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post #1 of 48 (permalink) Old Aug 5th, 2002, 03:30 PM Thread Starter
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One Williams too many for most competition

By TIM SULLIVAN
UNION-TRIBUNE STAFF WRITER
San Diego UNION-TRIBUNE

CARLSBAD – The trouble with women's tennis is that there aren't enough Williams sisters to keep it interesting.

Venus and Serena may be the scariest siblings since Frank and Jesse James, but too often they are in opposite orbits. They meet in the Grand Slam tournaments, and in their hometown tournament in Miami, but they otherwise maintain a disappointing distance.

Any tournament with both Williams sisters is awash in anticipation. Any tournament with only one is inherently incomplete and, of late, anticlimactic.

Venus Williams won her third straight Acura Classic title yesterday, whipping the weary Jelena Dokic 6-2, 6-2 in 55 masterful minutes. Yet the absence of Serena from the main draw acted as an invisible asterisk. Like a golf tournament without Tiger Woods or a bicycle race without Lance Armstrong, any tennis tournament with only one Williams can only be considered a qualified success.

Between them, the two sisters have come to dominate the game, but they have each reached the exalted plateau where they can only be defined as individuals through their sibling rivalry. Not since the Old Testament – or at least "The Brady Bunch" – has a family feud carried such profound cultural implications.

"They are beatable at times," Dokic said yesterday. "(But) not a lot of times. How long they can keep it going, that's a different story."

Perhaps the greatest challenge to Venus and Serena Williams is a lack of challenge. Between them, they own the last three U.S. Open titles and the last three Wimbledon titles, and Serena is the reigning French Open champion. Venus, 22, has won 50 of her 56 matches this year, and hasn't lost to anyone except her younger sister since April. Serena is 36-3, and won't observe her 21st birthday until after the U.S. Open.

Lack of parity has long been a problem on the women's tour. Thirty times since 1969, a player has won at least 50 matches in a year while losing less than 10 percent of the time. Martina Navratilova was 86-1 in 1983, then "slipped" to 78-2 the following year.

The Williams sisters are winning so often, and with such apparent ease, that motivation may eventually become an issue. Since Wimbledon, Venus Williams has lost one set in nine matches. If she's something less than she was two years ago, as she maintains, the difference has been indiscernible unless Serena is on the other side of the net.

"I think I've played better in other years," Venus Williams said yesterday. "(Before) I was kind of like a desperate player who was on the ropes."

It's hard to think of yourself as desperate when you debate taking possession of a free car because of the additional insurance premiums. It's easy, therefore, to think of Venus Williams as content. She has won nearly $11 million on tour – more than Chris Evert made in her entire career – and the few worlds she has left to conquer are either already within her grasp or beyond her goals.

Yesterday's victory was her 27th career singles title, and the number is sufficiently high that she's started to keep count. Yet when asked about Navratilova's record of 167 tournament victories, Venus Williams says she's not likely to stick around long enough to challenge it.

"Sometimes I wonder if I had started at 14 if I would have won more titles," Venus Williams said, "or would I be tired of tennis?"

Herein lies the best hope for the rank-and-file of female tennis: Eventually, maybe Venus and Serena get bored.

"Some of us in the top 10 can get close to them," Dokic said yesterday. "Physically, I have to get stronger. (But) Tennis-wise, I don't think I'm too far away."

Physically, the gap is the Grand Canyon. It had to be demoralizing for Dokic when Williams was able to retrieve some of her most exquisite shots with her long strides and extraordinary quickness. It had to be disheartening for Dokic when Williams was able to summon a 111-mph ace to hold serve in the fourth game of the second set.

It has to be difficult for anyone to beat the Williams sisters. Except another Williams sister.

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post #2 of 48 (permalink) Old Aug 5th, 2002, 03:32 PM Thread Starter
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There's No Lull in Venus' World

There's No Lull in Venus' World
By LISA DILLMAN, Times Staff Writer
Los Angeles Times

CARLSBAD -- For those who looked at Venus Williams' sad face and glistening eyes after she lost for the first time in three years at Wimbledon, wondering about her immediate future after a devastating loss to her younger sister Serena, those concerns have been rendered moot by back-to-back titles in California.

This was not like 1999 all over again.

After Venus watched Serena win the 1999 U.S. Open she went into an emotional and physical tailspin, missing the first four months of 2000 with tendinitis in both wrists. But four Grand Slam singles titles have a way of improving someone's recuperative powers and self-belief.

After losing to Serena in a well-played final at Wimbledon, Venus has responded by losing only one set in two hard-court tournaments. That included a 6-2, 6-2 victory in 55 minutes over a weakened Jelena Dokic of Yugoslavia in the Acura Classic final Sunday at La Costa Resort and Spa. For the top-seeded Williams, it was her third consecutive championship here, a first at this tournament.

She was loose on the court, losing serve only once, hitting six aces, 23 winners and, more important, committing only 24 unforced errors. A bit of summertime cleaning took care of the latter annoying problem, reducing an unacceptable 73 unforced errors against Kim Clijsters in a three-set quarterfinalto a more acceptable number.

Having taken care of those matters, Williams turned her attention to the mundane during the trophy presentation, going on an amusing riff about cutting down on her speeding tickets and her conversation with a Samsung vice president earlier in the tournament. She has been talking here about having no remote control for her TV, meaning the channel stays on Lifetime Network, all day and all night.

"He promised to update me," she said, and apparently the "update" may be something in the form of a flat-screen TV.

She was enjoying talking about all her new gifts but seemed coy about a shiny new ring on her left hand, talking with reporters in the hallway on Saturday night.

"I'm too young to be engaged," said the 22-year-old. "Not this girl."

The way things are going for her opponents, the distraction of a Williams' engagement or marriage might be their only chance. Williams has won six titles in 2002 and three of her six losses this year have been to Serena. The others were to Monica Seles at the Australian Open, Sandrine Testud (who has now retired) at Dubai and Clijsters at Hamburg in May.

If anything, Venus seems increasingly engaged.

"I'm always counting the numbers now for titles," she said. "This was 27.... I really got interested this year because it started to be a [bigger] number than it used to be. I'm never going to get close to [Martina] Navratilova. I don't know if I can make it that far because I'm not sure I can play as long as she did."

The Venus-Serena Era is becoming a lot like the days of Navratilova-Chris Evert. They may be pushing one another, continually raising the bar, but the gap between the top two and the rest of the field is widening.

Davenport, 26, a former No. 1, took only three games from Venus in the semifinals and was losing consistently to both sisters even before her knee injury.

Of the younger challengers, there is Clijsters. And anyone with Dokic's groundstrokes and attitude should be taken seriously. At La Costa, the 19-year-old, seeded sixth, made a breakthrough by beating Jennifer Capriati for the first time and was pleasantly surprised by reaching the final, acknowledging the support of her boyfriend, Formula One driver Enrique Bernoldi of Brazil.

She said she was weakened by a stomach virus in her semifinal against Anna Kournikova--in which she saved two match points--and needed the attention of a doctor before Sunday's final. Still, the culprit may be too much tennis and suspect scheduling. Dokic is supposed to play this week at Manhattan Beach, followed by Montreal and New Haven, Conn., which would be five consecutive weeks of tournaments.

"I've beaten some very good players this week," Dokic said. "It was a little disappointing today. Considering how I was feeling, I don't think I could have done very much today."

