4 Jan 2017

Venus Williams full of praise for young New Zealander

4:31 pm on 4 January 2017

Second seed Venus Williams says she was impressed with the fire that New Zealand teenager Jade Lewis showed in their first round match at the ASB Classic in Auckland.

Jade Lewis at the ASB Classic 2017.

Jade Lewis at the ASB Classic 2017. Photo: PHOTOSPORT

Williams needed a tie break to take the first set over the 18 year old Aucklander, before winning the second 6-2.

36 year old Williams, a winner of 7 grand slam singles titles, was enthusiastic about Lewis' play.

"I loved her intensity," Williams said. "She wanted to win and she expected a lot from herself."

"Those are all the things you want to see from a young person. I think she could do a lot in this game. She loves it and she wants more and I was happy to see that."

"This is a big experience so there will be a lot of takeaways and there will be more as she continues to play. Even if she was emotional it was a good thing because it showed she has that fire."

Venus Williams and Jade Lewis ASB Classic 2017.

Venus Williams and Jade Lewis ASB Classic 2017. Photo: PHOTOSPORT

Lewis was given a wildcard entry to the main draw after winning the National Championships in early December.

The ASB Classic was the first time Lewis played in the main draw of a WTA event.

She is the niece of Chris Lewis who reached the final of Wimbledon in 1983 against John McEnroe.

Her father David and uncle Mark also played Davis Cup for New Zealand.