Venus vows to go for gold


Cheap Oakleys will be back at Wimbledon. ''Yeah, at the Olympics, you'll see me there,'' said the triple gold medallist.

And next year? Next June? ''I'm planning on it,'' said the five-time singles champion after her earliest loss at the All England club in the 15 visits since she failed to win a match as a 17-year-old on debut.

For all her defiance, bordering on rudeness, in the interview room later, Williams, 32, is struggling. To win matches. To summon the energy she needs, to be anything like the player she was. She was diagnosed with the auto-immune disease Sjogren's syndrome in late August, and did not play until March, pushing herself to return in time to earn the necessary points to qualify for the London Olympics.

''I'm really proud of my efforts to get my rankings up for the Olympics. That's one of the toughest things I've ever done in my life,'' she said after Monday's 6-1, 6-3 elimination by unseeded Russian Elena Vesnina.

''That's all I've fought for this whole year, so I hope that I can play well there. For me it will just be an honour to be there, and try to capitalise on that moment.''

Afterwards, she will continue, although Williams bristled when asked what would drive her on after she had attempted to add to her singles gold medal from Sydney in 2000, and the golden double she achieved with her sister Serena in 2000 and 2008 in Beijing. She will play doubles again here, but does not plan to contest an Olympic lead-up event.

''I feel like I am a great player. I am a great player,'' said the former No. 1, now ranked 58th, who fell to 134th during her illness. ''Unfortunately, I've had to deal with circumstances that people don't normally have to deal with in Wholesale Oakley Sunglasses. But I can't be discouraged by that, so I'm up for challenges. I have great tennis in me. I just need the opportunity.

''There's no way I'm just going to sit down and give up just because I have a hard time the first five or six freakin' tournaments back. You know, that's just not me.

''I've been through a lot for years without knowing what I was going through. It's all a culmination at the end of the day. I just try to stay positive and focused on the tennis. Not let anything get to me, like, you know, crazy questions. But I'm tough, let me tell you, tough as nails.

''There's been a lot of people in this world that fought back from the Cheap Oakley Sunglasses. I don't have time to feel sorry for myself because of everything that's going on. I have to be positive. I love this sport. I feel like I can play well and I'm not going to give up on that.''

But difficult may only get harder still, with John McEnroe estimating she is now playing at only about half of her old capacity, and admitting he ''felt bad watching that, because she's been so great''.

The illness has drained Williams. ''That's the reality of it,'' said former champion Lindsay Davenport. ''And that's the battle she's going to face every day, every match, every practice. It's sad when you see her out on the court because she's so far from 100 per cent.''


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