Champions

Winners of the WTA tournament in the San Diego area, currently the Acura Classic:

2002 ...Venus Williams

2001 ...Venus Williams

2000 ...Venus Williams

1999 ...Martina Hingis

1998 ...Lindsay Davenport

1997 ...Martina Hingis

1996 ...Kimiko Date

1995 ...Conchita Martinez

1994 ...Steffi Graf

1993 ...Steffi Graf

1992 ...Jennifer Capriati

1991 ...Jennifer Capriati

1990 ...Steffi Graf

1989 ...Steffi Graf

1988 ...Stephanie Rehe

1987 ...Rafaella Reggi

1986 ...Melissa Gurney

1985 ...Annabelle Croft

1984... Debbie Spence
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post #3 of 48 (permalink) Old Aug 5th, 2002, 03:36 PM Thread Starter
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One Williams too many for most competition

One Williams too many for most competition
By TIM SULLIVAN
UNION-TRIBUNE STAFF WRITER
San Diego UNION-TRIBUNE


CARLSBAD – The trouble with women's tennis is that there aren't enough Williams sisters to keep it interesting.

Venus and Serena may be the scariest siblings since Frank and Jesse James, but too often they are in opposite orbits. They meet in the Grand Slam tournaments, and in their hometown tournament in Miami, but they otherwise maintain a disappointing distance.

Any tournament with both Williams sisters is awash in anticipation. Any tournament with only one is inherently incomplete and, of late, anticlimactic.

Venus Williams won her third straight Acura Classic title yesterday, whipping the weary Jelena Dokic 6-2, 6-2 in 55 masterful minutes. Yet the absence of Serena from the main draw acted as an invisible asterisk. Like a golf tournament without Tiger Woods or a bicycle race without Lance Armstrong, any tennis tournament with only one Williams can only be considered a qualified success.

Between them, the two sisters have come to dominate the game, but they have each reached the exalted plateau where they can only be defined as individuals through their sibling rivalry. Not since the Old Testament – or at least "The Brady Bunch" – has a family feud carried such profound cultural implications.

"They are beatable at times," Dokic said yesterday. "(But) not a lot of times. How long they can keep it going, that's a different story."

Perhaps the greatest challenge to Venus and Serena Williams is a lack of challenge. Between them, they own the last three U.S. Open titles and the last three Wimbledon titles, and Serena is the reigning French Open champion. Venus, 22, has won 50 of her 56 matches this year, and hasn't lost to anyone except her younger sister since April. Serena is 36-3, and won't observe her 21st birthday until after the U.S. Open.

Lack of parity has long been a problem on the women's tour. Thirty times since 1969, a player has won at least 50 matches in a year while losing less than 10 percent of the time. Martina Navratilova was 86-1 in 1983, then "slipped" to 78-2 the following year.

The Williams sisters are winning so often, and with such apparent ease, that motivation may eventually become an issue. Since Wimbledon, Venus Williams has lost one set in nine matches. If she's something less than she was two years ago, as she maintains, the difference has been indiscernible unless Serena is on the other side of the net.

"I think I've played better in other years," Venus Williams said yesterday. "(Before) I was kind of like a desperate player who was on the ropes."

It's hard to think of yourself as desperate when you debate taking possession of a free car because of the additional insurance premiums. It's easy, therefore, to think of Venus Williams as content. She has won nearly $11 million on tour – more than Chris Evert made in her entire career – and the few worlds she has left to conquer are either already within her grasp or beyond her goals.

Yesterday's victory was her 27th career singles title, and the number is sufficiently high that she's started to keep count. Yet when asked about Navratilova's record of 167 tournament victories, Venus Williams says she's not likely to stick around long enough to challenge it.

"Sometimes I wonder if I had started at 14 if I would have won more titles," Venus Williams said, "or would I be tired of tennis?"

Herein lies the best hope for the rank-and-file of female tennis: Eventually, maybe Venus and Serena get bored.

"Some of us in the top 10 can get close to them," Dokic said yesterday. "Physically, I have to get stronger. (But) Tennis-wise, I don't think I'm too far away."

Physically, the gap is the Grand Canyon. It had to be demoralizing for Dokic when Williams was able to retrieve some of her most exquisite shots with her long strides and extraordinary quickness. It had to be disheartening for Dokic when Williams was able to summon a 111-mph ace to hold serve in the fourth game of the second set.

It has to be difficult for anyone to beat the Williams sisters. Except another Williams sister.
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post #4 of 48 (permalink) Old Aug 5th, 2002, 03:39 PM Thread Starter
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Venus Williams wins Acura Classic

Venus Williams wins Acura Classic

8/4/02 11:50 PM

CARLSBAD, Calif. (AP) _ Venus Williams was simply overwhelming _ again.

Relying on her power game and court coverage, the top-seeded Williams won her third consecutive Acura Classic on Sunday, defeating sixth-seeded Jelena Dokic of Yugoslavia 6-2, 6-2 in the tournament final at La Costa Resort and Spa.

Williams has now won 27 WTA tournaments in her career. She is the only player to win the tournament three times in a row in its 19-year history.

``It is really nice to keep coming back to a tour that is so familiar and where winning is so familiar,'' Williams said. ``I just had a great day.''

In her semifinal Saturday, Williams dispatched third-seeded Lindsay Davenport 6-2, 6-1, and she showed no signs of letting up Sunday as she defeated Dokic in a tidy 55 minutes. Dokic had a 2-1 lead in the first set before Williams rattled off five games in a row to win the set.

Dokic held her serve to win the first game of the second set, but Williams came back to win four consecutive games to take a 4-1 lead and cruise to the win, her sixth singles title this year.

Williams won $115,000 and a car. Dokic won $60,000. Williams is now 3-1 in her career against Dokic.

In the doubles final, fourth seeded Elena Dementieva of Russia and Janette Husarova of Slovokia defeated third-seeded Daniela Hantuchova of Slovakia and Ai Sugiyama of Japan 6-2, 6-4.

Dokic, who consulted a physician before the match, played with what she said was a stomach virus, which she said weakened her before and during the match.

``Just generally, physically, I wasn't feeling well. I was very tired from the last two days,'' Dokic said. ``I think that I was run down and tired and it came down all at once.''

Williams had 23 winners and 24 unforced errors, while Dokic had only five winners and 26 unforced errors.

Agressiveness paid off for Williams, who converted on 90 percent of her net approaches while Dokic converted on only 42 percent.

``I hit two or three unbelievable drop shots, and in two steps Venus was there to hit winners,'' Dokic said. ``I am happy that I got to the final. I'm a little disappointed today, but compared to last year, I am playing a lot better on the hard court.''

On Saturday in the semifinals, Dokic defeated Anna Kournikova of Russia 6-7 (6), 7-6 (2), 6-0.

Williams has now won two tournaments in a row after winning the Bank of the West Classic at Stanford last week.

``I am not getting bored with tennis,'' Williams said when asked if the game has lost its challenge. ``Mainly the whole time I am fighting with myself to keep the ball in play and not make errors.''
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post #5 of 48 (permalink) Old Aug 11th, 2002, 11:43 PM Thread Starter
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Venus above all else

Source: San Francisco Chronicle


AS SHE left the court behind the regal Venus Williams last night, carrying a bag that seemed a bit large for her frame, Kristina
Brandi struck the look of a caddy. It was just another night on the women's tour, a perfectly fine tennis player reduced to ashes.

Williams hit the Bank of the West Classic in all her glory, crushing the ball without mercy and making a lime-green outfit look
like the only sensible choice. The Stanford event marks her first tour appearance since Wimbledon, and not much has changed.
Talent, icy demeanor, guts under pressure -- all the things we used to say about Margaret Court, Chris Evert and Steffi Graf -- fit
nicely into every Venus critique these days.

She was talking about her goals in tennis last night, after her 6- 4, 6-3 conquest of Brandi, saying that despite two Wimbledon
titles and her U.S. Open championship, "There's a lot I haven't done. I haven't been No. 1 in the world. I haven't won the French
Open or the Australian. I haven't really been around that long."

That's hardly the feeling among Bay Area tennis insiders. To them, Venus has been around forever, and they've watched her grow
up, from the 14-year-old kid making her pro debut at the Oakland Coliseum Arena in 1994 to the most feared player, rankings be
damned, in the world.

