Serena, Venus eager to 'suit up' for Games

Updated: June 22, 2004, 11:36 AM ET
Associated Press

NEW YORK -- The Athens Olympics are two months away, but tennis stars Venus and Serena Williams are already planning their on-court wardrobes.

Serena wants to show off her new micro-mini shorts; Venus is more coy, saying, "I'd rather you wait and see."

She added: "I plan EVERYTHING around my outfits."

While the Williams sisters haven't been officially named to the U.S. Olympic team, they are considered a lock. Coach Zina Garrison must officially announce her roster of players by June 28.

Back in March, it seemed as if Serena was wavering about whether she'd play in Athens because of security concerns. But on Tuesday, she seemed determined to play -- and play well.

When asked what she'd like to bring back from Greece as a souvenir, Serena said, "Hardware."

"Preferably gold," Venus added.

Together they won the gold medal in doubles in 2000, and Venus won the singles gold during the Sydney Games.

The sisters were in New York to see the prototype of a hat Venus designed for McDonald's Olympic Champion Crew, the fast-food chain's employees from all over the world who will be working in Athens.

She hopes the oversized newsboy cap is "more fun and urban and more out of the ordinary" than the visors and baseball caps she initially considered.

It's not uncommon to see Venus, who turns 24 Thursday, wearing some sort of hat. "I don't always pick up my brush! You'll see my hair and it looks good but under that hat, it's a minefield!" she said with a laugh.

To create the hat, Venus said she "sketched, scanned, did some line drawings and superimposed the logo," all skills she learned during at the Art Institute of Fort Lauderdale (Fla.). Her current courses include childrenswear and she expects to begin classes on computer-assisted design and swimwear soon.

Serena, 22, expects her older sister to put in some hours this summer at the offices of her fashion label, Aneres.

The Williamses, the top two U.S. female tennis players, also are participating in McDonald's fitness and active lifestyle programs.

They say they see it as their duty to live healthy lives because they have become role models to the next generation.

"Sometimes people in these kind of positions get involved in questionable activities, especially at our age. We enjoy being good role models," Venus said. "We're not perfect but we work hard and have fun and we're attractive and strong and have high standards."

Copyright 2004 by The Associated Press