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Older players are often smarter, Venus says

Dubai: Former world number one and two-time Dubai champion Venus Williams has credited the ‘older players’ for being smart and clever for success on court in recent times.

Venus’s younger sister, now 32, is the oldest world number one while Venus – who turns 34 this year – has been competitive enough. “It boils down to people being smart about their schedules. They try to play a little bit less. The current champions that are playing now all have played longer and I think this is great for tennis as it keeps the game interesting,” Venus told media here after the official draw ceremony on Saturday.

With umpteen number of hungry youngsters trying to push their way through the rankings, the older lot of players have managed to stay smart and play clever. “There are so many of them [the younger players] and I don’t even know some of them yet. I love to see these newcomers doing great and there is room for everybody to win and be successful,” added the former world number one and seven-time Grand Slam winner.

Venus is a case in point to prove that cliche of “old is gold”. She lost in the Auckland Open final to another former world number one, Ana Ivanovic at the start of 2014 and then bowed out in the opening round at the Australian Open.

Considering that she has had to deal with the rare Sjogren’s Syndrome since 2011, Venus has done an admirable job in putting her playing career back on track. Much of this success, according to her, has been due to eating right: “I try to eat right and I play to a realistic schedule during the season. I went out on court today and felt great. I want to play more now because I think I can,” she said.

“For a few years now I was not able to do as much as I wanted to. I would love to change that this year,” she added.

“I feel great at the moment and the fact that I’m not seeded doesn’t put me under any sort of pressure. It’s quite exciting really as it doesn’t really matter who you play as long as you win and get into the next round,” Venus said.

“A lot of things have happened in my life since the past four years and it’s a big step for me just to be here. I have to just go out there and start playing and winning. There is no other way around that. I enjoy it all,” she added.

“I’ve been dreaming of coming to Dubai for the past four years so that I could try and defend my title here. It hasn’t happened so far and finally I am back.”