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Rediff.com  » Sports » Billie Jean urges Venus to use her 'wingspan'

Billie Jean urges Venus to use her 'wingspan'

June 27, 2003 20:35 IST
Six-times Wimbledon champion Billie Jean King says Venus Williams would return to the Grand Slam winners' circle if she used her "wingspan" more.

Venus, twice champion at the grasscourt Grand Slam and twice U.S. Open winner, has not won one of the four major tournaments since her 2001 U.S. crown, despite reaching four finals since then -- all lost to younger sister Serena.

Earlier this month she bowed out of the fourth round of the French Open but at that time she was suffering from a stomach injury.

This week she is back at Wimbledon and looking more like her old self.

On Friday, King had some advice for her U.S. Fed Cup team member.

"Obviously, at the French she had that abdominal pull. She came into the French without any practice at all," King said.

"Since then ... she's had chances to practise and to train, and I think you're going to see much better results from her at Wimbledon.

"So far I like what I see. But I think with Venus, if she could just go to net more often. Everyone, including the media, keep telling her, so it would just be nice to see her go to net more often with that wingspan.

"WONDERFUL HUMAN"

"She really does volley well. That would be the only thing I'd like to see more of.

"It looks like her serve is better, and her forehand is finally more consistent than it was during the French."

King said she had been working with Venus on that element of her game in her role as U.S. Fed Cup captain.

"Actually, in one of the Fed Cups at Stanford, she ended up losing the match. She was up a set and 4¨ü1. We had already won.

"I said, 'Well, you can either just worry about winning, or do you want to practice on what we've been working on?'. That was going to net at appropriate times.

"She actually did try to go up quite a bit. Sometimes she went at the right time, sometimes not. But she certainly was trying to do the right things.

"Venus is extremely receptive. She is very respectful, very receptive. She is a really wonderful human being."

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