Venus Williams

Australian Open Preview

Nine Questions for Venus about the 2013 Australian Open

Q: What is your mindset like going into the Australian Open?
Venus: My attitude now is not about whether I am playing my best or not playing my best. It is about getting out there and making the play. When I am on the court, I try not to get too caught up in things. Obviously if I am hitting really well and it feels great, then perfect. But sometimes you get out there and it is not your best day, but you still have to win. That happens a lot during a tournament. So for me, it is about being ready no matter what.
More than anything the key to winning this tournament is to stay confident and I do that by staying relaxed. My main focus is to stay as relaxed as possible. If you are not relaxed you are not going to make any shot on the court.

Q: What helps you stay relaxed?
Venus: Making the shot! [laughs] Staying relaxed is a mixture of determination, not worrying too much about what is going to happen in the future, and being confident in the moment. It is a lot of different things.

Q: This is one of the few tournaments you have never won. Would it mean something special to win here?
Venus: It would mean a lot to win this event. I have never won it even though I’ve been close. I’ve won the doubles and the mixed doubles but singles is one of the two titles I am missing. It would be awesome to complete it.

Q: From the start of the Hopman Cup to the end of the Australian Open, you will have been in Australia for more than four weeks. What is the worst thing about being away from home for a month?
Venus: Being away from my dogs. I miss the boys. Besides Harold [Venus’ gray Havanese, Harold Reginald Williams], I was taking care of Serena’s dog Chip, who I call Young Chip. I miss those guys. It is OK with me, though. I don’t want to come back early because I want to play in the finals!

Q: What are you going to wear for the tournament?
Venus: I’ll be wearing some of my Spring Collection from EleVen by Venus ( Spring is my third collection and it has been my favorite. I don’t know if I will ever do a better job than this.
I don’t always have a chance to talk to everyone — I don’t read the websites and what have you — but I get compliments from the players about the collection, so hopefully that means I am doing a good job. If my colleagues like it I feel like I am doing something right.

Q: Is it true that you are obsessed with Willy Wonka candy (Nerds, SweetTarts, BottleCaps, Pixy Stix)?
Venus: I love that stuff. I really wanted some candy the other day so I started following Willy Wonka on Twitter. I think my last name is actually Wonka and not Williams. I follow Mike and Ike too. I can resist chocolate but I am all about the sugar. I am trying to be disciplined with my diet, but every day is a new temptation. It is about winning most of the time, so that is what I am doing.

Q: It’s well known that you try to eat raw vegan. Is it hard to eat that way on the road?
Venus: I don’t always eat raw, especially before matches. When you eat raw it is not always enough calories for athletics so I will eat some pasta and bread and rice for energy. I try to eat all natural and organic. That is mostly my focus. It’s easy to find organic fruits, vegetables, rice and pastas in Australia.

Q; How do you keep your mind from thinking about the tournament all day and night?
Venus: I have my different TV series that I watch. Right now I watch Fringe, Once Upon a Time, and Grimm. The Real Housewives is very relaxing (Atlanta is my favorite,) because when you watch it you don’t think. It is escapism for me. Once a program is over I am like, Oh, I am back in the real world now.

Q: What s something about the Australia most people don’t know?
Venus: The weather is temperamental. It can be hot one minute and an hour later it can be cold with the wind blowing. You just never know. You better be ready for all weather. Australia is a whole word away and a whole season away. Even though it is summer here, today it was in the 60s. When I went out to practice this morning it was cold out and it was still cold when I came back at 1:00 PM. In Florida during the summer by 9: 00 AM it is too hot.