Venus prepares for the next chapter
Originally published on: 07/07/10 00:00
Serena may own the bragging stakes in the Williams household right now, but Venus won’t be too concerned. She still has one more Wimbledon title than little sister. And she has a new book to promote.
In Come to win, co-authored with Kelly E Carter, Venus – multiple Grand Slam champion and entrepreneur, as her website has it – explores how the lessons learnt in the sporting arena have prepared some of the world’s leading lights to rise to the top of their professions.
Through interviews with nearly fifty business leaders, poiticians, doctors and artists – including former US President Bill Clinton, NBA legend Magic Johnson, Nike co-founder Philip Knight, actor Denzel Washington and fashion designer Vera Wang – Williams and Carter draw lessons learnt on the court, pitch, track and rink and reveal how they translated to the real world.
“You don't have to be the best, and you may not be the smartest,” says CNN correspondent and former track runner Soledad O'Brien on the similarities between sport and journalism; “You may not be the prettiest, but you can work harder.”
“For both athletes and designers,” according to Wang, who before becoming the youngest editor of Vogue was a nationally ranked figure-skater, “any field where you are judged, you have to continually push yourself out of your comfort zone in order to grow.”
“A lot of them credit sports with helping them get to where they are today,” Williams said. “Whether it's visualising a course of action before it happens, turning losses into learning tools, figuring out who best plays what position in a team environment, or remembering that there is no substitute for preparation.”
The book is aimed at both aspiring professionals – in the business sense – and parents and coaches looking to build confidence and discipline in their children, with insights into the roles of Venus' parents on the careers both both her and sister Serena.
It may seem a fitting time for Williams to turn her attentions to her post-tennis life. The seven-time Grand Slam champion is still a top-ten stalwart and a fearsome opponent, having earned over $2 million in prize money already this year and picking up two titles along the way.
Now aged 30, however, and with a string of off-court interests – she holds a degree in fashion design from the Art Institute of Fort Lauderdale in Florida and has her own clothing line, EleVen, and an interior design firm, V-Starr Interiors, as well a part-ownership of the Miami Dolphins with Serena – Williams is in good shape for her own next chapter. But she’s not turning the page just yet.
“Right now, I’m at the top of the world in my game so my focus isn’t on when I’m going to end,” she recently revealed. “My focus is on playing the best tennis that I can, and there is no end to that.”