Venus set for battles on grass

0 CommentsPrint E-mail Shanghai Daily, June 13, 2011
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For more than a decade the Williams sisters viewed Wimbledon warm-up tournaments as surplus to requirements and they were right as they lifted the Rosewater Dish nine times in 11 years between them.

But health problems, freak accidents and lengthy injury layoffs forced Venus and Serena to cook up a new game-plan this year and they have flown to Britain a week early to make their long-awaited return to tennis at the Eastbourne International.

"...Serena hasn't played in a year and I have played three or four tournaments in a 12-month period so it's crucial for us to play these key matches at this tournament and do this leading to Wimbledon," Venus, who has been out of action with an abdominal strain since January, told reporters on Saturday.

"Normally after the French Open we go home to rest and train and that's been the best for us. But this year the best preparation is to be here. As soon as I missed the French Open, I set my sights on being here," she added.

While injuries have restricted Venus to playing only the majors for over a year, Serena has been sidelined since winning Wimbledon last year after she badly cut her foot on some broken glass in a restaurant. A life-threatening blood clot in one of her lungs further delayed her comeback.

With both sisters now fighting fit, Venus is delighted she can again terrorize opponents with her grasscourt game. "I can't tell you how excited I am to be playing any first round match, anywhere," she said.

Coincidentally, Venus faces Andrea Petkovic of Germany in the first round - her opponent when she retired injured at the Australian Open.

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