Venus Williams has had a good summer, but not in the sipping-a-fruity-cocktail-on-the-beach kind of way. No, hers has gone more like this: become the 2008 Wimbledon champion, win an Olympic gold medal (in tennis doubles with her sis, Serena, natch), design the spring collection for EleVen (the brand she launched with retailer Steve & Barry’s in 2007), and expand V Starr Interiors (her own interior design firm). So what more could a girl ask for? The U.S. Open crown, for one. Currently ranked number eight on the Sony Ericsson WTA Tour, the Powerade-Wilson-American Express-sponsored Williams has her first match on Tuesday. While she’s far from well-rested, she says she’s feeling good and excited to not only play, but also show off her latest outfit (think: fuchsia-and-black bodysuit). There’s just one slight problem. “I usually have matching jewelry but I left it in L.A.,” she says. “I guess I’ll have to do some last-minute shopping in the city.”
W: Congratulations on your Olympic gold with Serena. Have you had any time to relax?
Venus Williams: Not really. I had to start practicing immediately the next day, but I’m, you know, living the dream. You gotta do it.
W: At Wimbledon, you hit your fastest serve ever: 129 mph. What speed are you aiming for at the U.S. Open?
VW: I’d love to hit 130 but we’ll have to see. Sometimes when you try to hit harder, it goes slower because you’re muscling it. When it happens, your arm has to be like a whip–nice and loose.
W: Will you be wearing EleVen at the U.S. Open?
VW: I sure will. I’m wearing a bodysuit this year, with a skirt over it. It’s bright pink and black with a rectangles print on it. I’ll also be wearing the Goddess dress that I wore at Wimbledon, but this time in fuchsia and in black. And with matching shoes–they’re black and pink, too.
W: What can we expect from your next collection for spring?
VW: Bigger prints and more prints. I was inspired by a lot of the designers’ collections from fall, like watercolors and things like that.
W: When not wearing EleVen, what can we find you in?
VW: All I do is wear EleVen; you can’t find me in anything else.
W: Really? So you’re wearing it right now?
VW: No, actually, I’m wearing Diane von Furstenberg!
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Above: The Venus Williams-designed EleVen outfits that she’s wearing at
this week’s U.S. Open. Sketch courtesy of Steve & Barry’s.