| LONDON, July 24
LONDON, July 24 Venus and Serena Williams have
opted for the comfort of a Wimbledon hotel over the athletes'
village and might miss the opening ceremony but the tennis
siblings were still able to soak up some of the London Olympic
experience on Tuesday.
Soon after arriving in the English capital, the Williams
sisters and their United States team mates got a taste of
Olympic traffic gridlock, delaying their pre-Games news
Everyone then had a good chuckle at the expense of doubles
partners and brothers Bob and Mike Bryan, who were denied entry
into the Olympic media centre for not having validated
Serena, still basking in the glow of her fifth Wimbledon
singles title, quickly made it clear, however, that she was not
back in London for a few laughs, but for medals.
If the 14-time grand slam winner can claim the women's gold
she would become the only player to win all four slams, plus
singles and doubles gold.
"It's exciting to be back so soon, usually we have to wait
12 months to walk back on to centre court," Serena, who will set
up camp with her sister and the rest of the U.S. tennis team at
a hotel near Wimbledon, told the news conference.
"For me, I'm going to be really excited to have such a
quick turn-around and get back on the grass where I love to
Since rejoining the Summer Games programme in 1988 after a
64-year absence, tennis and the Olympics have not always been a
comfortable fit, with many players putting a grand slam victory
ahead of a gold medal.
Wimbledon and the Olympics, two ancient sporting
institutions, will come together, however, at the All England
"Growing up as tennis players you always dream of winning
grand slams and doing well at tournaments like Wimbledon," said
Venus, who will defend the doubles title with her sister.
"To have an opportunity to win a gold medal and be mentioned
among all the great athletes, that's an honour."
Between them, Serena and Venus have won 10 singles titles on
Wimbledon's manicured lawns along with five doubles crowns, the
most recent three weeks ago.
They have never lost as a doubles partnership at an Olympic
Games, taking gold in 2000 and 2008, while Venus also has a
singles gold in her trophy case from Sydney.
There is also the possibility of a Williams playing mixed
doubles and adding to their medal haul. The U.S. will not
confirm their mixed doubles teams until next Tuesday.
After pulling out of her World Team Tennis commitments to
rest a sore back last week, Serena had more bad news for her
opponents, saying she was back to full fitness.
"I think when we first heard about mixed that we wanted to
play for all three and knew we would really have to be at the
ultimate fitness level to do so," said Venus. "But at the end of
the day it's going to be what our team captains want.
"Obviously we're interested in seeing who could have the
best chance to win because we really want to bring medals home.
"It's about the betterment of the team and what would be the
best for the USA."
(Editing by Clare Fallon)