Venus Williams dismisses talk of retirement

HONG KONG: American Venus Williams on Friday dismissed speculation she is mulling retirement as the seven-time Grand Slam champion gets set to play in the Australian Open later this month.

"I know I have so much more to give," she told reporters after an exhibition match in Hong Kong.

"There's no timeline (for retirement) if I'm playing well... As long as I keep playing well, I'll stay."

The American struggled for much of 2009, losing her Wimbledon crown to sister Serena and then crashing out of the Beijing Open in October, prompting speculation that she may be considering a departure from the game.

Williams was in strong form on Friday though as she overpowered Zheng Jie, with a 6-3, 6-2 victory over her Chinese opponent.

Zheng, ranked 35 in the world, took an early 2-0 lead in the first set but Williams powered back to overtake the 26-year-old Chengdu native.

Williams continued the pressure in the second set, blasting Zheng with her powerful serve.

"Every game was a battle," Williams said.

"There are so many things (Zheng) does well."

Earlier Friday, Japan's Ayumi Morita beat 24-year-old Argentine Gisela Dulko 7-5, 3-6, and 10-4 in a tiebreak.

The Hong Kong tournament features four teams with three players each -- representing Russia, Europe, the Americas and Asia Pacific -- in singles and mixed doubles play.

The tournament, which wraps up Saturday, comes before the Australian Open on January 18-31, the first Grand Slam of the season.