It’s not often that tennis fans get to meet Venus Williams here in Cayman but for many their dreams were answered last month when she came to promote her latest book, Come to Win.
It’s not a straight autobiography, that’s been done already. In Come to Win, Williams, the multiple Grand Slam champion and entrepreneur, along with an esteemed group of business leaders, politicians and acclaimed artists, serves up tips on how to turn a competitive spirit and athletic background into success off the playing field.
Combining talent, drive and hard work, Venus – like her sister Serena – has mastered tennis but how does that drive serve her off the court in her post-tennis career? For inspiration, she turned to nearly 50 business leaders, politicians, doctors and artists, all of whom previously played competitive sports and who are now at the top of their professions and asked them what principles inspired them toward success as an athlete and were helpful in life and business?
Here an A-list group of visionaries, including eBay’s former CEO Meg Whitman, Nike’s co-founder Philip Knight, stateswoman Condoleezza Rice, entrepreneur and former NBA player Earvin ‘Magic’ Johnson and designer Vera Wang, respond with a useful array of tips woven through anecdotes from their athletic past that have been instrumental in their post–sports life success.
Venus also reflects on what she has learned from her own coaches, including her parents and how their wisdom contributes to her own remarkable achievements, from her history-making tennis career to the launch of her own businesses – V-Starr Interiors, an interior design firm, and EleVen, an athletic clothing line.
When Williams was here one of her signings took her to the tennis court at Camana Bay where it was mostly children who excel at a variety of sports who got a chance to meet her, chat, get a signature and photo too.
Tennis federation president Jeremy Superfine was in the crowd. He said: “Seeing Venus in person rather than on TV, off the tennis court and talking informally to the kids was great to see. She is a role model for youngsters who enjoy sport.
“All the kids were so pleased to see her and have their book signed. Venus took the time to sign each book with a personal note.
You could tell the kids loved the occasion; they all had big smiles on their faces. They were excited to see an international superstar take the time to meet with them and share some of her experiences in sport and fashion.
“I’ve started reading her book. I never realised how much Venus achieved off the tennis court. She has written only one chapter. Most of the book is about other successful people who have used their sporting experiences to assist their profession.”
Tennis coach Eduardo Torres felt the same way. “It was great meeting Venus, she was very friendly and approachable,” he said. “We got a chance to talk about tennis and she was great with the kids.
“My students were really excited about getting to meet her. I think it had a great impact for them to be so close to one of the best players in the world. Cayman is very small and so this was a great opportunity for them to imagine what they can achieve in the world if they work hard.
“I haven’t finished the book yet but I find it a very interesting concept of bringing together a lot of different people’s stories on how practicing a sport can help you in your other endeavours in life whether it’s school, business or in your personal life. I hope the kids who received a complimentary copy will read it because it has some great lessons, I even bought a copy for my daughter.”
Tynan Klein, 12, was one of the youngsters lucky enough to be in her presence. Tynan said: “It was a great surprise to have Venus Williams visit our tennis group at Camana Bay. And it was exciting that such a famous championship tennis star would take the time to speak to our group and share with us some of her tennis tips and stories. Ms. Venus told us how important it was to practice, which only reinforces what our own coach (Eduardo Torres) always tells us.”