Dubai: Former world number one and new Dubai champion Venus Williams has cautioned the women’s tennis world to be on the look out for a “better, smarter Venus”.
Minutes after bagging her 45th career singles crown at the Dubai Duty Free Women’s Open with an emphatic 6-3, 6-0 win over Frenchwoman Alize Cornet, Venus confided that she is nearly back to her very best.
“Winning all those Grand Slam titles and playing deep and getting to the final so many times are amazing accomplishments. It takes a lot of nerve, takes a lot of mental prowess, so I’d like to think I’m on that path. I’m not looking to do anything I did in the past, because I already did that. I’m looking to improve and be a better, smarter Venus,” Venus said.
“I think obviously this week is a step. Every week for me is a step. For me, I think just a lot of match toughness, mental toughness,” she added.
The final was closely contested at least at the start. In fact, Cornet made the early breakthrough to nudge ahead 2-1. But Venus just dug in and broke back.
“When things got tough, I definitely got going this week. If I was down breakpoint, when push came to shove, I was pushing and shoving, I guess. But I think that I just improved so much. I’m just playing bigger points and converting. That’s what I needed to be able to do,” Venus said.
“That takes time for any player, took time for me to continue to learn how to do that, put myself in the position and then finally start getting across the finish line,” she added.
Venus joined Belgium’s Justine Henin as the only player to win in Dubai at least three times. This was the elder Williams sister’s 45th career crown and her third Dubai title, extending her match-winning streak to 15 here. The American, who will now jump from No. 44 to No. 29 on Monday’s weekly WTA Rankings, promised she will be back next year to defend her title here.
“Next year, I’d definitely love to come back. I was saying earlier in the week that I couldn’t even come before. So just to be able to be here and compete was the first thing that made me so happy. And then obviously to play well, win the title and have this wonderful streak here is definitely an accomplishment,” she accepted.