NEW YORK -- Serena Williams says altering her diet in support of big sister Venus hasn't been much of a hardship.
Serena said she's cut down on eating chicken and fish and is eating more raw foods like Venus, who adopted the change to help her body cope with Sjogren's syndrome, an autoimmune disease that can cause fatigue and joint pain. But while the new diet has been a big change for Venus, it's not been that big a deal for Serena, she says.
"I've always been a better eater than her, even though I'm a lot, lot thicker," she said, laughing during a recent phone interview.
Serena said since she lives with Venus in Palm Beach Gardens, Florida, she is mindful to eat foods that won't tempt her.
"I don't want her to come home and see a piece of chicken and be like, 'Oh, I want it,' and she can't have it. It would be like a stumbling block for her," she added.
Serena and Venus, who share 20 Grand Slam singles titles, have been back on the tennis court recently after dealing with health issues.
Serena has had ankle injuries this year, and last year dealt with cuts on her feet from glass at a restaurant and clots in her lungs.
"I'm looking forward to playing, and just playing and being healthy; I haven't really been healthy in a few years, and I'm just really looking forward to having a chance to play," she said. "I think right now I am at 100 per cent... I'm really looking forward to continuing this and continuing to be healthy."
Besides her excitement for upcoming Grand Slams and the Olympics, Serena said she's also still focused on her side ventures, which include an upcoming appearance on the TV show Drop Dead Diva, her nails (she's a licensed manicurist and has a nail polish line), her clothing company Aneres (she said it's relaunching online next year), and business school, just to name a few.
She's also part of a new venture with NBA players LeBron James, Amar'e Stoudemire, and Chris Paul to promote Sleep Sheets, which bills itself as a natural sleep aid. Serena said she's had trouble sleeping for years because she's "constantly on a natural high, high on life and happy, happy, happy and working."
She said her sleep difficulty was so bad one year it affected her at the Australian Open.
"Several years ago, before, like the finals, I couldn't sleep, and I had to take something to relax and make me go to sleep," she said. "It was obviously a pharmaceutical thing, but I physically couldn't sleep, and the only thing with that is that it slows you down the next day."
She still won the trophy.
"I did, but I was a little sluggish," she said, laughing. "It's nothing that I ever want to do again. I can't put the finals of the Australian Open on the line because I can't sleep."
-- The Associated Press