Wise owl Venus gives herself A-plus for youth

Robin Millard

London (AFP) - Venus Williams might be the oldest woman left in the Wimbledon singles, but the five-time champion is giving herself an A-plus for staying young in mind and body.

At 34, the American is in no mood to call it quits, saying she wanted to defend her three straight doubles Olympic titles with sister Serena at the Rio de Janeiro 2016 Games.

Williams said she might extend her career as a doubles-only player, would leave tennis on her own terms, and there was no way she would go into coaching.

"Wisdom has served me well. I've worn my sunscreen so I haven't aged terribly. My knees are very tight, not saggy. And the crow's feet have been kept at bay. So I'll give myself an A plus," Williams said.

Though she might long for an eighth Grand Slam singles title -- and a 16th doubles major -- Williams has been around long enough to know that winning takes a lot more than wishful thinking.

"Wishes don't come true. You have to work at it. I won't start wishing. I'll start working, running, hitting some winners. That will serve me more," she said.

"I would be greedy. I wouldn't say I want just one. I want singles, I want doubles, gold medals, and while I'm on tour I'm going to aim for that the best I can."

And the veteran is in no mood to hang up her racquets and take it easy just yet.

"I don't like watching it on TV. I want to be out there. I'm not about the easy thing. Life is a challenge," she said.

"When I leave tennis, I want it to be on my own terms. I want to know that I rose to every challenge. I want to look back with no regrets.

"So far in my career I can do that. Everyone messes up. Everyone chokes. Everyone gets tight. Everyone loses matches they should have won.

"But as long as you walked out there and you gave it your all, you can look back with no regrets."

- Sister double act -

Williams and her sister, the world number one, have won 13 Grand Slam titles and three Olympic gold medals together.

Venus said she would not want to play with anyone else.

"If I couldn't play with Serena, I probably wouldn't want to, unless there was someone better than her -- but that would be tough," she said.

"Obviously at some point we won't be able to play anymore because we might not be as good."

Asked if she would consider becoming a coach, Williams was emphatic.

"No. I love to help people and I love to see young people do well, but I won't want to be out here waiting on a rain delay again," she said.

Williams faces a mouthwatering Wimbledon third round clash with 2011 champion Petra Kvitova, the Czech sixth seed.

"All of our matches have always been tough. I know I'll have to get out there and play better than her. That's really what it boils down to. The last point, make sure I'm winning it instead of losing it," she said.

Seeded 30th, Williams was broken early in both sets by Japan's world number 41 Kurumi Nara in their round two clash, but eventually triumphed 7-6 (7/4), 6-1.

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