The maturation process has been remarkable, to the point where Venus' act -- both off and on the court -- is unassailable. People
take potshots at her father, and sister Serena's injury-tormented slump has been cruelly questioned by both the media and other players on tour, but Venus is the very definition of an evolved personality. She was cranky and temperamental in her first Wimbledon, back in '97, and now you couldn't bother her if you fired a round of shotgun blasts from behind the service line.

When a certain lineswoman called no less than six foot-faults on Venus last night, there was a steely calm. During a rash of
unforced errors in the second set, her expression never changed. She allowed herself two glimpses of emotion: A smile to the
crowd after she won an electrifying point for 5-2 in the first set, and a quick little dance -- not unlike her Wimbledon celebration
this year -- when the match was over.

In a brief postmatch press conference, she often flashed that smile that says, "I know a few things you don't, and I'd rather keep
them to myself." But she did admit, "You know, this is a great job. Every now and then I reflect on it, and I really like being a
professional tennis player. This is good."

For fans of women's tennis, there can't be a better bargain than the two-court setup at Stanford's Taube Family Tennis Stadium.
There was a bit of magic in the air around dusk as Williams and the engaging Kim Clijsters played their matches side-by-side,
separated only by a 3-foot partition, to the backdrop of a pink-and-turquoise sky.

"I must say it can be distracting," Williams said, "if you're playing next to an interesting match and it gets a little too interesting, and everyone wants to watch that." Such was the case last night, as Clijsters was taken to a third set by Cara Black, but for anyone sitting in Williams' half of the facility, there was only one show. Would her serves reach 120 mph? Can you ever get enough of that wicked cross-court backhand, or her incredible court coverage? Can you believe how she takes short shots out of the air with that looping, topspin forehand?

Everything about Venus is distinctive, and at the top of the list we'll put her hairstyle. More specifically, she has one. White
baseball caps are all the rage now; the entire women's tour has turned into Patty Fendick. All three of the other players wore
them last night, undoubtedly cashing in on endorsement money but unwittingly stripping themselves of style or individuality. Can
you imagine a hat on Evert, Graf or Martina Navratilova? No chance -- and no hat for Venus.

There is one old-style element to this tournament, and that is the inevitability of the final matchup. It wasn't so bad when that
meant Evert-Navratilova, and Williams-Lindsay Davenport sounds pretty good, too. Not to demean the chances of Monica Seles
or Meghann Shaughnessy, a player who should be seen while she's here (Shaughnessy plays Venus in today's afternoon session), but the prospects look good for Williams and Davenport contesting this final for the fourth consecutive year.

It means critical stylistic differences. It means a bit of intrigue, since Davenport has been clearly and publicly put off by both
Richard and Serena Williams. Based on recent developments, it means the smart money leaning toward Venus.
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post #6 of 48 (permalink) Old Aug 11th, 2002, 11:48 PM Thread Starter
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Venus, Capriati have won past 5 Slams

Venus, Capriati have won past 5 Slams
By Greg Garber
ESPN.com


NEW HAVEN, Conn. -- There was a pale, fleeting moment when it looked like Jennifer Capriati might climb back into her match with Venus Williams last Friday night. It was 1-all in a second-set tiebreaker and the 11,000-plus crowd at the Connecticut Tennis Center, aching for a third set, tried to carry Capriati home.


Jennifer Capriati says her loss to Venus Williams in the semifinals at the Pilot Pen does not change her outlook going into the U.S. Open.

Instead, what those hopeful spectators got was a sobering vision of the future of women's tennis. Hint: it isn't Capriati, the feel-good, comeback story of the year in sports.

Williams, whose shrill grunts only materialize when the stakes warrant them, hit an unreachable volley, then a spectacular forehand winner. Shaken, Capriati steered a tentative forehand into the net. After Williams ripped another forehand winner, Capriati dumped two backhands into the net. Six straight points, in the white-hot heat of a big match.

And just like that, Williams was a 6-4, 7-6 (1) winner at the Pilot Pen tournament.

"I'm pretty pleased with it," Capriati said afterward. "Some things I could have done better, but I felt like I was close."

Really?

"I look at it as a good warm-up match before the Open," Capriati continued. "You know, obviously, that's where it counts. And this, you know, still gives me -- it doesn't change my attitude going into the Open at all."

Obviously. For the record, Capriati has never beaten Williams in three meetings. This is relevant because the U.S. Open is upon us and it likely will determine who will be anointed the women's player of the year.

It has been fashionable to say that this year's Open, which begins Monday, is the Wide Open, particularly on the women's side. Favorites include Martina Hingis, somehow still the world's No. 1 ranked player, Lindsay Davenport, the No. 3 player, young Belgians Kim Clijsters and Justine Henin, resurgent Monica Seles and Serena Williams, the 1999 Open champion.


The truth is that, between them, Venus Williams and Capriati have won the past five Grand Slam singles titles. Williams finished the 2000 season with wins at Wimbledon and the U.S. Open and Capriati took this year's Australian Open and French Open before Williams won Wimbledon.

Both Williams and Capriati politely allowed that they were among the favorites, but only Davenport, a congenital truth-teller, was willing to state the obvious.

"She won it last year and she's played well this summer." Davenport said on Saturday after falling to Williams in the Pilot Pen final in straight sets. "I would think that Venus is the favorite."

Tapping into toughness
Mental toughness is an over-used phrase that is bestowed upon athletes by the all-knowing media. Invariably, the winners have it and the losers, well, they don't. Divining what happens inside someone's brain is tackling a slippery slope, indeed, but that doesn't stop people from trying.

Williams' gentle, terminally bemused nature in interviews has led observers over the years to posit that she lacks the killer instinct necessary to become a consistent champion. Until last year, they were right. There were numerous episodes that suggested Williams wasn't taking the game seriously enough. Williams, in her candid, self-deprecating comments, has helped to advance that notion.


Venus Williams says she gave up during her 1999 U.S. Open match with Martina Hingis and that she'll never lose that way again.

But now, underneath Williams' airy veneer, there is someone who wants to win quite badly. Williams traces this transformation to a single match, the 1999 U.S. Open semifinals against Hingis.

It was a spectacular match, but Williams collapsed in the third set after breaking Hingis in the third game. Her legs cramped and a trainer was called on for fluids and a brief massage. Williams lost five of the last six games and the match, 6-1, 4-6, 6-3.

"I just gave away the match," Williams said Saturday with obvious disgust. "I refused to win, basically. That was the last time I ever did anything like that."

And that almost makes it an unfair fight.

Tenacity aside, Williams is already the game's best athlete. At 6-foot-1, she has an unnatural wingspan and the speed to run down baseline balls other players can't. Her serve is the biggest bomb in women's tennis history, and like a seasoned pitcher she has learned to change speeds.

In the third game of the New Haven final, she blinded Davenport with this love service game: 1) a 92-mph slice outside for an ace, 2) a 103-mph slider down the T that was ricocheted wide, 3) a laser at 113 mph that was unreturnable and 4) a sliced second serve at 83 mph that Davenport was lucky to get her frame on.

When Williams comes to net, something she doesn't particularly like but seems to find herself doing more often, she wins points. On match point, she charged to pick up a ball that had skimmed off the net cord and when Davenport ripped a passing shot Williams would not be passed. She made a ridiculous back-handed stab volley to beat Davenport -- and this is almost hard to believe -- for the eighth time in their past 10 matches.

"I just didn't handle her pace as well as I need to and haven't maybe as well as I used to," Davenport said. "I still need to do better about dictating the points more and really trying to be more offensive than maybe I have been."

Williams has been more than merely offensive; she can be downright mean. In her quarterfinal match against Henin, she clipped the Belgian on the left wrist with a serve. Henin's sharp, flashed look was of hurt, not anger. When Davenport returned a serve that had been called out, Williams fired it back in the direction of her head. Davenport, who had turned around, spun back and glared at Williams. It wasn't a look of anger, but of surprise.

