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Venus Williams Leads Philadelphia Freedoms in World Team Tennis Victory



American tennis star Venus Williams and the Philadelphia Freedoms won a World Team Tennis (WTT) match against the Washington Kastles, Tuesday night here in the nation's capital. Venus was with her professional team in Washington just three days after playing in two finals at the Wimbledon championships in London.

Her list of credentials is long and her welcome to Washington Tuesday night was warm.

"The reigning Olympic doubles champion, the reigning Wimbledon and Australian Open doubles champion. She's won 18 singles, doubles, and mixed doubles Grand Slam titles combined. She's a champion in every sense of the word. Straight from her trip to the Wimbledon singles final and doubles champion with her own sister, Serena Williams, to City Center D.C., please welcome, Venus Williams," the announcer said.

Venus won in the women's singles, mixed doubles and women's doubles to help lead the Philadelphia Freedoms to a final 23-16 game victory over the Washington Kastles. She partnered with Australia's Nathan Healey in the mixed doubles, and with American Lisa Raymond in the women's doubles.

In World Team Tennis, the two teams play one set each of men's and women's singles and doubles and mixed doubles. Scoring and rules for World Team Tennis differ from regular professional tennis. The winner is the team with the most total games won in the five sets.

World Team Tennis is in its 34th season. American tennis great Billie Jean King co-founded the league in 1974 to create a stage for the best professional players to compete in a team format. The three-week WTT season begins each year, after Wimbledon.

Earlier Tuesday, Williams participated in a WTT-sponsored tennis clinic with young local players. She says World Team Tennis inspired her from an early age.

"My first encounter with World Team Tennis, I was about seven years old, and I came to a clinic and Billie Jean King was pitching balls to me, and look at me now," Williams said.

Although Venus' younger sister, Serena Williams, plays World Team Tennis for the Washington Kastles, there was no Williams-sisters showdown Tuesday night. Serena, fresh from her victory over Venus in the Wimbledon singles final, was not at the WTT event.

However, she will be on the court next Tuesday when the Kastles take on the Newport Beach Breakers.

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