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Venus Williams talks life beyond the baseline in exclusive interview with Cosmopolitan
At 41 years old, the former No. 1 has quite the resume and she's feeling good about it.
Published Sep 08, 2021
Just under two weeks from her iconic Roland Garros presser that flooded the timelines of tennis fans and beyond, Venus Ebony Starr Williams sat down with Black journalist Sylvia Obell for a couple of hours via Zoom for an exclusive Cosmopolitan interview.
“I know every single person asking me a question can’t play as well as I can and never will," Venus said after being asked how she deals with press at Roland Garros. “No matter what you say or what you write, you’ll never light a candle to me.”
Obell was prepared for Venus to enter the Zoom conversation with that "best in the room" type energy, but instead before she asked her first question, the seven-time major singles champion complimented her work. Sitting there in shock, even thousands of miles between the two couldn't dull Obell's delight. That's Venus for you, always going out of her way with kindness.
"Here was one of the world’s greatest athletes going out of her way to acknowledge the singular thing I do better than she does—the thing that I, too, had to work twice as hard on to meet her at this moment," Obell wrote.
Obell may have been thrown off her game by the compliment, but one thing she wasn't was intimidated. Venus dropped the mic that day in Paris, but as a person of color she felt empowered because it's always refreshing to see a Black woman succeeding and letting the world know it.
At 41 year old, the major champion has won a combined 21 Grand Slam titles between doubles and singles, four Olympic gold medals, she also managed to grab two degrees, and she also has three companies. Venus is not only the queen of the court, but she reigns off of it. This type of resume is impressive for anyone, but it says even more being a Black female athlete.
Even in a "progressive" 2021, many Black female athletes are being dealt unfavorable cards. There was the ban on swimming caps made for natural Black hair at the Olympics, and of course the suspension of Sha’Carri Richardson. Then there was Naomi Osaka who voiced her mental health issues around mandatory post-match pressers, which led to Venus' viral moment.
“I know every single person asking me a question can’t play as well as I can and never will."
“I admire everyone who stands up for what is right, which isn’t easy,” Venus said of Osaka and others to Cosmopolitan. “It takes strength, courage, and vulnerability. I love to see this next generation of players be willing and open to do that regardless of the cost to them."
If it weren't for Venus and her little sister Serena paving the way, Osaka, Coco Gauff, Sloane Stephens and others might not even be on the court vying for titles and speaking up on these issues.
The Cosmopolitan feature on the former world No. 1 dived into her business ventures, the upcoming movie about her journey with Serena to becoming the best tennis players in the world, and her love life. Apparently Venus is often pressed by her family and friends about finding someone special, but Venus is beaming with happiness and is loving the freedom in her life.
“I have a lot of friends who don’t believe me when I say that I like my life and I don’t want to change it for any reason. I’m not desperate and they don’t believe me,” she said about being single.
Venus doesn't need a diamond ring in her life and if she did, she could just buy one herself. She's reaping the benefits of a life that was built on hard work and overjoyed with living life to the fullest. She seems to always carry a smile on her face even if confrontation greets her, she somehow is never fazed.
"Come for me if you want to, but you won't come again," she said.