Venus Williams reveals why she fears playing exhibition matches
Former Wimbledon champion Venus Williams took centre stage for the opening of Wimbledon’s revamped No.1 court on Sunday, but the American admits she broke one of her own rules by taking part in an exhibition match against former world No 1 Kim Clijsters.
Williams broke away from her preparations for the French Open to set foot on the grass courts at the All England Club and she revealed why she rarely accepts invitations to take part in tennis matches away from the main WTA Tour.
— Venus Williams (@Venuseswilliams) May 19, 2019
“I never really play well in exhibition matches because I’m always quite nervous because I play so badly, but this was a lot of fun,” she said. “It was great to not only be out here for the opening but for a great cause. This is a once in a lifetime opportunity.
“It was surreal being back at Wimbledon outside of the tournament. It made me actually really grateful to be able to play this game and have some reflection over the years. When you’re here for the tournament you don’t think you’re stressed but you are. Today I smiled the whole time during the match. It was a great experience.
“You hear that echo of the ball and you hear the crack when the roof is on. It is like a whip and it’s very impressive to hear that sound. The orchestra… I hope they keep that for the tournament – it’s amazing! It was a very, very special vibe.
“I remember my first time playing here and I played on Court One. I played on Saturday in the tournament instead of Monday as scheduled. That was six days waiting to play so you are definitely going to see a huge difference in getting the matches through.
“It was so nice because I could enjoy the reception from the crowd. During the tournament, you’re going over your last moments of the game plan and it’s so intense but today I just got to smile and enjoy it and this opportunity doesn’t come along often as you get to walk out on court at Wimbledon in front of a crowd and actually smile.”
Williams beat Clijsters in an entertaining encounter, as she admitted her opponent could still compete on the WTA Tour.
“She was hitting the ball so cleanly,” added Williams of mother-of-three Clijsters. “It was great to get out there with Kim and there is no doubt she could still win matches on the tour if she got some practice in.”
Follow Kevin Palmer on Twitter @RealKevinPalmer
More from Tennis365:
Andy Murray fails to back up epic Antwerp win as he bows out in second round to Diego Schwartzman
The Scot was unable to take advantage of an early lead.
WATCH: Emma Raducanu ‘very excited’ about Upper Austria Ladies Linz as she releases new video
The 18-year-old pulled out of this week’s VTB Kremlin Cup in Moscow.
WATCH: Serena Williams and Venus Williams joined by Will Smith as they reveal new King Richard trailer, and song by Beyonce
Grab the popcorn for the new King Richard trailer.
Andy Murray not a fan of changes to Wimbledon mixed doubles schedule as he suggests further tweaks
Andy Murray believes changes will have a knock on-effect on quality of the field.
Flavia Pennetta on Emma Raducanu winning US Open as a qualifier: ‘In my day it would never have happened’
“In my opinion it is not good for tennis,” says Flavia Pennetta.
Cameron Norrie on Emma Raducanu’s ‘utterly incredible’ US Open win: ‘It will inspire the next generation’
“It’s huge for British tennis,” says Cameron Norrie.
Officials at odds over whether or not rules should be tweaked to allow Novak Djokovic to compete at Australian Open
Should rules change to allow Novak Djokovic to compete?
‘That’s why I play this game,’ says Frances Tiafoe as he also salutes ‘true inspiration’ Andy Murray
Frances Tiafoe is “still hurting” after Antwerp clash, but he took time out to pay tribute to Andy Murray.
Andrey Rublev set for vaccine U-turn after officials confirm players need to be vaccinated for Australian Open
“I’ll get vaccinated,” says Andrey Rublev.
Cameron Norrie reveals his parents were walking the dogs during Indian Wells final, but ‘were in tears’ after win
Cameron Norrie on his nervous parents and reaping the benefits.