Serena can't see a life without tennis

Serena Williams (far right) can let her hair down a little in Rio as she has already won Olympic gold. She will compete in singles and doubles with sister Venus (right).
Serena Williams (far right) can let her hair down a little in Rio as she has already won Olympic gold. She will compete in singles and doubles with sister Venus (right).PHOTO: AGENCE FRANCE-PRESSE

RIO DE JANEIRO • Serena Williams has insisted that retirement is not on her agenda as the 34-year-old American superstar targets a sixth Olympic gold medal.

World No. 1 Williams arrives in Rio with a seventh Wimbledon title wrapped up, which allowed her to pull level with Steffi Graf's Open era record of 22 Majors.

But even if she secures a second successive Olympics singles gold and fourth in doubles with sister Venus, she still has no intention of hanging up her racket.

"I love what I do every day and enjoy being on the court. I enjoy competing," said Williams on Wednesday.

"I just don't see a time when I say I don't want to do this anymore. I always give my maximum and that's what I bring to the court."

She won her first Olympic singles gold in London four years ago and then doubled up with Venus.

The sisters had also won doubles gold in Sydney in 2000 and Beijing eight years later.

The only blot on her Games record was having to miss the 2004 Olympics in Athens with a left knee injury.

Williams said she still remembers her maiden gold medal alongside her older sister in 2000 when she was just 18.

"We all dream of the Grand Slams and winning them, but the Olympics are different," added Williams who will be top seed in Rio.

"The first gold medal I won was something I appreciated more than a lot of my trophies.

"It's really great to have another opportunity to win the title. Having won it already definitely takes the pressure off."

The Olympic tennis tournament which starts tomorrow has been hit by a number of high-profile pull-outs.

Five of the top 10 in the men's rankings, including Roger Federer, as well as leading women's stars such as Victoria Azarenka, Maria Sharapova, Simona Halep and Belinda Bencic, are missing.

But Venus, 36, said missing the Olympics was never an option.

"We felt we couldn't say no - we wanted to be here," she said.

AGENCE FRANCE-PRESSE

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on August 05, 2016, with the headline 'Serena can't see a life without tennis'. Print Edition | Subscribe