Not being in the best of health is nothing new to Venus Williams, who is battling a bug at this week's Family Circle Cup. She said her goal this week is to "hang in there" until the bug goes away. She managed to thwart Chanelle Scheepfers, 7-5, 7-5, Wednesday to advance.
Williams missed much of last season while battling injury, but earlier this year she won her 45th singles title at the Dubai Tennis Championships.
"I was constantly in physical therapy," Williams said of her 2013 season. "It was really hard work, hours and hours and hours. By the time the end of the year came, I felt like I had been on tour all year even though I hadn't."
Williams, 33, said a lot of what she is accomplishing comes from experience, and she learned from her young sister Serena.
"Have you seen the 'Wizard of Oz,' the lion? He didn't have a heart but he wanted it. So he got it. He did what it took," she said. "You have to recognize, 'Hey, I've got this issue.' Let me fix it. You can't just ignore it. I think for me it was a learned thing."
Her advice to younger players is not to make excuses.
"Whatever it takes to win, obviously in a fair way, you have to do that," she said. "I think a lot of times people aren't responsible for their own actions, and in sport you want to be the best you have to be.
"Just knowing what you've given to be on top, that is satisfaction itself and it crosses over into the rest of your life as well."
From the category "questions you never thought you'd hear at a professional sports event" but did Wednesday night after No. 2 seed Jelena Jankovic finished her match.
"Bit of a random question. I heard you say that you stopped wearing makeup on court. Is that right?" someone asked Jankovic.
After laughing, Jankovic said she's getting older and only puts makeup on when she goes to parties or somewhere she wants to look nice.
"Here, I want to look like a beast. I just want to look as scary as possible. I don't want to look pretty and all nice and dolled up. For what? I'm going to get dirty and sweaty," she said, laughing.
"I'm just getting older. I have no energy for that anymore."
Jankovic said she thought it was important to look presentable on the court.
"You know, you kind of go through those stages where you have to try all different things, you want to look different. You want to be this and that, and now I'm kind of growing into who I am, and I don't know, just things are changing as I'm getting older. So now it's when I go to the parties, I put the makeup and I want to look different. Then when I put the makeup, I'm like, 'Oh, wow, I look different,' you know.
"So it's nice to see that different face in the mirror when if you put it every day, you get bored. I kind of figured that out. I put sunscreen on court, maybe some lip gloss."
Happy Hour music
Tennis and music fans can enjoy Happy Hour from 4-8 p.m. inside the Racquet Club of the Grand Lawn the next two days with Plane Jane performing Thursday and the Blue Dogs playing Friday.
Attendance numbers climbed slightly through four days of the Family Circle Cup with the total through five sessions at 31,629, an average of 6,326. Last year's total through four days was 31,499.
To equal the FCC record of 95,767 (set over 14 sessions in 2010), the tournament must average 7,367 fans over 13 sessions.
Williams would love nothing more than to add her name to the list of Family Circle Cup champions a decade after winning. And she spoke to the legacy of the "Original 9," players who helped form what would become the Women's Tennis Association. The first Family Circle Cup winner was Rosemary Casals in 1973, seven years before Williams was born.
"The Original 9, they started it all, and they represented so much not only for tennis, but women's sports in general over 40 years. It means so much to be continuing that legacy," Williams said.
In addition to Casals, the Original 9 included Billie Jean King, Nancy Richie, Peaches Bartkowicz, Kristy Pigeon, Valerie Ziegenfuss, Julie Heldman, Kerry Melville Reid and Judy Tegart Dalton.
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