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Sun Apr 20 00:09:58 SAST 2014

Pin collector Venus in her element

Steve Griffiths, Sapa-AFP | 01 August, 2012 08:330 Comments
Olympics Day 4 - Tennis
Venus Williams of the United States serves to Aleksandra Wozniak of Canada during the second round of Women's Singles Tennis on Day 4 of the London 2012 Olympic Games at Wimbledon on July 31, 2012 in London, England
Image by: Clive Brunskill / Getty Images

Venus Williams admits adding more Olympic pins to her growing collection made her just as happy as her 6-1, 6-3 victory over Canada’s Aleksandra Wozniak on Tuesday.

Venus had only just finished celebrating her second round win on Wimbledon’s Centre Court when she bounded over to the players’ box with two of the souvenir pin badges given to all competing athletes in her hand.

The 32-year-old gestured towards two men in brightly coloured tracksuits and threw them the Team USA pins.

It transpired that the men were from Bermuda and Bahamas and they gratefully accepted Venus’s gift before answering her request for their pins by throwing two down onto the court.

As she walked off with the souvenirs, Venus wore the broadest smile she has flashed all week and she proudly waved the badges at the laughing crowd.

“I got Bermuda and Bahamas. You’ve got to take advantage while you can,” she said when asked about her public souvenir-hunting.

Venus hasn’t won a Grand Slam since 2008, but she has always thrived at Wimbledon and is clearly determined to emulate her singles success at the 2000 Sydney Games.

The American, who has also won two doubles golds with sister Serena, was far too powerful for Wozniak and took just 63 minutes to set up a last 16 clash with German seventh seed Angelique Kerber, who reached the Wimbledon semi-finals earlier this month.

“Of course, it’s nice to be out here,” Venus said. “Me and Wozniak had a tough match earlier this year. She had match points so I respect her game but I think this surface helped me a lot and, of course, my experience.

“I just want to play well for my country. What bigger reason is there? Of course, I love this surface and I have had so much success here.” 

When Venus, a five-time Wimbledon champion, crashed out against Elena Vesnina in the first round of the grass-court Grand Slam last month, the result was seen as further evidence of the American’s struggles with Sjogren’s syndrome, an auto-immune disease which leaves her fatigued and with painful joints.

But she has looked back to her ferocious best over the last two days in south-west London.

She crushed French Open finalist Sara Errani in the first round and Wozniak, the world number 54 who is actually ranked 15 places about Venus, was clearly out of her depth on Centre Court.

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