July 2, 2018 / 6:47 PM / 15 days ago

Venus refuses to play ball... off court

LONDON (Reuters) - In a career that has stretched into three decades, Venus Williams has shown that she likes nothing better than whacking a furry yellow tennis ball over a net — time and time again.

Jul 2, 2018; London, United Kingdom; Venus Williams (USA) celebrates match point during her match against Johanna Larsson (SWE) on day one at the All England Lawn and Croquet Club. Mandatory Credit: Susan Mullane-USA TODAY Sports

Yet when it came to her post-match news conference, the five-times Wimbledon champion was in no mood to play ball on Monday.

What did she think of LeBron James going to the Lakers, she was asked by a journalist.

“I actually don’t have any thoughts,” replied Williams following her 6-7(3) 6-2 6-1 first-round win over Sweden’s Johanna Larsson.

Jul 2, 2018; London, United Kingdom; Venus Williams (USA) in action during her match against Johanna Larsson (SWE) on day one at the All England Lawn and Croquet Club. Mandatory Credit: Susan Mullane-USA TODAY Sports

As one of the more experienced female competitors on the tour, does she think tennis needs a #MeToo moment?

“I can’t really comment on that,” the American said.

In the interest of gender equality, did Williams think the women’s title holder should be allowed to open Centre Court proceedings on the first Monday of the championships — an honor always given to the men’s title holder?

“I haven’t given that thought.”

How about staging the women’s final on the second Sunday of the tournament — the day usually reserved for the men’s showpiece?

Jul 2, 2018; London, United Kingdom; Venus Williams (USA) in action during her match against Johanna Larsson (SWE) on day one at the All England Lawn and Croquet Club. Mandatory Credit: Susan Mullane-USA TODAY Sports

“I haven’t given that thought either.”

With questions on the Davis Cup and the men’s tour also being stonewalled by Williams, she was finally asked: “Is it very boring for you to answer all our questions?”

That finally got a reaction.

“Yeah, you know, I have other stuff I need to do, like get ready for the next match,” the 38-year-old said with a laugh.

“I just keep it real. If you like it or love it, it’s just real.”

Reporting by Pritha Sarkar, editing by Clare Fallon

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