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Touching base with Venus Williams

February 11, 2009 |  1:00 pm

Venus Williams Since it's all A-Rod, all the time, it was practically inevitable that Venus Williams was asked by the New York Post to weigh in on the controversy during a conference call this morning.

"Once again, I'm not cool, so I don’t know much about the controversy with him," she said. "I haven't read anything. I am aware of something going on."

The question was re-framed, and put in terms of tennis, as to whether this sort of explosive news and subsequent admission would cast suspicion on other sports.

"Umm, you know, I think tennis is a completely different sport," she said, adding that being the strongest player isn't necessarily the determining factor in tennis.

Then she had a clever sound bite.

"You have to hold your nerve, and I don’t know if there’s a drug for that," Williams said.

Venus was on the call to promote the upcoming BNP Paribas Showdown at Madison Square Garden. The exhibition, on March 2, will also feature Serena Williams, Jelena Jankovic and Ana Ivanovic. Additionally, the one-night, single-elimination event honors Billie Jean King.

The Indian Wells tournament starts the week after the New York exhibition, and Venus, as expected, will again skip the event, as will Serena.

They have not played Indian Wells since 2001, when Venus at the last minute pulled out of a scheduled semifinal match against Serena because of an injury. The family was booed before and throughout Serena's match in the final.

Venus was asked what promotional event she would do instead of playing Indian Wells, and said it would be something she planned with the tournament. The last question on the matter, on the call, was whether King had tried to persuade her to play Indian Wells again.

"No, I don't think that’s her job or aim," Venus said. "With Billie, her interest in me is if I'm OK and happy."

-- Lisa Dillman

Photo: Venus Williams, seen here during her singles match against Carla Suarez Navarro of Spain at the Australian Open. Williams lost 2-6, 6-3, 7-5.  Credit: Greg Wood / AFP/Getty Images