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  Young tennis stars take on Venus Williams!
Updated 21 June 2002, 17.32
Venus Williams enjoyed meeting the young tennis stars
Wimbledon champion Venus Williams took on young tennis stars of the future at the Two Nations Challenge.

CBBC Newsround Online's Clare Youell reports from the event.

For five wannabe tennis stars, it was the game of their lives.

The youngsters got the chance to do battle with tennis ace Venus Williams in front of a screaming crowd.

Venus had taken time out of her busy Wimbledon schedule to launch the finals of the Two Nations Challenge.


Lena Keothavong gets ready to serve against Venus
It's a joint project between the Lawn Tennis Association in the UK, and the United States Tennis Association in America.

The Challenge makes sure kids from all backgrounds, especially those from poor areas, get the chance to play tennis at the top level.

The teenagers - 12 from the UK and 12 from the US - had won loads of games to get to the final.

And to kick-start the prize-giving, five lucky players got to have a game with Venus.


Venus Williams had to concentrate when playing the teens
Venus, wearing a tight white outfit, played well against the British youngsters - but not well enough!

She lost the mini-match 2-3, and insisted she wasn't holding back! She then had a kick about with the youngsters to mark the World Cup, and handed out some medals.

Lena Keothavong, from the UK, who played Venus, said: "It was really nerve-wracking. We didn't have a hit beforehand so we were really shaky and stiff. Venus was really nice, she was congratulating us after, that gave us confidence. I mean, she's number one in the world - the Wimbledon champion!"

I admire Serena

Jasmine Muhammad is one the American winners
The kids then got the chance to quiz Venus about her forthcoming Wimbledon challenge.

Venus told them: "Wimbledon was my first singles Grand Slam so that was real special. Hopefully I will make it three. I love being here. I love the grass and I can just play as patiently as I want."

One of the players asked Venus who she most admired. "I'd have to say my sister Serena," she said. "We help each other through tough times when one of us isn't doing so well, we're motivated by each other."

She added she was looking forward to playing her first-round Wimbledon opponent - British player, Jane O'Donoghue. "I just found that out at customs at the airport," Venus admitted. "The lady there said I was playing a British girl, everyone seemed to know before me! I'm sure she will see it as a great opportunity, and I look forward to playing her."

Venus also had some encouraging words for the young tennis stars. She said she had never doubted that she would get where she wanted to be.

"Yes I did dream I would come here," she said. "I always believed I would make it. It was my dream."

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