Age can't stop Venus rising again

Updated: 2015-11-05 07:57

By Sun Xiaochen in Zhuhai, Guangdong(China Daily)

  Print Mail Large Medium  Small 分享按钮 0

The rigorous nature of professional tennis would seem to favor today's young aces - but don't tell that to Venus Williams.

After more than two decades on the pro circuit, 35-year-old Williams' game continues to improve like a fine wine and there are no signs of her slowing down as she looks to finish a strong year by returning to the top 10.

"Definitely, one of the reasons that I'm here is so that I can go to the top 10 and have a great start for next year. I don't count points. I just try to win," said Williams, who turned pro in 1994.

 Age can't stop Venus rising again

Venus Williams hits a backhand to Madison Keys at the WTA Elite Trophy tournament in Zhuhai, Guangdong province, on Tuesday. Provided to China Daily

On Tuesday, Williams won her opening group match against compatriot Madison Keys at the WTA Elite Trophy in Zhuhai.

As the year-end mandatory tournament on the Women's Tennis Association Tour, the Zhuhai event features 12 elite players competing in a round-robin format in four groups, with the winner of each advancing to the semifinals.

Drawn in Group A with Keys and Chinese youngster Zheng Saisai, who are collectively 29 years younger than her, Williams is banking on her experience rather than her once renowned athleticism.

"For me, personally, I have a lot of experience and that helps to win matches. And I enjoy the game," she said.

"That's why I'm out here, because there's a lot of sacrifice. You need to keep enjoying the game as you go into your 30s."

Williams will return to the top 10 if she reaches the semifinals with a win over Zheng on Thursday.

Venus has dominated the women's game along with her sister Serena for almost two decades and boasts seven Grand Slam singles titles.

She has lost none of her competitive edge and even seems more inspired now when facing fresh-faced opponents who were barely taller than a racket when she turned pro.

Williams outlasted former World No 1 Caroline Wozniacki of Denmark in a three-set final to win her season-opening tournament this year in Auckland, New Zealand, and beat young Spanish world No 3 Garbine Muguruza in Wuhan to lift her 47th WTA singles title last month.

Williams also achieved her best Grand Slam record over the past five years with two quarterfinals (Australian and US Opens) and a fourth-round (Wimbledon) appearance this season.

"I definitely still want to be on top. My goal is to continue to work hard to win. I don't have a lot to prove, but I have a lot to work on to meet my own expectations and to do my best every day," she said.

Some younger players have already rushed to the beach for their vacations, but Williams is using every opportunity to keep her body in shape.

While serving as an alternate at the WTA Finals last week, she kept practicing and jogged around Singapore to prepare herself for Zhuhai.

"I was really trying to keep my fitness up, doing some jogging and trying to get ready for this week, because I want to do the best I can," Williams said.

In 2011, she was diagnosed with Sjogren's Disease, an immune system illness that often leaves her exhausted. With the help of a new diet, she has returned to the game's upper echelon and aims to climb even higher.

(China Daily 11/05/2015 page23)