By Steve Keating
LONDON (Reuters) - Venus and Serena Williams have opted for the comfort of a Wimbledon hotel over the athletes' village and might miss the opening ceremony but the tennis siblings were still able to soak up some of the London Olympic experience on Tuesday.
Soon after arriving in the English capital, the Williams sisters and their United States team mates got a taste of Olympic traffic gridlock, delaying their pre-Games news conference.
Everyone then had a good chuckle at the expense of doubles partners and brothers Bob and Mike Bryan, who were denied entry into the Olympic media center for not having validated credentials.
Serena, still basking in the glow of her fifth Wimbledon singles title, quickly made it clear, however, that she was not back in London for a few laughs, but for medals.
If the 14-time grand slam winner can claim the women's gold she would become the only player to win all four slams, plus singles and doubles gold.
"It's exciting to be back so soon, usually we have to wait 12 months to walk back on to centre court," Serena, who will set up camp with her sister and the rest of the U.S. tennis team at a hotel near Wimbledon, told the news conference.
"For me, I'm going to be really excited to have such a quick turn-around and get back on the grass where I love to play."
Since rejoining the Summer Games program in 1988 after a 64-year absence, tennis and the Olympics have not always been a comfortable fit, with many players putting a grand slam victory ahead of a gold medal.
Wimbledon and the Olympics, two ancient sporting institutions, will come together, however, at the All England Club.
"Growing up as tennis players you always dream of winning grand slams and doing well at tournaments like Wimbledon," said Venus, who will defend the doubles title with her sister.
"To have an opportunity to win a gold medal and be mentioned among all the great athletes, that's an honor." Continued...