Tennis champ Williams relies on her winning experience

Updated: 2015-11-25 00:18


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Tennis champ Williams relies on her winning experience 

WTA Elite Trophy tournament champion Venus Williams (left) and runner-up Karolina Pliskova at the award presentation in Zhuhai. 

The physical nature of professional tennis often seems to go in favor of young aces, but Venus Williams' game has matured with age like a fine wine.

After more than two decades on the professional circuit, she has continued to play with no signs of slowing down, proven by her recent victory at the WTA Elite Trophy tournament in Zhuhai.

The 35-year-old overcame a tough challenge to outplay much younger opponent Karolina Pliskova from the Czech Republic, winning 7-5, 7-6 in the final on Nov. 8 and lifting her 48th career title to finish her remarkable season as the world No. 7.

"It's a great thing to be in the top 10 now with the level of the game, but at the same time I'm still very hungry. I'm ready for more," said Williams, who turned pro in 1994. "I've had so many experiences in tennis that I still expect a lot from myself. So I'm very happy to be moving forward. I want to continue and not stop here."

As the year-end mandatory tournament on the WTA Tour, the Zhuhai tournament featured 12 elite players competing in a round-robin group stage, with each group winner advancing to the semifinals.

Drawn in Group A with compatriot Madison Keys and Chinese youngster Zheng Saisai, Williams said she counted on her experience rather than her athleticism.

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

Having dominated the women's game with her sister, Serena, by winning seven Grand Slam titles on her own, the elder Williams sister has lost none of her competitive edge and regularly faces fresh-faced opponents who were barely taller than a racket when she turned pro.

Williams outlasted Danish former world No. 1 Caroline Wozniacki in a three-set final to win her season-opening tournament in Auckland, New Zealand, before beating young Spanish world No. 3 Garbine Muguruza in Wuhan, Central China, to lift her 47th singles titles last month.

The tennis star also achieved her best Grand Slam record over the past five years with two quarterfinals — the Australian Open and U.S. Open — and a fourth-round Wimbledon appearance this season.

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