Tennis matches at the 2012 Summer Olympics in London begin on July 28. On Sunday night, Venus Williams was still stateside as she took the court with the Washington Kastles.
She did, however, leave midway through the match in order to catch her late-night flight to London so she could represent the United States in the torch relay on Monday.
Williams, who will be making her fourth Olympic appearance in a row, is looking forward to her upcoming matches and thinks her time with the Kastles has helped her stay fresh.
"I walked out here and hit some balls at practice today [Sunday] and I felt clean," said Williams. "I'm hoping I can take that same feeling tonight and right through the Olympics."
After being part of a thrilling super-tiebreaker to seal a comeback win in Saturday night's Kastles match in Albany, N.Y., Williams says it helps her going into the Olympics.
"I'm hoping that [Saturday] prepped me for some high pressure situations," said Williams. "It's great to be in hairy situations like that. It just builds confidence."
Williams has won three gold medals at the Olympics, the most of any female tennis player. She is giddy with anticipation of arriving at Olympic Village and already has red, white and blue on her body.
"I've been so excited for the Olympics for so long that I'm going all out with hair, nails, attitude, everything," said Williams.
The thing she is most looking forward to, though, is partaking in her favorite hobby — pin trading.
"I'm a big pin trader," said Williams. "I'll be trading as soon as I get on that plane and as soon as I land in London, so I'm very excited."
Not only is Williams a tennis star, but she is also involved in various business ventures.
She is the chief executive officer of V Starr Interiors (her own interior design firm), she launched her own fashion line ‘EleVen', she has partial ownership in the Miami Dolphins with her sister Serena, and also owns three Jamba Juice locations in the D.C. and Maryland area.
Playing with the Kastles in D.C., she had the opportunity to go visit her Dupont Circle location.
"I went to see my team at Jamba Juice," said Williams. "It's been such a short time since opening and they were excited to see me and [me] just being able to see the team was great."
Venus was not originally scheduled to play in Sunday's Kastles match, her sister Serena was. However, a couple days before the match, Serena pulled out to rest her back before the Olympics.
"I'm actually here as Serena Williams." said Venus. "I don't look any different than Venus, but I'm actually Serena."
As a doubles team, Venus and her sister have won 13 grand slams and two Olympic gold medals. She has cemented herself as a female tennis legend and wants to leave a lasting mark on the game.
"In terms of my legacy, it's so important to give back," said Williams. "For me to be able to leave the game and know it's grown because I've been in it and that more people are involved … that's the most important thing."
Williams won both of her matches in the Kastles' 25-8 victory over the Kansas City Explorers at Kastles Stadium at The Wharf. She teamed up with Anastasia Rodionova to win 5-1 in doubles, and then won by the same score in her singles match. With the win, the Kastles extend their unbeaten streak to 26 matches. ...
Williams isn't the only one who is leaving the Kastles for the Olympics. Leander Paes will be representing India in his sixth Olympics, while Anastasia Rodionova will be representing Australia.
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