Diamond And Gold Racket Awaits Venus In Antwerp

by Tripp Mateschitz, venustennis.com correspondent
February 1, 2006

Venus Williams rejoins the WTA Tour at the Proximus Diamond Games which are to be played February 13-19 in Antwerp, Belgium. Williams is 11-1 in Antwerp singles play.

In addition to the standard prize money, the winner of this tournament has a chance to win a spectacular 1,700 diamond and golden full-sized tennis racket valued at 1 million Euros or about 1.07 million dollars.

The jeweled racket will be awarded to the first player to win in Antwerp three out of five years in a row. Venus Williams has won the event twice, taking home the title in 2002 and 2003 before falling in the finals to Amelie Mauresmo in 2005 4-6, 7-5, 6-4. Williams did not play the event in 2004 due to injury.

A win this year by Venus would the golden racket would be hers to claim. Standing in her way will be her sister and former world number one Serena Williams and newly crowned Australian Open champion Amelie Mauresmo of France. Noticeably absent will be US Open champion Kim Clijsters of Belgium who will be forced to sit out the event with an ankle injury and fellow Belgian and Roland Garros champion Justine Henin-Hardenne.

A recent poll we conducted suggested there is a 50-50 chance Serena Williams will withdraw due to injury or various other reasons. Should she not withdraw, Serena could meet Venus in an early round due to her WTA Tour ranking of thirty-nine. But not just rankings points or winning serve as motivation for Venus Williams in Antwerp.

Venus in recent years in Antwerp bought many designer clothes from one of her favorite fashion designers, the world famous Belgian designer Dries Van Noten. Said Williams, "Antwerp is one of my favorite cities. All those beautiful things make me melt. I hope I can take the tournament's trophy home with me.

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