The U.S. Open is in full swing (Get it? Swing? Ha!), so you know what that means, right? Yes — we are tennis obsessed right now! And there are sooo many fun players to watch, but this year we have our eyeballs on Venus Williams. Coming back from an injury, she’s poised to rock the tournament. We had the chance to chat Venus up a bit (we like to think that we’re buds after meeting at this event!) about her fitness fashion line EleVen, along with her thoughts about the U.S. Open and who inspires her. Prepare to get inspired — and ready to hit the court yourself! (You can even buy the dress she’s wearing … !)
Interview With Venus Williams
How did you come up with the name for EleVen? EleVen stands for being better than a 10, being the best you can possibly be and pushing past your limits to get there.
How is it different from other workout apparel lines? We are known for our mix of prints and colors, as well as our feminine details added to the clothing. We have the basics, too, but you can always add a solid top to our printed leggings or skirts.
Where do you get your fashion inspiration for the brand? I get my inspiration from being able to travel all over the world and see the trends from Australia to Brazil, architecture from Rome to Dubai, and colors in the museums in Paris. I love just sitting down to start a design and see it come to fruition into a great tennis dress with my new favorite print.
Do you have a favorite piece or outfit from EleVen? I loved the tie-dye print we did this summer; it was the perfect mix of color with the white, orange, pink and navy. I also loved the Python print dress I wore this summer, but I am so excited about my Rose Mesh dress for the U.S. Open (see photo above!).
Can you tell us a bit more about why and how you’re expanding the EleVen website? When we launched in 2012, our website was a starting point for us as we had never had one before. But as we have continued to grow so much in 2013, we needed something more comprehensive to really tell the EleVen story, showcase our brand ambassadors and really give our customer and fans the entire “EleVen experience.” Our e-commerce shop is also going to be a growing area for us as more and more people from all over the world are asking where they can buy our clothes. Well, now they can buy them on our page!
What are your workouts like? I always start on the court in the morning for about two hours of tennis practice. From there, I do some on-court agility drills for footwork, and then move into the gym to do my maintenance exercises for the parts of my body that get overused on the court. I also do a lot of abs exercises (I have a love/hate relationship with planks!). After the gym, I will do some cardio, either running on the treadmill or outside.
How do you fuel for your workouts and matches? I always have my green juices before practice and matches, as well as a protein smoothie. One to two hours before a match I will have some pasta with a few veggies and a light sauce. I try to have something right after a match to replace what I have lost, sometimes a banana and a protein bar, and then have a full meal a bit later.
So many look up to you as a role model. Who do you look up to? Of course I look up to Billie Jean King, Althea Gibson, Arthur Ashe, for paving the way for me to be able to play the game I love. I am also inspired by the many Olympic athletes I have gotten to meet over the years. Competing in the Olympics has given me so much inspiration to keep going and get to Rio in 2016!
What’s the best piece of advice you’ve ever received? No matter what happens, always stay confident in yourself and know that if you give 100 percent, you can’t ever look back and regret anything.
Looking good for you to play well at the U.S. Open? Most definitely! I will be kicking butt in the EleVen Rose Mesh dress.
Gooo Venus! So pumped to watch her in action at this tournament. Tell us, who are you rooting for at this U.S. Open — besides Venus, of course? —Jenn