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Published: Tuesday, 6/22/2010

With a nod to Tina Turner, Venus dresses for success

ASSOCIATED PRESS
Venus Williams slams a backhand to Paraguay's Rossana de los Rios in first-round action at Wimbledon. Williams won. Venus Williams slams a backhand to Paraguay's Rossana de los Rios in first-round action at Wimbledon. Williams won.
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WIMBLEDON, England - Venus Williams has moved on to a new fashion inspiration: Tina Turner.

After causing quite a stir at the French Open last month with a black lace dress she described as having the "illusion of bareness," Williams showed up at Wimbledon Monday with a more conservative white outfit filled with frills, and called it a tribute to the long-successful rock star.

"Obviously she's just an amazing, amazing artist, just a survivor. She reinvented herself. Plus she looks great," Williams said. "I've loved her forever. So the dress is really inspired by her."

At the All England Club, where Williams beat Rossana de los Rios of Paraguay 6-3, 6-2 in the first round, a strict dress code governs colors and styles of what can be worn.

"Here it's all about white," said Williams, a five-time champion at Wimbledon. "There is no illusion this time. Still had the lace motif. I think it's just a fun, elegant dress."

Venus Williams of the United States waves to the crowd after defeating Paraguay's Rossana De Los Rios Monday. Venus Williams of the United States waves to the crowd after defeating Paraguay's Rossana De Los Rios Monday.
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Williams had a couple of brief hiccups against the 34-year-old de los Rios. After racing to a 5-0 lead in each set, the American let up enough to allow her opponent to earn some games.

Unlike most players, Williams never enters grass-court tuneup tournaments to prepare for Wimbledon, so this was her first competitive match since a fourth-round loss at the French Open.

Still, it's a formula that clearly works: She has reached the final at the All England Club eight of the past 10 years.

"I was just ready to go," said Williams, who lost to younger sister Serena in the 2009 final. "Been practicing on the grass since Wednesday, So I feel like I had a good feel for it."

RODDICK'S 2009: Pretty much everyone Andy Roddick runs into wants to talk about the way his 2009 Wimbledon ended.

And that's fine with him.

A year ago, of course, Roddick lost to Roger Federer in the final at the All England Club, 16-14 in the fifth set.

"Obviously, when I talk to people, that's what they want to talk about most times. But I think it would have been pretty dumb of me to come over here and be surprised by that - that people wanted to talk about it," Roddick said Monday after winning his first-round match in this year's tournament.

"I think I have a pretty good grasp of it, you know," he said. "I certainly realize that it had an effect on some people."

Roddick, who lives in Austin, beat Rajeev Ram of Carmel, Ind., 6-3, 6-2, 6-2 Monday and will face Michael Llodra of France in the second round.

Roddick won the 2003 U.S. Open but hasn't added a second Grand Slam title. He's lost four other Grand Slam finals, three at Wimbledon, and all to Federer.

Last year's Wimbledon was the closest Roddick has come to major championship No. 2. The match set Grand Slam final records for most total games (77) and most games in a fifth set.

When others bring it up, Roddick added, "I'm not going to let it bother me. I'm not going to act agitated. It was a privilege to play in that match."

Including the all-U.S. match between Roddick and Ram, American men went 4-4 on Day 1, with victories by Mardy Fish of Tampa, Taylor Dent of Bradenton, Fla., and Brendan Evans of Wesley Chapel, Fla. American women went 4-2; the winners were Venus Williams, No. 33 Melanie Oudin of Marietta, Ga., Shenay Perry of Coral Springs, Fla., and Varvara Lepchenko of Allentown, Pa.



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