Serena Williams: Tennis, fashion, and pre-med classes

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NEW YORK (AP) Serena Williams is the top tennis player in the world and an emerging fashion designer. But she still needs something to do in that down time between matches. That’s where the pre-med classes come in.

At a panel discussion Wednesday, Williams explained that she’s not necessarily interested in becoming a doctor, but wants to study nutrition, holistic medicine, and healing naturally.

“I love the holistic side of medicine,” she said. Besides, she explained, during tournaments she actually has more free time than when she’s not playing. “I like to keep going,” she said. “I don’t like to be still.”

At the panel, part of the Fast Company Innovation Festival, Williams was interviewed along with Nike CEO Mike Parker, with whom she works closely. Asked what she’d be doing in 10 years, she quipped: “That’s why Mark and I are so close. Because I’m going to be the CEO.” The audience erupted in applause.

But Williams also made it clear that despite all her other activities, she’s not any less motivated by tennis – even though she never thought she’d be still playing at age 30, let alone now at 34.

“I think it’s really important to know what you’re good at – and I know what I’m good at,” she said. “For me right now … I love being on the court, I love winning titles. So as much as these opportunities come up, and so many things come up, but is it going to interfere with my being the best in the world? If the answer is even close to yes, then I have to say no. I have the rest of my life to figure these things out.”

Williams was also asked about the much-discussed incident where she chased down a thief who’d grabbed her cellphone in a restaurant. Asked what she was thinking when she chased the guy down, she said: “I wasn’t, really.”

“I just jumped up and I ran,” she said, “and when I got there I thought, `Oh, what am I doing, this could be it!”‘ But the thief, professing confusion, handed the phone back from under his sleeve. The next day, she said, her father called and said, `Serena, if you need a phone, I’ll buy you three or four phones! Just please don’t do that again.”‘

Naturally, Williams was also asked about her recent U.S. Open semifinal loss to Italy’s Roberta Vinci, which derailed her quest for a Grand Slam. What happened, she was asked?

“I didn’t win!” she said to laughter. “She played well. I don’t think I played the best I could have …but she played an outstanding match, and that happens sometimes. And unfortunately I didn’t win but I did the best I could. It was what it was, and it was hard to put behind me, but I eventually did.”

And, she added with a smile: “I can’t wait to play her again!”

Nishioka beats Shapovalov to win Korean Open

2022 US Open - Day 1
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SEOUL, South Korea – Japan’s Yoshihito Nishioka claimed his second career title after beating fourth seed Denis Shapovalov of Canada 6-4, 7-6 (5) to win the Korean Open.

The 27-year-old Japanese, who beat top seed and world No.2 Casper Ruud in the quarterfinals, was impressive in defense and his counter-punching style eventually wore down his higher ranked opponent in just under two hours at the Seoul Olympic Park Tennis Center.

The unseeded Nishioka, appearing in his second championship match this year after reaching the Washington final in August, started the brighter and found his rhythm early to claim the first set.

The second set saw momentum change as Shapavolov found his range from the backcourt to take a 3-1 lead. But Nishioka rallied to take the set into a tiebreak where he held firm to win his first tournament since his maiden title at the Shenzen Open in 2018 – where he also beat Shapovalov in their only previous meeting.

The ATP Tour returned to Seoul for the first time since 1996 after the city was awarded a single-year license to stage the Korean Open.

Mayar Sherif becomes first Egyptian to win WTA Tour event

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PARMA, Italy — Mayar Sherif became the first Egyptian to win a WTA Tour event by beating top-seeded Maria Sakkari 7-5, 6-3 at the Parma Ladies Open.

Besides earning her first career title, Sherif also notched her first win over a top-10 opponent.

Along with Tunisia’s Ons Jabeur, who reached the Wimbledon and U.S. Open finals this year, Sherif is raising the profile of tennis in North Africa.

The 74th-ranked Sherif actually had to win two matches on Saturday, first overcoming sixth-seeded Ana Bogdan 6-4, 3-6, 6-4 in the semifinals, which were postponed a day due to rain.

The seventh-ranked Sakkari beat Danka Kovinic 7-5, 6-2 in her semifinal earlier Saturday.