"I’ve had more time to prioritize my personal self-care and learn more about what my body needs from me," she tells PEOPLE

By Lindsay Kimble
August 14, 2020 12:16 PM
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Venus Williams
Courtesy EleVen by Venus Williams

Venus Williams rarely has downtime, but when things ground to a halt earlier this year due to the coronavirus pandemic, she was grateful for the chance to center herself.

The tennis champion, 40, tells PEOPLE this week, "I’ve had more time to prioritize my personal self-care and learn more about what my body needs from me, which I think is important for maintaining a healthy mindset."

Williams — whose EleVen by Venus Williams x Wonder Woman collection launched on Thursday — says that while professional tennis was paused due to the global health crisis, she was still able to stay "active and consistent with my workout schedule thanks to the motivation and support from my team and coach."

"Throughout quarantine, I kept the mentality that tournaments could return at any point so I wanted to be in the best shape and as prepared as I could possibly be," she explains, though admits there were "moments" she just wanted to hang at home with her dog Harry and watch movies.

This week, Williams returned to the tennis circuit, playing in the Top Seed Open. She ultimately fell in the second round to her sister Serena Williams.

"I’m so excited to be back on the court," she tells PEOPLE. "It was nice to spend some quality time at home during months that are typically very busy for me, but I still took the time to really focus on my training and continue moving, so when we returned to play, I was ready to go."

Adds the athlete, "Competition is in my nature and the court is my second home, so I was ready for the season to restart and to get back into the groove of things."

The limited-edition EleVen x Wonder Woman collection — which features athleisure pieces like legging and sports bra sets, cropped tank tops, tennis skirts, windbreakers, and a catsuit — is available online now.