Venus Williams’s 6-foot-1 frame towered over the group of about 60 children that sat at her feet Wednesday afternoon following a kid’s tennis clinic for the Washington Kastles at George Washington University’s Smith Center.
Eyes wide and grins plastered across their faces, they were captured by tennis star’s presence.
“How old do you think I am?” Williams asked.
“Fifty-six!” one kid shouted.
Williams hunched over and let out a laugh. She may have dug her own grave on that one. Eventually someone guessed the correct age: 38.
“And how old you think I was when I started playing tennis,” Williams said. She was 4.
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She has been playing tennis for 34 years — 24 as a professional. Williams is constantly asked about her age and longevity. She is the oldest player ranked in the WTA top 100 — and, currently at No. 14, is the highest-ranked player age 31 or older.
Why is she still playing? How long does she plan on playing? Are the Olympics something she thinks about?
Her answer to the first question is simple: “The winning never gets old in any form,” Williams told reporters at a news conference later Wednesday. “It’s just addictive.”
She doesn’t necessarily know the answer to the second question. But the answer to third is clear.
“It’s my goal to take up another Olympic spot,” Venus Williams told reporters, followed by a loud applause by the people around her. “And it’s not a given. I have had a lot of tremendous opportunities at the Olympics. No one gives you anything. You go and you take it. It’s such a beautiful experience. I hope, God willing, I will be there and it will be another climax in my career.”
Venus Williams has two years to prepare for the 2020 Tokyo Olympics. Right now, her focus is on next month’s U.S. Open.
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