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Venus Sizes Up The US Open

Venus Williams, left, and her sister, Serena, walk off the court after Venus defeated Serena 6-1, 7-6 (8) at the Nasdaq 100 Open in Key Biscayne, Fla., in this March 29, 2005 file photo.
AP
After her memorable victory in the Wimbledon singles final against Lindsay Davenport in July, Venus Williams is preparing for the US Open. She visits The Saturday Early Show with Women's Tennis Association President Larry Scott to talk about the competition.

The US Open tennis tournament begins Monday and the competition is fierce. Women's Tennis Association President Larry Scott explains why. Don't miss his interview.

Much is at stake: Prize money for the 2005 US Open purse will top $17.7 million, and will potentially exceed $20.6 million — representing the highest annual purse in sports — as the top three men's and women's finishers in the US Open Series may earn up to an additional $2.8 million in bonus prize money at the US Open. Both the men's and women's US Open singles champions will earn $1.1 million with the ability to earn up to $2.2 million based on their performances in the US Open Series.

It wasn't all that long ago that Venus Williams and her sister, Serena, dominated the rankings and everything else in women's tennis. In 2000 and 2001, Venus won back-to-back Wimbledon singles titles and back-to-back US Open singles titles. Serena had won the US Open singles title in 1999, beginning the three-year run of dominance by the Williams sisters at Flushing Meadow.

This year, Venus Williams' third Wimbledon singles title brought out a new side of her, the one that wouldn't quit and the one who claims to take each match as it comes instead of looking ahead to the final round of an event. In the decisive third set with Davenport, Venus Williams had to save a match point while trailing 6-5. The set wound up lasting 16 games before Venus won it, 9-7.

The win came as something of a surprise. Venus Williams became the lowest ranked player (16) and lowest seed (14) in the Open era to win a Wimbledon singles title. Venus Williams also defeated the defending Wimbledon champion, Maria Sharapova, in the semifinals before beating Davenport in the final.

Recently, however, Venus Williams has had to fight off health problems. She withdrew from a tournament in Toronto on Aug. 15 because of knee pain and she's also had the flu, which has interrupted her preparations for the US Open.

This Saturday is Arthur Ashe Kids' Day at the National Tennis Center. Activities include live rock concerts and exhibition matches featuring Lindsay Davenport, Andy Roddick and Serena Williams. If you can't make it out the National Tennis Center today, CBS Sports will bring that show to you Sunday, Aug. 28, from 1 to 2:30 p.m. ET.

The US Open is broadcast annually by CBS Sports. For online coverage, go to CBS SportsLine.com.