Both actions, intentional or not, underline Williams' steely approach.

Prodigal daughter
In terms of tennis, Williams has actually been a late bloomer. Her father and coach, Richard, eschewed the traditional junior circuit, leaving Venus and Serena remarkably unsavvy for their age and stage.

Venus won her first Grand Slam last year at the age of 20; Hingis, by comparison, is three months younger and had already won her five Grand Slam titles by that age. Interestingly, Williams has closed the slam singles gap to 5-3 and it appears that she will finish her career well ahead of the Swiss star.

Richard Williams' main mantra that has helped his daughters succeed is self-sufficiency. There is no coach -- in New Haven, Venus' mother Oracene was listed as her coach -- chirping about practice and conditioning. Of course, independence can have a downside if you don't have the maturity to handle it.


Fashion, boys and the good life have all conspired to disturb the mechanical rhythms of practice and matches that the top players must adhere to. Hingis, who reportedly has discovered the opposite sex in a big way, is the most recent casualty in this area.

Still, somewhere between 20 and 21, Venus Williams decided to pay the price required of a champion. Capriati, who is four years older than Williams, discovered the same resolve late last year.

"I'm confident before I go out and play a match that I know I've put in the work and like I feel confident that I am going out there and play well," Capriati said last week. "Even against the top players, I'm always going to give them a good match and make it hard for them.

"Maybe it even starts before in the locker room. And, you know, that's helped me a lot. And maybe the other players don't play as well because of that. The tough situations, you know, I can really draw on -- in those experiences and think how I handled it before. I think to myself, 'I've been in this situation before and I've pulled it out.' "

Because of the vagaries of the WTA Tour, Capriati and Williams are ranked No. 2 and No. 4, respectively. The way the draw breaks down, they would meet in the semifinals. If Capriati manages to win the title, she would be the reigning women's player. Ditto for Williams.

There are numerous reasons to think that Williams will emerge after the fortnight at the National Tennis Center. Consider her hellacious run last week through the Pilot Pen field. When rain washed out her quarterfinal match with Henin on Thursday, she was forced to play two matches on Friday, a professional first.

It took three hours and 31 minutes, but Williams dispatched both Henin and Capriati, then came back the next day to defeat Davenport. In a span of less than 26 hours, Williams took out the world's No. 2, No. 3 and No. 6 players -- a concentrated, grueling test that even the U.S. Open isn't likely to present. Only the feisty Henin was able to take even a set from her.

The scary thing? These days Williams very rarely loses points because she isn't in position to make a shot. Most often, she fails when she goes for too much or tries to get too cute with a drop shot. In winning three of the past five Grand Slams, she has displayed a confidence and a new consistency that is, frankly, daunting to her rivals.

And this year, the defending champion insists, she is better prepared than last year for the Open.

"I was lazy last year," she admitted in New Haven. "I left the California tournaments and I went home for two weeks and I barely hit. When I go to a tournament, I will practice. At home [Palm Beach Gardens, Fla.] is where I guess I don't do my job the way I should.

"This year I did practice more, and I just -- I just like to win. I don't like losing, so if I want to keep winning, I know I have to practice."
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post #7 of 48 (permalink) Old Aug 11th, 2002, 11:51 PM Thread Starter
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Sisters' drive to No. 1 will push aside Hingis

Sisters' drive to No. 1 will push aside Hingis

Bruce Jenkins Tuesday, September 11, 2001


--------------------------------------------------------------------------------



SAYING FAREWELL to the U.S. Open tennis championships and their most relevant themes:

THE WILLIAMS SISTERS: This time, the spectacle and cultural significance were quite enough: a Grand Slam title being contested by two African American women in Arthur Ashe Stadium. People will be looking for more compelling theater when Venus next plays Serena -- and the outlook is reasonably good.

For one thing, both sisters have an eye on the No. 1 ranking. This Martina Hingis sham is getting on everyone's nerves, and if the Williamses play more tournaments, that means more computer points. Venus, No. 4 at the moment, should be on top by mid-2002 if she fulfills her promise to play more often.

It's really up to Serena to bring their on-court performances to life. She made the most mistakes in their Wimbledon (2000) and U.S. Open confrontations, showed the most nerves. But she's starting to alter her game slightly, realizing that her incredible athleticism begs for more trips to the net. Variety is the key to any good match, and as soon as the sisters start mixing pace changes and serve-and-volley points into their games -- consistently, not just on a lark -- their "rivalry" might flourish.

There's nothing anyone can do about the winning-and-losing end. You'll never see Venus or Serena doing a dance or a fist-pumping victory lap at the other's expense. But as Serena said after Saturday night's match, "It's not that difficult now, playing Venus. I really have no problem with it, and I'm sure she doesn't. I guess our fighting is done only on the court, because we never fight."

One last, ominous word from Serena: "My game, in terms of potential, is about a 4 out of 10 right now. You guys haven't seen anything yet."

THE MYTH: There's no denying the widespread appeal of women's tennis and its considerable edge over the men in that regard. But how many books or magazine articles can you read about the "cat-fight" mentality? On the court, the men have been an infinitely better show.

Among the heralded Big Five -- Venus, Serena, Hingis, Jennifer Capriati, Lindsay Davenport -- there wasn't a single great match at either Wimbledon or the U.S. Open this year. As patterns develop, rivalries are fading.

Hingis and Davenport just don't have the stuff to beat the Williamses any longer. Capriati wilted badly in her Open showdown with Venus and has yet to beat her anywhere. The Venus-Serena matchup has the best potential for pure tennis, and we know the inherent flaws there.

The men don't have a hierarchy of haughty, bickering celebrities, but they gave us Lleyton Hewitt-Taylor Dent, Roger Federer-Pete Sampras and the unforgettable Goran Ivanisevic-Patrick Rafter final at Wimbledon. They gave us Sampras-Andre Agassi, Hewitt-Andy Roddick and some lesser classics (like Gustavo Kuerten-Max Mirnyi) in New York. And they have some good, exciting young players on center stage. They don't have a thing to worry about.

AWFUL: 1. The self-serving daily announcements about record attendance, when virtually every match has an embarrassing number of empty seats. To blame:

corporate buffoons who buy the tickets and either don't use them or wander the grounds trying to look like tennis players. 2. Starting an evening program with mixed doubles (attendance: 108) and forcing the Roddick-Hewitt match to start at 9 Eastern. And they wonder why the place was half-empty at midnight? 3. CBS railroaded the late-night television rights so inflexibly that as Roddick-Hewitt came to its excruciatingly tense conclusion, USA Network went off the air in the eastern half of the country and CBS, with a stone-cold Patrick McEnroe suddenly calling the shots, took over.

THE MATCH: In the wake of the Sampras-Agassi quarterfinal, some observers were calling it the greatest match ever played. Others (including this corner) prefer the John McEnroe-Bjorn Borg Wimbledon final of 1980, featuring an 18-16 tiebreaker among other heady theatrics. The feeling seemed universal that it was the best men's match ever played at the U.S. Open.

THE KID: Roddick made an interesting comment early in the tournament, saying, "I don't think of my age (19) as a crutch to be unpoised." But he lost it, badly, in his tantrum against chair umpire Jorge Dias during a crucial stage of the Hewitt match.

MEMO: To both Roddick and Hewitt -- ditch the hats. This is the big-time, not a skateboard park. Time to start representing your sport responsibly -- and you'll look twice as good.

E-mail Bruce Jenkins at bjenkins@sfchronicle.com.
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post #8 of 48 (permalink) Old Aug 11th, 2002, 11:53 PM Thread Starter
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Dominating Divas

Dominating Divas


Venus Williams By Andrea Leand
09/20/2001

How difficult to dwell on the U.S. Open women's event when some 60 hours after Venus Williams successfully defended her crown, thousands of innocent people lost their lives in terrorists attacks in New York and Washington. The enormous tragedy dwarfs any need to analyze forehands, well-fought matches and off-court feuds.

