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Venus Williams on Winning

A conversation with tennis superstar Venus Williams.

Venus Williams

Venus Williams

Tennis superstar Venus Williams is one of the most celebrated and familiar sports figures in the world.

With her sister Serena, she came up off the tough courts of LA’s Compton to dominate the glamorous world of women’s professional tennis. Now, the five-time Wimbledon singles winner is 30.

Still playing. Not quitting. Just won the French Open – in style. But she’s also looking beyond the tennis universe, at what she and other athletes do after the glory of the games. And she’s looking back at what shaped her and Serena.

This hour On Point: a conversation with Venus Williams.

Guest:

Venus Williams, tennis legend curently ranked #3 in the world. She has won  41 WTA tour titles, including seven Grand Slams. Her new book is “Come to Win: Busines Leaders, Artists, Doctors, and Other Visionaries on How Sports Can Help You Top Your Profession.”

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  • Lisa

    As another tall African-American female tennis player (6′), I often find it difficult to find tennis outfits that properly fit. Did you design your clothing line to cater specifically towards other “tall” female players? Many times the skirts are simply too short.

  • Peter

    I have been a big fan from your arrival in the pro scene. I was often disgusted by the comments of certain tennis commentators and media folk who clearly were not comfortable with you and Serena crashing the “country club” culture of the sport. How did you deal with such bigotry and do you feel that, with your great success, it has improved?

  • Marya Axner

    I want to appreciate Venus for the stand she took in the Dubai Championships, refusing to play unless Israeli Shahar Peer was allowed to play. She had previously been denied a visa to the United Arab Emirates because she was Israeli. Because of Venus’s stand Peer was granted a visa. Thank you Venus for doing the right thing and standing up for the Jewish people. Your actions were noted.

  • Jim

    Given the cool reception she received when she burst upon the tennis scene, I have always been impressed with the class and self-possession with which Venus carries herself. I would also like to applaud her willingness to be more than just an athlete, to have interests and passions outside the game. A great example for everyone, really.

    Oh, and can she ask all the “grunters” on the female tour to give it a rest? Sharapova, I turn of the TV. She is completely full of it. And herself.

  • WSH

    I echo Jim’s post. I am a 50yr old black male who grew up playing tennis and swimming, not the typical thing for what my counterparts thought I should be doing considering I’M 6’2″. I am very proud of you Venus stay your graceful self.

  • Darci

    I played soccer from the time I was 5, and ultimately played on scholarship for a few years in college. I ended up giving up my scholarship and quitting after 2 years for personal reasons – but not a day goes by that I don’t regret that. Venus represents what I have learned from that situation – which is to never take talent and success for granted and to never quit.

  • Steve T

    I thought watching tennis almost as boring as golf and bowling, their fun to play not to watch. Then Venus plays and I thought wow that was a great match! And I have kept watching thanks to Venus & Sarina Williams.

  • http://www.onpointradio.org Julie

    I would love to know how religion has played into her tennis and life. I understand that she’s very devout.
    Julie

  • http://h Ed

    We are so proud of Venus, your family, and you. You represent well.

    What do you think the USTA and/or the African American community can do to encourage more minorities to get involved in professional tennis at all level, both on the court and off?

  • Sally Strange

    This is a great show! I’ve never been a huge tennis fan, but I do admire Venus for her dedication, her athleticism, her entrepreneurial spirit, and of course her poise and grace. I’m sure she and Serena have brought a lot of people like me who didn’t know much about tennis before, to appreciate it more as a sport.

  • George

    Dear Venus Williams:

    Long time fan. Would like to know how your father coached you when he was not a tennis player and tennis is such a technically rigorous sport.

  • Trish

    Sportsmanship is really important to me and I still haven’t gotten over Serena’s behavior at the US Open. What are your thoughts now about how she acted that day?

  • http://tt Time

    correction—– Venus won 43 wta titles not 41 get it wright please

  • Rick devereux

    Venus is a great champion with 5 Wimbledon and 2 US Open singles titles along with 11 doubles titles with her sister, Serena, including The French Open this year. She did not win the French Open singles in 2010 or in any other year. Serena won Paris once among her 13 singles titles, in 2002 when she won the ‘The Serena Slam’ (all 4 majors in a row). I was amused by the mistake in your introduction when I realized that Venus, if she had heard it and did not correct it, was probably giggling at being credited for a win in Paris that only her sister has. Venus has a nice, sly sense of humor that allows her to get along with her younger, better and more intense sister. When you mentioned during the interview that she had won Paris this year, she seemed about to correct you when you launched into an enthusiastic appreciation of her ‘see-through’ dress. If you are really enthusiastic about that dress or wish your viewers to be able to see it, it is now on display at the International Tennis Hall of Fame in Newport, RI. The Hall is worth visiting for many reasons. I suggest you and BUR send a reporter next year to get the color and the accurate history of the game and it’s greatest players. If you go the week after Wimbledon when tennis enthusiasm is at a high point, you can cover the only grass tournament remaining in the US, the Campbell’s Hall of Fame Championships (an ATP 250 mens tournament).
    - Rick Devereux, WBUR member.

  • http://internetexplorer Ronda McCarroll

    I’m a big fan of Venus and her sister Serena and I have follow their Tennis career since the first time I saw Venus play in the U.S. Open in 1997. Venus you are a very classy young lady who carry herself with style and I love the tennis outfit you wore in the Australian Open and the French Open and I believe the people who were complaining about are the one who know they couldn’t pull it off to wear it. I hope you and Serena can stay healthy because women tennis need you guys because when you two don’t play it not good you two rule in the WTA.

  • Elinor Stone

    I found the interview with Venus Williams to be the best listening I’ve heard in a long time. She seems to be a wonderful young woman who knows how to think She will not be pigeon-holed into any slot whatsoever. I loved it when she talked about what America is in her eyes. She defines herself first as an American. All other descriptions come second, third, fourth etc. What a lesson in priorities.

    I liked her presence too. So cool and smart. Her parents did one great job with her. I think she can handle anything she cares to. I’d love to have her as a friend.

    Elinor

  • Steven Maxwell

    Excellent interview, Venus is definitely a class act!

  • Asha Gupte

    Hi Venus,
    My husband and I have been following you and Serena since the first time you came on the Tennis scene, and have been rooting for both. Everytime yopu loose and play a not good game I am sad. I want to see you win all the time which I guess is not possible, but good luck in life and at the US Open. I hope you meditate before you go on the court.

  • Kurt Foss

    I’m a big OnPoint fan and avid tennis player & watcher, so was thrilled that Tom had Venus Williams on the show. She and Serena are class acts — little sister’s out-of-character tirade at a lines person last year being a blip — and deserve all the recognition they get. As already mentioned above, Tom’s intro implied that Venus had won the French Open singles title this year–winner was actually Francesca Schiavone–but it wasn’t inaccurate since Venus & Serena won the women’s doubles title. In fact, that’s one of the points that doesn’t get enough emphasis: The fact that two top pros not only play doubles in addition to singles in major tournaments, a fairly rare thing in pro circles today, but they enjoy and prosper playing together. Many fans wish more top pros would also play doubles, and also mixed doubles, since doubles is what the vast majority of us weekend warriors play. It was great to hear Venus say that if/when she and Serena stop playing singles, they may continue with doubles. For a future show, you ought to consider talking with another great doubles pair, the twin Bryan Brothers, who just broke the record for career tournament wins (62) by a men’s pair. Both the Williams sisters and the Bryan brothers, and their families, are a credit to their sport … and beyond. Again, I rarely miss an OnPoint podcast, and it was a real treat to have someone from the world of tennis on the show.

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