By Pritha Sarkar

LONDON (Reuters) - With more spare time than she would care to remember over the past year, the one thing Venus Williams does not want is to lose early at Wimbledon and have even more of it on her hands.

On Wednesday, it looked as if she might suffer her earliest exit at the All England Club since falling in the second round in 2004 but her fighting instincts carried her to a 6-7 6-3 8-6 win over 40-year-old Kimiko Date-Krumm.

"When you lose, that gives you extra time to go practice and work out in the gym. But I prefer not to have the extra time," explained Williams, who is seeded 23rd.

"I've had a ton of extra time to be in the gym in the last five months, then the three months before that, then the three months before that. So it's been too much gym time.

"I needed that win and I'm glad it worked out for me."

Playing Date-Krumm, who made her Wimbledon debut when Williams was just a nine-year-old wannabe in Compton, has certainly made the American think about her own tennis life-span.

Now aged 31, most players in Williams's position would be thinking about life after tennis, but the seven-times grand slam champion has no intention of slowing down and hinted she too could be playing on in her fourth decade.

"I tend to base all my goals around the Olympics nowadays, it seems. I hope to have a few more Olympics left in me," said the 2000 Sydney gold medalist.

"Obviously she's (Date-Krumm) a huge role model. She hits hard and she runs fast and she's extremely competitive, as you saw today.

"Winning definitely helps you win more because you get the experience. But losing is a disaster. They're both a motivator (to keep on playing)."

(Editing by Ed Osmond)