Images of the World Trade Center disintegrating like a washed out sand castle, tearful relatives relaying last minute goodbyes with family phoning from hijacked planes and helpless people trying to escape from the blazing Twin Towers contrast with the magnificent moments of the Williams sisters' historical surge to this Grand Slam final.
Such tragedy prioritizes what the Williams sisters have always known—what is important and what is not. As big picture thinkers, they kept their careers in perspective and never chose one-dimensional, tunnel-vision lives like other tennis prodigies. Despite snickers from cynics and rivals, they refused to play a more extensive tour schedule, and instead made time to earn their degrees from the Fashion Institute and take primary roles in charities, including the OWL Foundation and Players That Care Foundation (for ovarian cancer.) Their occasional absences from the tour this year allowed Jennifer Capriati to jump to No. 2 and dropped Serena to No. 10 and Venus to No. 4.

But neither sister looked too concerned about their ranking drops on arrival at the National Tennis Center. Their red-hot summer in stockpiling three more titles—Venus taking titles in San Diego and New Haven, Serena prevailing in Toronto—cast them as primary threats to Capriati. In fact, the U.S. Open proved the perfect playground to settle bragging rights for No. 1. Clearly, not even fellow players considered Martina Hingis world champion despite what the WTA computer spit out. Hingis racked up points by playing more events than others, but her drought at Grand Slam events and dismal match record against prime names calls into question her mainstay at No. 1 and the tour's ranking system.

Still, seeding 32 players in the draw for the first time protected Hingis and her top ranked cohorts through the first few rounds. This new approach prevented stars from facing an opponent ranked in the top 32 until the third round, and consequently, a repeat of the French Open wherein Venus fell in the first round to 17th ranked Barbara Schett. This directive may have ***ured marquee names in second week battles, but it also made for dismally ho-hum first week washouts.

The only brilliant flashes were from rookie Daja Bedanova and revived veteran Iva Majoli in preliminary matches. The former, a Czech teenager, seemed so slight and unimposing swallowed up in an oversize chair in the player lounge but still emerged a siren with a lethal serve against Seles. Only weeks earlier Seles looked like her former self after crushing Capriati, Hingis and Serena Williams in reaching two consecutive finals in San Diego and Los Angeles.

But Seles peaked too soon this summer and against the lithe, unfazed qualifier seemed stuck in cement. The feisty Bedanova, who upset No. 12 seed Meghan Shaughnessy in the previous round, made Seles look old and slow. The 18-year-old out-slugged the game's best slugger and then capped it off by blasting serves by the sport's greatest returner. A stunned Seles offered little explanation; a matter-of-fact Bedanova saw no reason for surprise.

If Majoli had possessed Bedanova's resolve, she may have pulled off the biggest upset of the fortnight in her third round against Hingis. Once ranked No. 4, Majoli came within two points of overtaking the world champion as she did to prevail at the 1997 French Open. Her stinging ground strokes took Hingis to a third set tie break, but the Croat, craving similar acclaim awarded her compatriot and Wimbledon champion Goran Ivanisevic, caved under the pressure. Emotions of the moment, not physical fatigue caused her to bend over begging for breath and dissolve at 5-5 in the tiebreak. Credit Hingis for switching gears after a set and half drubbing and choreographing the well-varied shot combinations of short angles, drop shots and surprise net charges that successfully separated her from the pack years ago and secured her three-set victory this time.

The much-anticipated later round duels never lived up to the hype. Without a game plan or patience, Jelena Dokic—minus disruptive dad Damir—never posed much threat to Hingis in the fourth round. Wimbledon finalist Justin Henin and French Open finalist Kim Clijsters bowed out pitifully to Serena in the 16s and Venus in the quarters, respectively. Only the quarterfinal bout between quiet contender Lindsay Davenport and Serena jolted the buzz in the women’s competition.

It was simple to overlook Davenport in the draw; her subtle disposition and strokes lack the in-your-face flash of her counterparts. Capriati's grit, Venus' proud posture, Serena's exhilaration and Hingis' sass flesh out their games with added dimension. Davenport shows little emotion; her strokes are as straightforward and uncompromising as she is. To understand her strengths is to appreciate her consistent standard of high quality play.

Likewise, her three-set extravaganza against Serena provided the best quality tennis in the women's event. The evening delight marked a career turning point for the 19-year-old who finally conquered her nerves. As usual, Serena came out firing to take a convincing set and half lead but buckled nervously when trying to close it out. Davenport stayed steady to take the second set tie break but could not keep up with Williams' superior shot-making and speed. Despite squandering a 3-0 lead in the third set, Williams found her nerve to close out the match.

"I asked Venus how she deals with getting nervous," Serena said in explaining how she was able to hold on to her nerve this time for the victory. "She told me that champions do not get nervous. So, I told myself in the match not to be nervous and just to play."

Television producers and tournament officials gave away smiles when the world's four best players reached the semifinals. Although positioned as heavyweight battles, both Williamses needed to play at only 75 percent of their potential to advance to the final. Serena so dominated Hingis that the world No. 1 failed to win a single point off of Serena's first serve. After the 51-minute demolition, her well-poised sister overcame a nagging cold and cough, hostile crowd and resolute Capriati to reach her third U.S. Open final.

"I don't think that I've played my best tennis, but I'm getting through," Venus said. And in truth, she never had to play her best tennis to defend her title. Her straight-set victory over Serena in the final proved anticlimactic. There were no accusations of match fixing as both women did their best under the difficult psychological circumstances of facing a sibling.

Then again, the tennis was clearly secondary during a final that presented one of the most impressive spectacles in sport. The star-studded capacity crowd, Diana Ross' rendition of "America, The Beautiful" and an eye-popping fireworks display set a scene of Super Bowl status. An hour or so later when locker room attendants showered a victorious Venus with their customary confetti as she entered, there were no losers or tears.

In fact, the sisters had celebrated with family the previous night; "both of them reaching the final was the victory, said mom, Oracene. "This will go down in the history books…but like Muhammad Ali, you probably only get sense of the accomplishment years afterward."

Indeed, the sister final—the first since Watson siblings, Maude and Lillian, reached the 1884 Wimbledon final—raised the bar another level in the sport. And to think that both women reached the final without playing their best tennis. Who could challenge them if they played to their potential? Hingis waved the white flag before taking her racquet out of the cover, Davenport surrendered without much more explanation and Capriati admitted to running out of steam after just five games against Venus.

Not even off-court concerns rattled the sisters who handled adversity with intelligence, maturity and good humor. Commotion and controversy over their father, Richard, who kept an unusually low profile until leaving hours before the final, never bothered either woman. They proved the adults in the house on all occasions. When one gruff tournament transportation head tried to bully a rider with his irrational ranting and raving, a sympathetic Venus stepped in unsolicited and insisted on giving the wronged individual a lift in her car.

Then again such generosity and thoughfulness is typical from Williams, remembering what's important and what's not. "When I heard of the tragedy," said Venus who had left New York just hours before the attack on the World Trade Center, "my heart immediately went out to all those affected. I was astonished to learn that such things could happen. Only a few days before there had been such joy (at the U.S. Open) but now we all feel such sorrow. The only thing important now is to pray for those families who have lost loved ones."
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Venus on a Different Level, Says Navratilova

By Alastair Himmer

TOKYO (Reuters) - Former world No. 1 Martina Navratilova says she would have been a match for any of today's top women, with the possible exception of Wimbledon and U.S. Open champion Venus Williams.

"I think at my best I would stack up pretty well against anybody at their best. But Venus is so big and she isn't at her best yet," Navratilova, who is currently enjoying a comeback as a doubles player, said Sunday.

