The stuff about Ashely H. is just bogus, but to mits extremely funnie
Hot-shot Williams still calls toon
By Jeff Wells
January 21, 2004
IT was the day that catwalk tennis deteriorated into cartoon tennis. Another bummer for the ladies.
Score: Venus Bam Bam Williams pounded Ashley Pebbles Harkleroad 6-2 6-1 in 51 minutes, hitting 27 winners to three, in a way that exceeded the brutality that Fred Flintstone ever applied to beat up on a brontosaurus with a baseball bat.
Venus is back, talking trash, and catwalk cool and slim. Strut in her butt and glide in her stride. Everybody beware.
She may not have played a tournament since Wimbledon but she is sleek and full of sass and has no Serena to worry about except for the incessant text messages being forwarded by courtside questioner Gordon Bray.
At least until she meets somebody who can play, and that may not be until the semis.
But what a disappointment for the glamorama of the game. Turning to page 107 of the player guide there is a picture of 18-year-old blonde Harkleroad, a former top-ranked American junior, which would draw only one comment from any male with a hint of testosterone in his collapsing body. And that word is ooogaaah!
Immediately we flipped to page 200 to compare her with the new post-Kournikova Russian blonde bombshell, the 16-year-old Siberian sensation and new gruntometer leader Maria Sharapova. Hmmm. Practically a dead heat. Look at the Sharapova picture and a man who can still get a reading on a pulse meter is more than likely to emit a strangled cry of gaaaw!
So no wonder, when this sort of Harkleroad snap was first circulated to the media a couple of years ago the words next, big, American and thing started clogging up the sports pages.
Until they saw her play, and she finished last year ranked 51. Meanwhile it was revealed that her nickname was Pebbles, after living in a town called Flintstone, Georgia, which had only one traffic light and it was orange. She also publicly confessed to being a fan of both her pictorial lookalike Britney Spears and somebody named Christine Aguilera. I wondered if she has any interest in music as well.
But what a disappointment. If the camera doesn't straight out lie it can tell a bit of a porky. Harkers turned out to be a bit of a chubbles. A bit chunky in the thighs. She had a two-piece red outfit, with shorts, and when she started putting balls in the shorts, I text messaged her agent. Don't let her do it. She looks like Barney Rubble at the bowling alley.
And as she had no shots of much worth it was just a doddle for Venus. She didn't even start squealing until five games in. Ashley emitted a sigh of frustration like a poodle receiving a vaccination. But what about the important stuff - the Venus gear?
In a previous interview, true to the usual bulldust that accompanies the Williams travelling vaudeville act, she claimed she had been wearing a Serena brand called Aneres - Serena backwards. Sounds like a disease. She also claimed that the absent Serena had put in a request for some ugh boots. So, in a boost to the wool industry, Serena could play the next Australian Open in ughs. Just don't be in the locker room when she takes them off.
As I didn't bring the 10x50s I tried to do my best with the Venus outfit. A white one piece number, with a pleat in the front and a black band running around it dipping into a V in the front.
It could have been Aneres or Civesinavi Goran's new line. He was always backwards. A jade hair clasp, from the Zing Dynasty, for the ponytail. Long thin earrings, diamond encrusted, personally hand-carved by Serena from the teeth of the rare Alaskan snow gerbil. A massive ring on the wedding finger. Any takers?
Later, at the press conference, she was gracious enough to set me straight. It was a Reebok outfit with a halter designed by Diane von Furstenberg of New York who was often at the Aqueduct exacta window when I was in the Apple.
The earrings were long and diamond. Serena would probably try to get her mitts on them. The clasp was blue. There was no total value calculated but she is being driven in a Brinks truck instead of a limo. Her finger was swollen and she couldn't get the non-engagement ring off, she said.
Accessorise, accessorise, accessorise, she smiled. "I'm just a regular girl, I really am. I like to have the complete outfit. I just believe that if you look good you play better. When I walk out on that court my game's ready and my outfit's ready." In order to avoid immediate divorce from a wife in the rag trade I would have to agree. In fact I was metaphorically charmed out of my shorts. I may be starting to like a Williams sister.
Meanwhile, watching Lleyton Hewitt was pointless. Cecil Mamiit became his third opponent in a week to fall over. Hewitt's problem now is not overload - it's getting enough court time.
Proud to be an American
Not blind. Not uninformed. We are party to atrocities. But the response of the world after 9/11 is worth noting. Even our most dire enemies offered aid. We should all be so lucky.