Williams too accomplished

LONDON - Venus Williams insists age will be no barrier to her and sister Serena as the American duo look to extend their dominance at Wimbledon into a second decade.

Venus's energetic style on court and youthful attitude off it give the impression she hasn't aged a day since she made her debut at Wimbledon in 1997.

But she turned 30 last week and, like sister Serena, 28, is now well into the latter stages of her career.

In a sport where gifted players are thrust into the limelight before they are even old enough to leave school, the Williams sisters are approaching the time when many of their peers will opt to hang up their rackets to avoid being swept aside by the next generation.

Yet age means nothing when you have the fierce competitive instincts drilled into Venus and Serena by their father Richard all these years.

It is just 12 months since Serena beat Venus in the fourth all-Williams Wimbledon final. It would be little surprise if one of them has the Rosewater dish, awarded to the women's singles champion, packed in their luggage on the flight back to America in two weeks.

Venus, the world No 2, believes age is just a number if you have the right attitude and she said: "I think people are just able to accept that you can play tennis a lot longer.

"In the past people didn't go past 27. But at this age it's when you really most understand the game.

"It's actually an advantage to be out here at this stage in the career. I'm not thinking about age when I play."

Serena and Venus still possess the potent mix of power and poise that makes them so hard to beat on fast grasscourts. - Sapa-AFP