However, the 44-year-old Navratilova, who competed at this week's Toyota Princess Cup in Tokyo with Arantxa Sanchez-Vicario, complained that the modern game is too one-dimensional with the emphasis on big serving and power from the back of the court.

"Today's players are better hitters, but the variety has gone down. Everyone stays on the baseline. It would be weird for me to do that, even on clay," she told Reuters.

The Prague-born American, who won 167 singles titles -- more than any man or woman in the history of tennis -- between 1975 and 1994, claimed that the result would have been hard to call if she had ever faced Williams at the peak of her powers in the 1980s.

"My lefty serve would have given her fits and my variety would have been pretty good against her. But Venus has the wingspan of a condor. It's unbelievable," said Navratilova, who won 18 grand slam singles titles on the back of an aggressive serve-and-volley game.

The nine-time Wimbledon champion had some words of advice for current world No. 1 Martina Hingis, who has failed to win a grand slam since the 1999 Australian Open.

BIG HITTERS

"Take away the serve and Hingis wins because she doesn't miss. But she needs to improve her serve. The big hitters win too many free points on their serve -- she wins hardly any," said Navratilova.

"She used to have to beat one big hitter but now there are too many of them. Their average game beats her average game. Their great game beats her great game."

Of her own prospects, Navratilova believes she is very close to winning her 166th career doubles title following her return to the tour at last year's Wimbledon.

Her visit to Tokyo, however, ended in a disappointing defeat to unseeded Janet Lee and Rachel McQuillan at the quarter-final stage.

"We beat (Lisa) Raymond and (Rennae) Stubbs in Toronto (in August) and they're the No. 1 team in the world. I know we can beat anybody, but we've lost to teams we should've beaten," said Navratilova, who will continue to play with Sanchez-Vicario until the end of the year.

Still questioning line calls and pumping her fists during matches, Navratilova insists she is still deadly serious about her tennis.

"I'm not doing this to bask in the limelight. When I walked away, I didn't really need to hit another tennis ball the rest of my life," she said. "But when you're around it you want it. The passion never goes away."
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post #10 of 48 (permalink) Old Aug 11th, 2002, 11:56 PM Thread Starter
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TIME MAGAZINE

TIME MAGAZINE

September 17, 2001 Vol. 158 No. 11
Williams Wins!
Dad said it would happen, and he was right: Venus and Serena will set the future of women's tennis
BY JOEL STEIN


After the Williams sisters took on the world, they had to take on each other. After Serena demolished Martina Hingis on Friday and Venus whipped Jennifer Capriati a couple of hours later--all their U.S. Open challengers felled--father Richard Williams said he was grabbing the first jet out of town. He said, "I doubt any person in their right mind would want to see their kids out there fighting like hell in an arena." He said it would make him sick to his stomach.

But not even a father could turn his head away from this. It was rumored that Richard never got on that plane. And he probably didn't even get nauseous. After all, the U.S. Open women's all-Williams final on Saturday night seemed a lot less like a gladiator fight than a carnival. Before the match, two women on stilts with tennis-ball headware watched couples dance to blaring Elvis Presley right outside the main stadium. The Harlem Gospel Choir performed before Diana Ross sang God Bless America. Vanessa Williams, Rick Fox, Brandi and Spike Lee poured into the seats. There were certainly more black people in this tennis stadium than the last time sisters met for a majors final--in 1884, in pasty-white Victorian Wimbledon. It was appropriate that Arthur Ashe Stadium would be the site for the first duel between African Americans for a Grand Slam singles championship.

The audience was in for a treat. The last time the two were supposed to meet, at a semifinal match at Indian Wells, Calif., Venus pulled out at the last minute with a bum knee. And at the 2000 Wimbledon semifinal, their play was sloppy and uninspired, with Venus slumping toward a victory. But this time, Serena, 19--the more powerful but less disciplined player--turned it on at the beginning. Venus, 21 and still the more well-rounded, controlled strategist, broke her sister's serve in the fifth game of the first set. Serena's face, already locked stiff, became even more intense as she struggled, double-faulting the break point on her next service. "She's too competitive," said Venus before the tournament began. "She takes it to an extreme. That could be her weakness." After a week of controlled play, Serena melted into a puddle of 36 unforced errors, laughing in fits of embarrassment, shrieking in frustration and finally tossing her racquet away. By the end of the night, Venus had won her fourth major, 6-2, 6-4, and beat her younger sister for the fifth time in six matches.

But the crowd wasn't really there to see who won. At this point the sisters are still so inseparable--sharing hotel rooms, living together and even practicing together on Saturday morning--that there were not a whole lot of people who could parse favoritism. The crowd, enamored of its own cleverness, was giggling to shouts of "Williams" and "Serenus." It was there to celebrate a new era in women's tennis, the one that Richard, who wore a T shirt on Saturday with his own picture on it, had been predicting for 20 years. Even lunatics are right sometimes.

A mix of P.T. Barnum, Bill Veeck and someone out on a day pass, Richard taught his daughters tennis from instructional videos he had bought. While living in Compton, Calif., with little money, he said he was flipping channels and saw Romanian player Virginia Ruzici win a $35,000 check. He then hid his wife's birth-control pills in order to create a tennis player. He says he even got a friend to steal her purse so she wouldn't have her pills. In a new book, Venus Envy, Richard tells author L. Jon Wertheim that he owns the air rights over India, has a seat on the "Shanghai Stock Exchange," will make some $100 million from a website called homegirls.com, and has been offered $250,000 a night to sing at a Bahamas casino. This is just one afternoon with the guy.

Still, he got it right, not only by creating the two best players in the game but by gutsily holding out for a huge endorsement contract. And there will be more in what promises to be a long era of Williams domination. The end of the summer saw two tournament wins in a row by the Williamses--Serena in Toronto and Venus in New Haven. This year's Open was the death knell not just for Hingis, whose weak serve and clever volleying look a century old, but even for the "veterans"--powerful Capriati and Lindsay Davenport, who just did not appear to be in the same league. The generation of Williams contemporaries--players such as Justine Henin and Kim Clijsters--may never get its day in the sun.

Not only are the Williamses the strongest players in a sport in which power increasingly matters, but their volleys have improved, and they're less afraid of rushing the net. If they begin playing more tournaments next year, as they have vowed to do, Venus, ranked No. 4 at the Open, and Serena, ranked No. 10, will be fighting for the No. 1 ranking for a long time. And if Serena continues to improve her control and gets some confidence about facing her older sister, it will be interesting to see how they segue from partners to rivals--whether they will still room together on the road, whether they'll start a clothing line together, whether they can still practice together and whether they can remain doubles partners.

"Tennis is just a game, and we're entertainers," said Serena before the match. "People pay to see us play and perform. After that, we go home, and we're always going to be a family. We have to be able to separate tennis from family life." The first words Venus said to her sister after defeating her were "I love you." The sisters seem to have enough perspective to be able to pull that off. They get a lot of flack for saying tennis isn't the only thing in their life--for planning for their next careers by spending autumns learning how to dart dresses in the same class at a Fort Lauderdale, Fla., fashion college next to a strip mall--but that may be the only thing that gets them through a sibling rivalry that could otherwise make Cain and Abel seem like Waltons.

Even during the postgame speeches to the crowd, the two looked very much like sisters. And they still played up the sisterly rivalry. A smiling Venus said, "I always want Serena to win. I'm the big sister. I take care of Serena. I make sure she has everything, even if I don't have anything." Serena grimaced and tugged on Venus' arm. "Stop. Stop. Stop. Be quiet." Then she laughed. "For the younger sisters, we always look up to the big sister and we always want to win because they're always older and ahead of us." They're already learning how to split up their fans for the upcoming rivalry.

