TIME

Tennis champion Venus Williams sees a fulfilling life beyond the court. Just not yet

VENUS WILLIAMS HAS TUNED OUT ALL MANNER of distractions on her way to becoming one of the most successful women to set foot on a tennis court. But on a recent June morning in downtown New York City, there was no competing with the doe eyes of her 11-year-old Havanese, Harry, as he peeked his head out of her backpack. “Hi, good morning again,” Williams cooed as she buried her face in Harry’s fur. “You’re awful cute, aren’t you?”

As Harry gazes at her, Williams snaps back to attention and explains why, at age 38, with seven major tournament titles, a successful clothing brand and an interior-design business to her name, she keeps grinding away on the tennis tour. “I think you see some players, they’re clearly not playing well and

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