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tennisIlove09
Apr 4th, 2003, 08:26 PM
Venus quickly pushes aside Shaughnessy loss

By Sandra Harwitt
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Only days after the conclusion of the NASDAQ-100 Open and Venus Williams insists she's pushed her 7-6 (2), 6-1 fourth-round loss to Meghann Shaughnessy completely out of her mind.

Williams was doing a phone press conference call for a handful of journalists Wednesday to promote this weekend's JP Morgan Chase Tennis Challenge at the Naples Bath and Tennis Club, an event that benefits the OWL Foundation, her mother Oracene's charity. From the sound of it, Venus sounded like she had quickly shaken off the loss and moved on.

"I'm feeling good," Williams said. "I just had a bad day. It's just one tournament. I'm moving on and getting ready for the clay season in Europe and the French Open."

While it's definitely good for a top athlete to dissect, digest and learn from a loss than brush the defeat to the side, it's hard not to wonder if Venus has fallen under the spell of sister Serena, as have all the other players at the WTA Tour. There's no denying that Serena has sprinted past the rest of the field, setting the bar so high that it seems to have discouraged the other competitors from feeling they have a chance. Everyone knew that Venus was the closest to taking on Serena – not only had she dominated little sis in the past, but she was also just one rung behind as runner-up to Serena at the last four Grand Slams.

STUCK AT NO. 2?
But with all her outside interests – especially her design firm V Starr Interiors – the question begs has Venus become complacent and accepting of her role as No. 2? She certainly didn't sound jealous of Serena's impressive accomplishments this year; after beating Jennifer Capriati in the NASDAQ final, Serena is 17-0 with three titles for the year and on goal for an undefeated season.

"I think Serena has a great chance to do it," said Venus, of Serena possibly ending the year without a loss. "It's not easy to win every time, but other sports had unbelievable records, so why not tennis?"
For this week, however, Venus has charity engagements rather than WTA Tour engagements on her mind.

After the opening of the American Red Cross designer home on Thursday night in West Palm Beach – Venus and Bonnie, her design sidekick at V Starr Interiors, decorated the terrace off of the master bedroom in the charity home – Venus will head to Naples to play doubles with Monica Seles at the OWL Foundation charity event.

At the event this Saturday, Serena is set to play singles against Monica, followed by Venus and Seles facing Serena and Jana Novotna in a doubles pro-set. All four participants will attend the $250-a-plate evening gala that includes a performance by Roberta Flack.

The OWL Foundation stands for Oracene Williams Learning Foundation, a decision made before the elder Williams reverted to her maiden name of Price after divorcing husband, Richard, last year.
The foundation was initiated to provide learning-disabled children with educational programs and resources.

HELPING KIDS ... INCLUDING HER OWN
"My mom's always wanted to help people and help children," Venus said. "She found out to be involved was very difficult having children of her own. She wanted to be something, somewhat like a social worker. Now that all her children are grown she has an opportunity to really help. I'm really proud of her."

Venus says that Oracene, with five daughters, was often more like another sister than a mom. (Venus comes in at No. 4 with Serena the baby.)

"My mom was always a lot of fun; she was always one of us girls," Venus said. "We were always laughing together more than anything else. Of course, there were times when she had to be a mom."

While Venus is not involved with the OWL Foundation on a daily basis like Oracene is, she believes wholeheartedly in the cause and is always there to lend a hand when needed.

"I think it's very important," Venus said. "I had a mom and dad and three older sisters to help with schoolwork, but a lot of kids don't have anyone. My mother is upset that there are people graduating high school and don't know how to read."