Reported by Amanda Bower/New York
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post #11 of 48 (permalink) Old Aug 11th, 2002, 11:59 PM Thread Starter
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Venus Williams Outduels Hingis Into Final

Venus Williams Outduels Hingis Into Final
By SELENA ROBERTS
It was in the thick of the third-set delirium, and a desperate Venus Williams was churning her sinewy limbs as if they were oars to reach one sideline of the court and then sprint to the other.

Each lunge produced amazed gasps from the witnesses inside Arthur Ashe Stadium yesterday. Each swashbuckling stab during this crucial ninth game only added to the tension. All the while, a meticulous Martina Hingis kept filling in the corners of the court as if applying a No. 2 pencil to a spreadsheet.

It was a brilliant contrast of style in an unending rally. Finally, as the two grew drunk with fatigue, Williams sent up a shot that arched into the air like a flare from the stranded.

This was Hingis's grand opening, her chance to get to match point in her semifinal at the United States Open. Trouble was, a bleary-eyed Hingis could not focus on the fuzzy blob.

"I was looking for the ball," Hingis said. "And I couldn't really see it. I couldn't believe it. I didn't do anything with that shot."

Instead of planting an overhead winner, she blocked it back to Williams. And instantly, Williams uncoiled a backhand passing shot down the line. It was 30-all, not 15-40, not the end, yet. A resilient Williams went on to hold her serve. She trailed, 4-5, and then ran off a string of three more games to deflate a crestfallen Hingis, 4-6, 6-3, 7-5.

Once Hingis cracked her last shot of the match into the net, an almost stunned Williams twirled around the court, and uttered the words, "Unbelievable, unbelievable."

But Richard Williams, the one who hatched his daughter's career from his vivid imagination, missed the end of a match that was so exaggerated in its high level of play, it was more like a tall tale. He did not get to see his daughter's wild advance into today's United States Open final, where she will play Lindsay Davenport, the other semifinalist winner from yesterday.

He did not get to watch her fight back to win her 25th match in a row and become the second Williams sister in two years — right after her younger sister, Serena — to have a chance to grab another Grand Slam title for the family trophy case.

In the ninth game of the third set, just after Venus Williams plopped a drop shot into the net at 15-15, a visibly rattled Richard Williams left his seat. Approached by reporters in the parking lot, he mumbled a few vulgarities and slipped into a car. At this point, his daughter had scrambled to go ahead, 6-5. So why the hostility, why the departure? Did he really have a business appointment, as one of his ***ociates said, or was he too unsettled to stay by his daughter's side? Venus Williams didn't care.

"I don't rely on my parents," she said. "I have it all figured out."

Hingis thought she did, as well. When she stuck to her blueprint, the slightly built Hingis had the powerful Williams in tangles. Repeatedly, Hingis drilled ground strokes to the center of the court, trying to jam Williams and stunt her wicked windup. Often, that tactic produced unforced errors.

But Hingis could not put enough depth on every shot, and she was spending too much time stabbing back floaters. With spellbinding accuracy, Williams moved forward and gobbled up the soft returns by ripping swinging forehand volleys into the open court.

"All my swinging volleys were perfect," Williams said. "Mostly winners, except for maybe one."

Williams pounded an amazing 51 winners in the match. But her aggression also produced 47 unforced errors. The more patient Hingis came up with only 13 winners, but had only 23 unforced errors. And there was one more statistical difference. Hingis, who had not double-faulted in her run at the United States Open, maintained that form. Williams struggled and hit five double faults.

Two of those double faults were especially critical. On serve in the first set, with Hingis ahead by 5-4, Williams crushed a double fault into the net. It was set point. Abruptly, Hingis had the first set under her belt, 6-4. After blasting her way through the second set, Williams had another untimely hiccup on her serve in the third set. Once again, she double faulted on break point. This one gave Hingis a 3-2 lead and a path to the final.

All Hingis had to do was hold on. If she had, she could have scored one for the meek against the mighty, and put one in the book for her alliance with Davenport against the Williams sisters. On Wednesday, Davenport ruined the possibility of an all-Williams final by eliminating Serena. On Thursday, Hingis congratulated her friend and told her, "One to go." But Hingis could not hold up her end of the deal.

"I heard Serena say the players don't want an all-Williams final because they don't like us," said Davenport, who survived the unseeded but battle-tough Elena Dementieva, 6-2, 7-6 (5), earlier yesterday afternoon. "The players don't want it because they want to be in the finals. I don't want to see an all-Williams final when I feel I should be there." Obviously, Martina feels the same way.

"We're not like sisters. We don't feel like we're ganging up on them or anything like that. We just have a nice relationship and get along well."

Venus Williams dismissed all the tag- team hubbub, and said, "These days, it's like W.W.F. Wrestling."

But yesterday, her rivalry with Hingis was true theater. There was nothing phony or scripted about it; the match provided pure competition between two beautifully different players. Around every point, there was an unthinkable stroke, an unpredictable end to a point.

In the ninth game of the third set, during the rally of Williams's career, all of the above unfolded. There was that helpless lob, just sitting there for Hingis to put away.

"That was a long rally, a lot of running back and forth," Hingis said. "Then you get an overhead. It's not easy. It looks so easy. But you miss it because you lose your balance. I was like, `Don't miss it.' "

That is exactly what she did. Once Hingis failed to put the point away, Williams planted the winner that turned the game around.

"I've gotten to have a pretty big heart these days," Williams said. "I really didn't want to lose. I felt like I deserve to be in the finals. I needed to get it done."
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post #12 of 48 (permalink) Old Aug 12th, 2002, 04:44 PM
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thanks Queen O

Where do u get these from?

Anyway... much appreciated


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Hey....

I them from u know where , hell... I posted over half of them there

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post #14 of 48 (permalink) Old Aug 16th, 2002, 01:25 AM Thread Starter
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Wimbledon2000 Article

Coach's Corner
BY ANDY "COACH" COTTON


July 14, 2000: An ugly occurrence marred the final weekend of Wimbledon, graphically highlighting the worst of today's media excesses. It illustrated how anyone can say anything about anybody in the wired world and be taken seriously. Pat Cash -- a past Wimbledon winner attending the tournament in some sort of media capacity -- lobbed out the "story" that the Williams semifinal matchup was fixed. The worldwide media stumbled all over themselves seeing who could fall on this live grenade first.
Cash's comments were outrageous, unprecedented for the sport, and utterly irresponsible. I can't think of a more damaging, maliciously insulting comment a member of the media could possibly aim toward two competitors in one of sport's crown jewel events than to say the result was rigged. He said Richard Williams told his younger daughter Serena (who'd already won the U.S. Open) to tank her match with big sister Venus so Venus could have a turn winning her own major title. Just how Cash knew this was never asked or examined in the 24-hour media melee that followed. It just was. All the major media outlets, print and electronic, repeated Cash's tale as if it were true.

Everyone with any tennis credentials was asked their opinion ... was the match fixed? The absurd ramblings of a part-time Aussie journalist were repeated over and over until his irresponsible statement became, ex post facto, a supposed real occurrence.

How exactly was the Williams family supposed to respond to this accusation: that they participated and colluded in the most heinous crime a professional athlete could be accused of inside the lines of their sport? Talk about trying to disprove a negative! So instead of basking in a well-deserved glow of being in the finals at Wimbledon, having dispensed with the joyless task of having to beat a sibling to get there, Venus Williams had to defend herself against outrageous accusations she can't prove are wrong. After all, if I say you killed your mother yesterday, you can call me a damn liar and prove it by trotting out old mom. How do you prove your baby sister didn't let you win? A tad unfair, I think.

What competitive siblings do you know who would ever let the other win at anything, let alone the semis at Wimbledon? Why would the father of a teenager as enormously gifted as Venus Williams risk the trust of his kids (as well as certainly ruining any sense of accomplishment for his oldest daughter) by telling Serena to tank? It's idiotic.

