July 26, 2012
By MATTIAS KARE,
Serena Williams has had enough rest, a week away from the courts. She’s also spent enough time away from Centre Court, and is more than ready to go for another title at Wimbledon.
But whether it’s for three Olympic golds or just two remains to be seen.
Less than three weeks after winning her fifth Wimbledon trophy, Williams is back in London, looking for the only major singles title to escape her. And even though she pulled out of a World Team Tennis match in Washington recently to rest her back before the Olympics, she insisted Tuesday July 24 she's fully fit and ready for a quick return to the All England Club.
“I feel really good going into these Olympic Games, and wanting to do really well,” Williams said at a news conference with the rest of the U.S. team. “I think it’s exciting to be back so soon. Usually we have to wait 12 months to walk back on Centre Court and kind of feel that moment that we felt (at Wimbledon). So for me, I'm going to be really excited with such a quick turnaround and get back on the grass where I love to play.”
The Williams sisters will be defending their gold medal in doubles as well, but it’s still unclear whether either will play mixed doubles. The mixed teams will not be decided until July 30.
Venus said she and Serena have the ability to win all three tournaments, but “we know we have to be in the ultimate fitness level to do so.”
“At the end of the day it’s really up to what our team captains want, and obviously being realistic and seeing who really has the best chance to win because we really want to bring medals home,” Venus said. “So it’s just about the betterment of the team and where we can do the best for USA, so I think that’s what it will boil down to.”
Venus was eliminated in the first round of Wimbledon and is still dealing with the effects of an autoimmune disease that can cause fatigue and joint pain. However, she and Serena still partnered to win the doubles title and are favorites to win a third gold medal together next month.
Serena, for her part, seems to have limitless energy these days, having recovered from her own injury and illness problems that kept her out for nearly a year following her 2010 Wimbledon title. Right after her latest title at the All England Club, she flew back to California to successfully defend her Stanford title the following week. While she then pulled out of her World Team Tennis match, she referred to that on Tuesday as simply “taking a little time off.”
“In order to play a tough schedule you have to kind of prepare your body,” she said. “I was pretty fit at Wimbledon, and (am) continuing that fitness.”
Serena has won 14 major titles and a career Grand Slam, to go with Olympic doubles gold with Venus in 2000 and 2008. A singles gold medal would add even more luster to her collection.
“I think growing up as tennis players we always dream of winning Grand Slams and doing well at tournaments like Wimbledon,” Serena said. “But to have the opportunity to win a gold medal and be mentioned among the great athletes ... it’s an honor. And for me, of every tournament that I won, I really enjoy my (doubles) gold medal probably the most.”
The All England Club will look a lot different, with the traditional all-white dress code not in place. Venus is already doing her best to flaunt some red and blue as well.
She also arrived in London with her hair done up in thin braids, with extensions inserted in various variations of red, white and blue. To that she added plenty of blue eye makeup and bright red lipstick, completing a distinctly patriotic look.
“I’m here to represent the U.S., from head to toe basically. Hair right down to the finger nails,” Williams said. “It’s just so much fun. I think we all find how proud we are of where we come from when these weeks come around. It’s just fun and amazing to just represent, we all feel that way.”