Venus Williams isn’t letting her public legal battle distract her from her career.
The 7-time Grand Slam winner is set to duke it out with Greek tennis player Maria Sakkari Friday, Sept. 1, and hopes to get a third-round win at the U.S. Open. But before she arrived at Arthur Ashe Stadium in New York City this week, she had to gear up for the epic showdown.
“I’ve pushed my body a lot,” Williams told Health magazine of how she trains for tournaments. “But you have to know when to say, ‘When,’ too. And also, it’s very draining mentally to keep this level up, so I also like to take mental breaks.”
The athlete, who went pro in 1994 at age 14, said there have been many changes when it comes to her body and the sport. And it’s true. Williams was diagnosed with the immune-system disorder Sjögren’s syndrome in 2011 and, according to the Bleacher Report, tennis has evolved from the surface it’s played on to the technology of the rackets.
Check Out Venus Williams’ Past Tournaments:
“Oh my gosh, not only has the sport changed, but I’ve changed as well,” she said. “Even the courts have changed. It’s so much more competitive now. I love change, though … it’s important.”
Despite all her changes over the past 23 years, Williams said her workout regime hasn’t changed all that much. She still hits up the gym to prevent injury and stay strong. Plus, she said, “I live for abs.”
Come tournament time, Williams said she eats “a ton more,” but she’s skipping on loading up on extra protein.
“That’s something new I’m trying,” she said. “I’m not necessarily convinced we need as much protein as they say. And I still feel good.
“I think it’s all about how you feel and finding out what works for your body.”