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Venus has designs on the future

February 28, 2003 14:02 IST
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Playing second fiddle to younger sister Serena may finally force Venus Williams off the tennis court but a burgeoning career in design could do the trick first.

The striking American, forced to grow up in front of the cameras, has matured from a callow teenager into a savvy young woman in the last 12 months and these days has more on her mind than forehands and backhands.

Neither she nor her world-number-one sister were cut from the same cloth as their on-court contemporaries, and now, like never before, Venus is making that count.

While still holding down the job of world number two tennis player, and in between polishing her replicas of the four grand slam trophies she has already won at the age of 22, Venus is mapping out a new career as an interior designer.

Already she is chief executive of her company V Starr Interiors, named after her own exotic moniker, Venus Ebone Starr Williams.

She has been spending more and more time 'hands-on' at the company's Palm Beach Gardens headquarters in Florida.

"I go to the office, I pick out fabrics, I take telephone calls, I do all kinds of things," she tells the March edition of ACE tennis magazine.

"I'm a kind of quiet person but if something's not right I have to speak up.

"I want things done a certain way. Everyone working in my firm has to understand how I want the styles done.

"Even the simple things, like how I want the files I want you to respond to e-mails. I'm so particular."


It is precisely that attention to detail that netted Venus two Wimbledon titles and two U.S. Open crowns in 2000 and 2001.

It has kept her top of the tennis tree and it would appear that only Serena is capable of beating her.

That vulnerability to her sister -- Serena has beaten Venus in the last four grand slam finals -- may drive Venus into design sooner than she had planned, it being one arena where Serena comes second.

"I'm the kind of person who plans things, who organises things until the last step," Venus says. "And I know nothing can go wrong."

Certainly she has done her homework.

While on the WTA Tour she says she developed an eye for interiors "staying in fancy hotels, shopping at pricey stores and visiting historical places".

She is already certified as an interior decorator and this year is due to graduate with a degree in fashion design from the Art Institute at Fort Lauderdale.

Her company motto boasts "Your wish is our design".

Whenever Venus does decide to trade the tennis court for the boardroom, this remarkable member of a most remarkable family is sure to make an impact.

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