No respectable journalist should report a story like this, because unless Richard told them, how could they possibly know? If you don't know it to be true, it's just mean-spirited character assassination. With professional ethics as out of date as a cavalry charge, none of this stopped the press from picking up a National Inquirer, "Martians abduct Hillary Clinton"-type tale and running the story into the ground.

While I'm in the mood, Chris Evert's repetitive racial stereotyping of the Williams sisters on NBC was stunning. As Venus Williams was stomping all over the No.1 player in the world -- yanking Martina Hingis around the court like a spastic puppet -- Evert repeatedly portrayed the very white Hingis as the intelligent, cagey, court-wise counterpuncher, while Williams was the big, strong, usually out of control "athlete," a polite way of saying black. As if those nasty slice serves pulling Hingis 20 feet off the court, followed by down-the-line kills into the open court, were somehow fortunate genetic gifts. Maybe Chris, a great player in her day, was seeing herself being pushed around the court by a bigger, faster, stronger, and just-as-smart opponent, and helpless (as Hingis was) to do anything about it. When Venus and Serena met the next day, Evert often cited the wonderful athletic ability of the sisters, while criticizing their "sloppy" play. Personally, I didn't think it was sloppy at all. This was great stuff. I've been watching tennis for 30 years, and I've never seen women play that way. The final against Davenport was more of the same. Lindsey -- smart/ clever/white -- against the athlete. Somehow Evert made it seem so damn unfair ... Venus picking on poor injured Lindsey (the most devastating ball striker on the woman's circuit) that way.

In politically correct America, I can't believe NBC missed this one. Evert might as well start discoursing on the Williams sisters' secret weapon: a diet of fried chicken and watermelon. Whatever. She better get used to seeing the Williams sisters, though. They're already the best female players in the world.


In order to deal with crap like this, you have to be mentally strong and focused. It eventually hardened Venus, took abit longer with Serena. But now both are ready for whatever.
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post #15 of 48 (permalink) Old Aug 16th, 2002, 01:28 AM Thread Starter
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Repeat stirs Venus' desire to dominate

Repeat stirs Venus' desire to dominate

By Doug Smith, USA TODAY


By Adam Butler, AP
Justin Henin says it will be difficult to wrest the Wimbledon title from Venus Williams, above, for several years.

WIMBLEDON, England — A year ago Venus Williams couldn't contain her happiness after winning Wimbledon, her first Grand Slam tournament title. Smiling broadly, she jumped from one side of the court to the other - almost in a single bound - spinning at times like a ballerina in freestyle. Her father, Richard, danced in the players' box. Venus flashed a similar smile Sunday, but for the most part, she kept her joy inside after becoming the first woman to win consecutive Wimbledon titles since Steffi Graf in 1995 and '96. Venus' father traded in his dance steps to take snapshots with his camera during the 68-minute final.
"I must have shot 18 rolls of film," Richard said. "I was excited."

No. 2 seed Venus defeated No. 8 Justine Henin 6-1, 3-6, 6-0 before a Centre Court crowd that decidedly pulled for the 5-foot-6 underdog in a match delayed from Saturday because of rain.

"I've had a lot of experiences like that with the crowd," Venus said. "Doesn't seem like that often that I'm the player that the crowd wants to win. For me, it's not as important because I want to win. Who knows, maybe there will be a day when they root for me."

The absence of support didn't prevent Venus from establishing herself as a potential dominant pro and the player to beat on Wimbledon's hallowed grass courts.

"I love Wimbledon," she said. "I have (won) 14 matches in a row here, plus the doubles. For me, that's really sweet."

It also was a turnaround from this year's first two Grand Slam events. In the Australian Open, she lost a quarterfinal to Martina Hingis 6-1, 6-1. In the French Open, she was upset in the first round by Barbara Schett.

Venus seems to be following a path similar to last year's, when she missed the Australian Open because of injury and lost in the French Open quarterfinals before beginning a 35-match winning streak that included the Wimbledon and U.S. Open titles and the Olympic gold medal.

"I think I can get that kind of form again," Venus said. "Once you've done it once, you can do it again."

Bright future

Henin, 19, was trying to become the first Belgian to win a Grand Slam event. She sees more Wimbledon titles in Venus' future.

"I think she can win Wimbledon a lot," Henin said. "(She's) tough because of her serve. It's unbelievable to try to return this kind of serve on grass. It was so fast with a lot of precision."

Henin's rise to the top seemed equally as swift. She reached the French Open semifinals last month, losing a heartbreaker to compatriot Kim Clijsters. Thursday, she ended Jennifer Capriati's 19-match winning streak in Grand Slam events in the semifinals.

"She plays a lot of gutsy matches," said Venus, who lost to Henin in the German Open 2 months ago. "If she just keeps playing the way she is, good things are bound to happen."

Henin's success drew Belgium's Crown Prince Philippe and Princess Mathilde to Centre Court's Royal Box. Estranged from her father, Jose, Henin also was cheered from courtside seats by her coach, Carlos Rodrigues, and fiancé, Pierre Yves Hardenne. (Henin's mother died of cancer when Henin was 12.)

Henin will move from No. 9 in the world to No. 5 when the rankings are released today.

"I think I had 2 unbelievable weeks here," she said. "I have to work very hard to do my goals and come back to win Wimbledon. (Sunday), I proved — not all the match but during one set — that size doesn't matter."

Speed, too, can be an asset, and the 6-1 Venus has that in abundance. Martina Navratilova, who brought athleticism to the women's game in the 1980s, said that as an athlete Venus is in a class of her own.

"She has tremendously long arms and legs," said Navratilova, who holds the record for Wimbledon singles titles (nine). "When you think you've hit a winner, she takes two steps and flips it past you."

Ready to dominate?

Former pro Zina Garrison, a TNT analyst, said Venus seems ready to make another jump.

"I was really excited to see her so focused and talk about becoming a great champion like Steffi, Navratilova or Chris (Evert)," said Garrison, a Wimbledon finalist in 1990. "She's putting herself in that form and knows she can do it."

Venus suggested last week that she might be prepared to make a greater commitment to the training required to become a dominant pro.

"I get a little bored with practice; it's not always fun," she said. "Some of the champions like Steffi Graf or Ivan Lendl, that's where they really excelled, in practice. They were able to do well in practice because of that. Maybe I have to get the same attitude. I have to make it a priority. I have to play more. Either that or I have to win every Grand Slam (event), which isn't easy, so I'll play more."

But she and her sister, Serena, still plan to pursue degrees in fashion design in Florida this fall.

"That's for their careers after tennis," said their mother, Oracene. "Their tennis careers are only going to last but so long."

Last year, Venus became the first black woman to win a Wimbledon title since Althea Gibson in 1957 and '58. Oracene Williams said Venus' victory Sunday was another important symbol, especially for young African-Americans.

"It makes them proud and makes them feel that they can do it, too," she said.

On support from the African-American community, Venus said, "We know where our true fans are. Sure a lot of people say 'congratulations' after you've won, but we know where our base of support is, and we don't deny it."

Remarkable success

Top 10 pros for the last 2 years, the Williams sisters have enjoyed remarkable success even though they don't play full schedules.

Venus' interest in her tennis career seems to wane when the family is embroiled in controversy. That was the case a few months ago at an event in Indian Wells, Calif., after she was accused of faking an injury after defaulting to her sister in a semifinal. The next day Serena was booed continuously by a hostile crowd. A week later Richard accused some in the crowd of racism and vowed never to return.

"Indian Wells is in the past," he said. "We're looking to the future."

The sisters were honored at the Essence Awards, produced in part by Essence magazine, after the Indian Wells incident. Both cried during presentations.

"That was a tougher time for us," Venus said. "If it's not one thing, it's another.

Asked if tennis was a passion or just something at which she excels, Venus said, "Tennis is something I'm really good at; I like playing. It's a great job. Sometimes things get really complicated. Especially if you're having a really bad time in your career. But right now, things are quite simple.
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