Defending champion Venus Williams has admitted that she has made things harder for herself while pushing the limits of women’s tennis.
Williams took a little over an hour while dispatching Switzerland’s Belinda Bencic in the opening round in Monday’s last match on centre court and set up a mouth-watering battle against Lucie Safarova, a 6-7, 7-6, 7-5 winner against wild card Casey Dellacqua.
The older of the Williams sisters is in pursuit of Justine Henin’s record of four titles in Dubai. Williams won the title in 2009, 2010 and last year, while missing out on a possible title in her debut year in 2002 where she lost to Sandrine Testud.
Her exploits, however, remain unmatched by any of the women in the Open era, most often making her the player to idolise. “I guess I made it harder for myself. I have played so well. But definitely because if you’re a player and you see someone doing something well, you realise if I want to do better, I have to keep up. The whole level of the bar goes up,” Williams told media after her late night match on Monday.
“I like to think and hope I’m still part of the reason that the bar is going higher. Once I’m at home and watching it on TV one day and hopefully not commentating I will be like, man, I can’t keep up with these girls. They’re too good,” she added.
Getting past the age of 30 has been a sort of revelation for both Venus and sister Serena as both have played some astonishing tennis, raising the bar even higher. And Venus revealed that she does not actually spend as much time on court now than what she did before.
“I have never spent a tonne of time on the practice court. Not that I don’t get the work in, but I stopped practising twice a day like when I was about 20 or 21,” she revealed.
This, she insisted, was part of a plan to stay longer in the sport. “That could possibly be a part of longevity, as well, because the more hours you put in the body, it’s not normal to hit a thousand forehands a day. So I think as you start to get older, if you want to have a longer career, then you’ve got to start thinking about quality over quantity,” she added.
However, one thing is certain: none of the athleticism comes easy. “It’s because of genetics. And, yeah, I think a lot of that comes natural. I have to work on it. I have different weaknesses than someone who is smaller. As a tall person it’s easy for me to get slow if I don’t work on it. I don’t let that happen, so I’m constantly working on my agility and my movement,” she said.
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