Venus avenges sister's defeat

STEVE SIMMONS -- Toronto Sun

, Last Updated: 7:44 AM ET

LONDON -- That Venus Williams is one weird woman.

It's hard to know whether she's vacant, bored or merely an actress of some substance.

It's hard to know whether she's a serious contender for the women's championship here or an athletic tease who is gifted but rarely seems to measure up.

Yesterday, Williams all but danced on the grass of Wimbledon, smiling wide and celebrating after absolutely trouncing fellow American Jill Craybas 6-0, 6-2 -- the same Craybas who two days earlier had knocked Venus' sister, Serena, out the tournament. But when questioned about it just a few minutes after her win, Venus Williams came down with an apparent case of amnesia.

'MOSTLY FOR ME'

"Did I?" she answered, when told she looked overjoyed with her victory. "Um, well, it was nice being out there ... I definitely would like to, you know, do it a little bit for my sister, but mostly for me."

She then went on to talk about how many scarves all of her sisters steal from her, how much she likes scarves, how hard it is to comb her hair, how she'd rather run track than watch tennis, just about anything to avoid talking about what has happened to her career since she peaked as a professional several Grand Slams ago.

When asked the difference between coming in to a tournament expected to win and coming in, like at Wimbledon, where she's nobody's favourite, she answered: "What's the question?"

When it was repeated, she said: "It's all good. I feel like I'm always in a good position."

It may be all good until today. The thing is, with Venus Williams, seeded 14th here, you never know.

By all rights yesterday, she should have been playing against her sister: The easy draw came only because her sister has let herself go on the way to stardom away from tennis.

It's funny how things turn out. When Venus first started on the women's tour, she was longer, more athletic, more aggressive than almost anyone she played against.

She was the first of the tennis-playing Williams sisters to win Wimbledon, not once but twice, yet it seemed as soon as Serena became dominant, Venus, rather than compete, became passive.

Now, with Serena on the downside, this can be Venus' time again. All she has to do is play to her own lofty level.

She takes on Mary Pierce today in one quarter-final and should she advance, then likely the only thing between Venus Williams and her first slam final in two years would be defending champion Maria Sharapova.

"I don't know if I ever played her on grass," Williams said of Pierce. "I don't think so.''

And then she said: "It's not good to think too much."


Videos

Photos