Venus Williams an impressive pick for speaker series

Tuesday, September 12, 2017

At 37 years of age, it's not surprising Venus Williams is on the speaking circuit.

After all, most professional athletes look for a productive use of their suddenly open schedule when they reach that ripe age, which usually means retirement, especially for tennis players.

However, this has been a renaissance year for Williams, who reached the Wimbledon championship match in July and has played in 16 Grand Slam finals in her career. She played in the U.S. Open women's semifinals this past Thursday night and came just a couple of points away from reaching the championship match.

Exactly one week after that semifinal match, she will be addressing a Show Me Center crowd as part of the 2017-18 Southeast Missouri State University Speakers Series. Talk about a relevant, big-name personality coming to town. Williams and her sister Serena have spent two full decades at the epicenter of professional tennis. The five-time Wimbledon champion has seven Grand Slam championships overall and five Olympic medals, making her possibly the most decorated athlete to ever visit Cape Girardeau.

To say Williams is well-traveled is a gross understatement. She has an engaging personality and interests well beyond tennis. She's designed clothing, has a best-selling book, is an investor and has been an advocate for gender equality to boot. And how many people can say they have 2.2 million followers on Facebook, 1.7 million on Twitter and 830,000 on Instagram?

When an athlete known by first name only worldwide comes to Cape Girardeau, it's must-see, must-hear stuff. Southeast is to be commended not only for bringing one of tennis' all-time greats to the Show Me Center, but in timely fashion on the heels of the U.S. Open. Venus, a former No. 1 player in the world and currently ranked No. 9, will serve up her speech at 7:30 p.m. on Thursday. Tickets are $10 and are available at the Show Me Center box office or online at showmecenter.biz.

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