Venus Plans to Play WTT for "as Long You'll Have Me"
Venus Williams of the Washington Kastles, who’s making a return at Eastbourne this week after injury kept her sidelined since the Australian Open, recently spoke about her WTT career.
In her eighth WTT season, Venus expressed a commitment to playing for years to come. “I’ll be at World TeamTennis as long as you’ll have me. If I’m 50 years old, and they let me come, and no one drags me [off the court], I’ll be there,” she said.
WTT’s commitment to promoting gender equality serves as one factor keeping Venus coming back each year. WTT co-founder Billie Jean King often says that World TeamTennis showcases her philosophy on life – men and women contributing equally on a level playing field. “I think Billie Jean sums it up [when she says that], men and women [are] on an equal playing field. That’s not always a reality. I definitely enjoy playing World TeamTennis, not only because it’s for Billie, but also because of the perspective that she has of it,” she said.
Venus, who’s played for a number of WTT teams, including the Philadelphia Freedoms where she helped them win the championship in 2006, spoke about her upcoming match versus the Freedoms on Wednesday, July 6. “It’s tough going back to Philly because I was on that team [in 2006 and 2007],” she said.
Venus recalls a doubles match versus Prakash Amritraj and Courtney Nagle of the Freedoms last year with Leander Paes. Although they lost the set, 5-4, the overall match remained tied at 20 games-all. To decide the outcome of the night, the four players took to the courts again with Venus and Leander edging their opponents 7-3 in a “crazy” Supertiebreaker. For highlights of that match, see WTT’s official YouTube clip Here.
Venus expressed excitement about playing on the same WTT team as her sister Serena. She cited her work with the Southeast Tennis and Learning Center as another benefit for playing in the nation's capital, allowing her to "see the kids more often when I come up to play tennis."
Venus' July 5 home match is also the debut of the Kastles' new stadium, Kastles Stadium at The Wharf. The Stadium marks the first tennis facility in the U.S. with boat-up parking, and the first pro sports venue in D.C. with boat-up parking at Gangplank Arena.
Williams praised the leadership of the Kastles, saying they are “bringing tennis to a new level in D.C., and I think any way to grow the game is crucial.”
Photos: Camerawork USA