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By Richard Pagliaro | Sunday, July 19, 2020

 
Venus Williams

"God willing you will see me in New York," Venus Williams says.

Photo credit: Western & Southern Open Cincy Tennis Facebook

Venus Williams is in a New York state of mind.

Twenty-three years after Venus made the US Open final in her tournament debut, she's determined to return to New York and play the 2020 Open despite the Coronavirus crisis.

More: Serena Commits to Lexington

The US Open is set to start as scheduled on August 31st without fans and with players and coaches ensconced in a safety bubble to reduce the risk of the virus spreading as it did last month on the Novak Djokovic-led Adria Tour.

In a Q&A she conducted on her YouTube channel, Venus opened up on her US Open plans, the tennis connection she misses most and her feelings on playing without fans amid this COVID-19 crisis.

“God willing you will see me in New York," Venus said in response to a fan's question. "If it is safe to play, I really want to play the US Open. A lot of people are asking: what about the crowds? What about the fans?

"The US Open stadium is packed, it’s like 20,000 people or 40,000 people or 60,000 people—it’s a lot of people. And the feeling, the atmosphere there, it’s crazy…You feel like everyone’s your biggest cheerleader there. The US Open, I’m hoping I’ll get to play and gosh I’m hoping I get to do that. I will be there.”



World No. 1 players Djokovic and Ash Barty, defending US Open champion Rafael Nadal, Simona Halep, David Goffin, Kiki Bertens and Petra Kvitova are among the players who have expressed concern about traveling to New York City during the pandemic—and the USTA's safety protocol for the tournament.

Tennis Express

The two-time US Open champion said while she will miss the energy infusion US Open fans provide, she feels it's time to return to work.

“So right now a crowd would be dangerous,” Venus said. “I really want to play tennis. Is that bad? Should I feel guilty about that? I want to go back to work just like most people.

"I want to do what I do well. I don’t want to sit at home and not have that goal, not have that challenge in my life. That’s just very personal. I do believe we have to go back to work. Sports is like every other business or every other job—it’s a job.”

Sister Serena Williams has already announced she will play Lexington and the US Open next month.

The 40-year-old Venus is pumped to play her 22nd US Open and revealed what she's missed most during the sport's shutdown: playing doubles with sister Serena. 



Venus made history in her Olympic debut sweeping gold medals in singles and doubles, alongside Serena, at the 2000 Sydney Olympics.

Twenty years later, the four-time Olympic gold-medal champion is eager to reprise the sisters partnership and make another run at a third US Open doubles title.

“I can’t wait to play doubles with Serena," Venus said. "We have just had a blast on the doubles court. We’ve also had a lot of success.

"One thing I noticed I missed most when I was gone is doubles. I am looking forward to joining her on the doubles court. Also it doesn’t matter who I play and who’s across the net as long as there’s a net and there’s a match, right?”

 

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