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LONDON - Richard Williams cannot wait to fly home from Wimbledon before next week's women's final because that would mean his daughters facing each other again.
He always finds it too painful to watch them do battle. He was halfway across the Atlantic when Venus beat Serena in last year's Wimbledon showdown to land her fifth title.
"When they play each other I will never ever watch," he said.
For Richard Williams, ignorance is bliss.
"I always tell the captain on the flight home when Venus and Serena are playing each other, 'Please don't tell me'. As soon as I got off the aircraft, I was walking through the terminal when someone said 'Heh, Venus beat her sister'," he said.
An early flight home would suit him just fine. The sisters are already through their first-round matches and concentrating hard on pulling off a repeat clash in the 2009 final.
"I would like to be back on that airplane again. That would be real good for me," he said.
"They are both doing very well this year. I couldn't pick a winner between them," he said of second-seeded Serena and number three seed Venus.
Williams slapped down any suggestions that women's tennis was going through a rough patch with a dearth of consistent performers.
"I think that is very unfair and unkind for anyone to make a statement like that. I wonder how that person or persons who write something like that would feel if it was their daughter," he said.
But Williams, who revels in mixing with the crowds at Wimbledon and chatting amiably to fans, did feel strongly that the players were suffering from burnout.
"No child should be pinned down, running from country to country, from state to state. I wouldn't do it," he said.
"If you go back and look at Martina Hingis, Justine Henin, you look at Kim Clijsters and other girls. Why is it they had to quit at 25? Tennis has burned you out, tennis will kill you.
"Venus is 29, she is ready to play. She didn't burn out at an early age."
So, for now, he is eyeing that early flight home. - Reuters