Venus Williams Refuses to Shake Hands Before a Tennis Match (& Not Just Because of Germs)

When you’re a tennis superstar like Venus Williams, the stakes are high every time you set foot on the court. That’s why we were pretty impressed by the most important part of Williams’s pre-match ritual: She always washes her hands.

PureWow caught up with Williams for an exclusive chat while she was in New York City to promote her partnership with Clorox, just in time for the cold and flu season to begin.

And while she admits there are germ-fighting benefits to washing your hands ahead of a match, her reason for doing so is twofold.

“Before I walk on the court to play, I always wash my hands like clockwork,” Williams explains. “Sure, part of it is to prevent germs—when I shake my opponent’s hand at the end of a match, I know we’re good—but I also don’t want my racket to slip at all while I play.” 

Williams went on. “My main fear is lotions or anything, which can affect your grip. Sometimes, they’ll have a guest come out on the court for the coin toss and I’m like, I can’t shake your hand. I don’t know what you have on them.”

Her solution in that situation? “I offer them a fist bump.”

Brilliant move. (She’s a tennis champion for a reason, right?)

RELATED: Venus Williams Reveals the Woman She Admires Most (Spoiler Alert: It’s Totally Her Sister)

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