Despite battling Sjogren's Syndrome, 35-year-old Williams reaches landmark by beating Germany's Julia Goerges 6-4, 6-3 in Wuhan, China yesterday
Wuhan (China): Venus Williams beat Julia Goerges at the Wuhan Open to reach 700 career wins yesterday, the only active women's player to achieve the milestone other than her sister Serena.
USA's Venus Williams celebrates the 700th win in her career after victory against German Julia Goerges in Wuhan yesterday. Pic/Getty Images
The 35-year-old, still winning despite her ongoing fight with Sjogren's Syndrome, said she had no idea she was approaching the milestone before her 6-4, 6-3 victory in China. "I didn't know. I'm glad nobody told me before. I would have been a little bit nervous," the American told reporters. She added, with a smile, that her first thought now was how long would it take her to get to 800.
Williams, who is the oldest player at Wuhan and turned professional in 1994, when Goerges was not yet six, becomes only the ninth player to reach 700 wins. Martina Navratilova (1,442 wins), Chris Evert (1,309) and Steffi Graf (902) head the list, while Serena Williams hit 700 in April and is now on 737.
Williams was diagnosed with Sjogren's Syndrome, an immune system disorder, in 2011 and later switched to a vegan and raw foods diet to curb its symptoms. This year she won her 46th career title in Auckland and reached both the Australian Open and Wimbledon quarter-finals, losing to Serena in New York.
Williams shows few signs of slowing down and she said she now had her sights set on next year's Rio Olympics, where she will hope to add to her haul of four gold medals. "The Olympics — that will be awesome to be able to play there, represent the US again. That will be an honour," she said. During her career Williams, now ranked 24th, has spent 11 weeks as the world number one and won seven Grand Slam singles titles, the last one in 2008.
> Martina Navratilova (USA) 1,442 wins
> Chris Evert (USA) 1,309
> Steffi Graf (GER) 902
> Virginia Wade (GBR) 839
> Arantxa Sanchez-Vicario (ESP) 759
> Lindsay Davenport (USA) 753
> Conchita Martinez (ESP) 739
> Serena Williams (USA) 737
> Venus Williams (USA) 700