things," she said earlier this year.
All that may be put on the backburner now, however, as Venus makes it clear she is far from finished in the tennis world.
"What do I want to accomplish? Obviously a lot of tournament wins all that good stuff.
"I don't think it will be extremely difficult because I've won majors before, I've won tournaments before.
"I feel like I have the experience to be successful and now I just have to go on and do it."
06/02/03 09:57 ET