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Fri Apr 25 09:00:55 SAST 2014

I have no plans to quit, says Serena

Reuters | 24 June, 2012 09:270 Comments
Pre-Wimbledon Party
Serena Williams attends the pre-Wimbledon party at Kensington Roof Gardens on June 21, 2012 in London, England
Image by: Stuart Wilson / Getty Images

Serena Williams has good news for women’s tennis — she has no plans to quit the sport and neither, as far as she knows, does sister Venus.

“I have no intention of stopping, and I don’t think she does either,” the 13-times grand-slam winner who, with her older sister has been one of the biggest characters in women’s tennis for a decade and a half, said on Saturday.

“I enjoy being out there on the court so much and I’ve been having so much fun, so it’s been great.”

Despite her upbeat language, the 30-year-old American, who made a shock first-round exit at the French Open last month, seemed gloomy at a news conference at Wimbledon where she will begin the task of trying to win a fifth title next week.

Venus, who already has five, has slipped down the world rankings since being diagnosed with an autoimmune disease. She lasted until the second round at Roland Garros but Serena’s opening-match defeat by Frenchwoman Virginie Razzano was the biggest upset of the tournament.

Serena, dressed all in black and less talkative than usual, said on Saturday that the Paris loss would not affect her confidence for Wimbledon, which begins on Monday.

“I think losing makes me even more motivated,” said Serena, who will play Czech Barbora Zahlavova Strycova in the first round.

“Every experience to me is a learning experience. If you don’t learn from it then it will keep happening, so...”

Serena, ranked sixth in the world, said Wimbledon was always a special tournament for her and she was excited about the idea of defending her Olympic doubles title with Venus on the same courts in July and August.

“That would be great if we had an opportunity to play doubles again. I guess we’re defending doubles Olympic champions, so it’s kind of cool.”

Arriving in London had whetted her appetite for the Games even more, the former world number one said.

“It’s getting closer and closer and I’m getting more excited. I was in London yesterday and I saw a guy with a USA jacket on. I was like, ‘Oh, man, this is really happening’.

“It’s a great feeling, and I love that feeling. So I’m getting little butterflies in my stomach.

“I played two Olympics, which is pretty awesome, and have two gold medals, which is even better.

“It’s just an experience I never thought I would have. As a tennis player you get to play grand slams, which you get to play every other week it seems. You don’t think about the Olympics. It’s just an added bonus.”

When the day finally did come to quit, would it be hard to fill the hole that tennis would leave in her life, Serena was asked.

“Probably, yeah, but you have to make adjustments, for sure,” she said. “Who knows, maybe I’ll become a rock star.”

Did she have any plans in that direction? Serena allowed herself a rare smile. “No chance,” she said.

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