Venus plans 20th anniversary Wimbledon return

2016-07-08 16:07
Venus Williams (Getty Images)

London - Venus Williams insists she will be back at Wimbledon in 2017 to celebrate the 20th anniversary of her first appearance, even if she will be 37 by then.

The five-time champion was this year the oldest woman to reach the semi-finals since Martina Navratilova in 1994 but failed to set-up a final with sister Serena when she was defeated by Angelique Kerber.

"I would love to (be back in 2017). It's all in the plans. If it's different, I'll be sure to let you know," said.

Venus made her professional debut back in 1994, losing in the second round in Oakland to Arantxa Sanchez-Vicario.

Her Wimbledon bow followed in 1997, the 17-year-old American losing in the first round to Poland's Magdalena Grzyboswka.

Contemporaries such as Lindsay Davenport and Justine Henin are long retired, but Venus says quitting is not on the cards.

"Well, when you're an athlete, you're not out here thinking about your age. You're thinking about what you can accomplish," she said.

"Perhaps people will think of it more that way. I'm in a good place."

Despite her semi-final loss - her deepest run at Wimbledon since she was runner-up to Serena in 2009 - Venus still has big dreams.

Just moments after losing to Kerber on Thursday, she was back out on the court to partner her sister in the women's doubles.

Victory over Elena Vesnina and Ekaterina Makarova gave them a semi-final match-up with Julia Goerges and Karolina Pliskova on Friday.

Both sisters see the tournament as key preparation for the Rio Olympics next month.

Venus also sees herself with time to make up after being struck down in 2011 with Sjogren's syndrome, an illness that causes fatigue and joint pain,

In her absence, her world ranking slumped to 103.

The last of her seven majors came at Wimbledon in 2008.

But she is still competitive, keen to add to her 49 singles titles and 21 doubles trophies.

In the third round at Wimbledon, she outlasted Russia's Daria Kasatkina, almost half her age, 10-8 in a gruelling final set.

Longevity is also a common theme in modern tennis.

The average age of the four semi-finalists this year was 31 years, 9 months which was the highest average for a Grand Slam semi-finalist in the Open era.

"In life there is no such thing as impossible. It's always possible. That's what you feel as an athlete," added Venus.

"Pretty much our job is to make the impossible happen every day. It's like magic, you know. I like that. I like to think that people will continue to play a long time."

And her overall motivation to keep going as she settles into her late 30s?

"Winning matches. Duh!"

Read more on:    wimbledon  |  venus williams  |  tennis

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