14
Jun
11

“By the time you get to the age I am, that’s when you really start to understand the game and you can take advantage of that. So I’m going to stay and take advantage of all my experience.”

Venus Williams, a keen historian of tennis, knows that no woman over 30 has won a grand slam trophy in over two decades. But such a statistic does not concern the statuesque American, especially since recent trends show that those aged around 30 are most likely to succeed. Over the past 13 months, Li Na and Francesca Schiavone have won French Open crowns aged 29, while 28-year-old Kim Clijsters is the U.S. and Australian Open champion and Serena, 29, is the Wimbledon holder. “Tennis has changed a lot. People are now trying to be healthier and everyone’s believing they can play longer. I think the days of retiring at 27 are over,” explained Venus.

Her vow to play on will strike fear into rivals, especially since the Williams sisters have ruled Wimbledon in nine of the past 11 years. Critics have been laying into the women’s game in recent weeks, saying it is suffering an identity crisis as the public at large can barely recognise any of the current top 10. Should either of the Williams sisters triumph at Wimbledon on July 2 after barely playing any match for months, it will again raise questions about the strength of the women’s tour. Venus, however, dispelled suggestions that a Williams’ victory will only highlight the poor state of the women’s game. “If we come back and play well, that’s credit to our games. It’s not easy to win majors because if it was, everyone would be doing it,” said Venus, who expects a low seeding at the grass slam since injury means she is ranked outside the top 30.

“We have dropped ranking points and that’s part of being off but at this point we’re happy to be back, we’re here to play, we’re in the draw and that’s what matters.” (Editing by Mark Meadows; To query or comment on this story email sportsfeedback@thomsonreuters.com)

 

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