Venus Williams, world-famous tennis champion and gold medalist three times over, became a professional athlete when she was just 14 years old. Fiercely determined and wielding an impressive physical prowess, she spent the next decade rising to the top-ranked position and winning numerous championships, including the U.S. Open, Wimbledon and doubles at the Australian Open and French Open in addition to three Olympic gold medals. In her new book, Come To Win: Business Leaders, Artists, Doctors, and Other Visionaries on How Sports Can Help You Top Your Profession (Amistad), as in her presentations, Williams demonstrates how to translate competitive spirit and an athletic background into success off the court.
At just 30, Williams has parlayed her fine-tuned business acumen with her healthy competitive spirit to excel in several ventures. She gained a comprehensive education on the business side of tennis, earned a degree in fashion design from The Art Institute of Ft. Lauderdale while off-tour, and as a certified decorator, became the owner of V Starr Interiors, a successful interior design firm based in Palm Beach Gardens, Florida. The transformation from tennis's force majeur to savvy businesswoman didn't happen overnight. It had been brewing all along, instilled in her by her parents when she was just a child. While winning countless matches across the globe and becoming an icon for youth and women everywhere, she took note of changing styles for both interior design and fashion.
Come to Win features an array of advice on how principles and ideas in competitive sports can translate into professional success from A-list leaders in business, politics, and the arts, including Meg Whitman, Phil Knight (Nike), Irene Rosenfeld (Kraft), Donny Deutsch, Bill Bradley, Jack Welch, and Condoleezza Rice. Building from this advice, which ranges from encouraging readers to push themselves to the point of exhaustion when launching an endeavor in order to realize that their natural ability will only take them so far without training, to encouraging them to field the best team, even if that means making some tough choices, Williams's keynote lectures highlight her own and others' practical insights in how to win at whatever pursuit piques one's interest. She shares reflections on how her own coaches' advice, including that of her father and mother, led not only to tennis history but also to success in the business world.
Currently, Williams holds 43 WTA Tour titles, which includes 7 singles Grand Slams. Presently ranked number 2 in the world, she continues to be unstoppable as an individual player and is just as powerful when teamed up with her sister Serena. The dynamic duo won their 10th doubles championship at the 2009 US Open, previously taking home their second doubles Olympic gold medal at the 2008 Summer Olympics in Beijing, China.
In July of 2008, Williams won her fifth Wimbledon Championship in a riveting match against her sister. She now joins the ranks of only a handful of legendary women's singles tennis champions who have won five or more Wimbledon Championships. In true champion form, Williams has been known to break records; during the 2007 French Open she made history with a record-breaking serve of 129 mph, tying this record during the 2008 Wimbledon tournament, thus solidifying the serve as the fastest ever recorded in women's tennis history. In 2005, after an intense 2 hour 45 minute match against Lindsay Davenport, Williams won her third Wimbledon Championship. This match went down in history as the longest women's final in Wimbledon's 128-year history. The victory further validated her excellence and Glamour magazine named her one of their Women of the Year for 2005.
Williams is not only a force in the tennis world -- the fashion community has now taken notice of her grace and elegance. She has been photographed by some of the most world-renowned photographers for top fashion publications around the world. Williams served as the subject of a coffee table book by avant-garde photographer Koto Bolofo. Appropriately titled Venus (Steidl), the exquisite book offers a unique perspective of the legendary tennis star. Presented in the book are rare and striking images of Williams's physical beauty, as well as her life as an international tennis star.
In September 2009, the Anti-Defamation League (ADL) honored Williams with the Americanism Award for publicly speaking up for fellow tennis player Shahar Pe'er who was denied a visa from participating in the Dubai tennis tournament. A true believer of equal rights, Williams became the first to be named "UNESCO Promoter of Gender Equality."
In November of 2007, Venus launched her clothing line EleVen, which is the largest clothing line ever launched by a female athlete. Prior to launching EleVen, Venus worked with Reebok on her collaboration with famed designer Diane Von Furstenberg for her line of tennis clothes (the largest endorsement ever awarded to a woman athlete, at $40 million for five years). Even while balancing dual careers, Venus seeks out study in other interests, learning piano, guitar and bass during her rare time off.
Praise for Come to Win:
"A book written by former sportsmen and women who then made good in the world of commerce and politics [is] a welcome addition. Come to Win promises to be just that."
-- Financial Times (UK)
"Come to Win is an athlete-driven project based on a refreshing concept -- curiosity about what makes other people tick ... Successful people don't always win, but they nearly always learn something useful when they lose. It's a timeless message."
"Contributors offer advice on how to learn from losses, block out distractions, and visualize a course of action. Solid advice from a wide and varied A-list of contributors."
"Containing gems of biographical information not available elsewhere, this presents inspirational readings on how sports can make a significant difference and teach 'life lessons.'"
-- Library Journal