Uberoi plays idol Venus; pair originally met on Sept. 11, 2001 - TennisForum.com

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post #1 of 74 (permalink) Old Sep 2nd, 2004, 11:13 AM Thread Starter
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Uberoi plays idol Venus; pair originally met on Sept. 11, 2001

Uberoi plays idol Venus; pair originally met on Sept. 11, 2001

BY CHARLES BRICKER

South Florida Sun-Sentinel


NEW YORK - (KRT) - It was probably inevitable that Shikha Uberoi, if she was ever to have a professional career, would find herself at some point across the net from Venus Williams, the woman who gave her one of the greatest days of her life on one of the most somber and devastating days in U.S. history.

They were thrown together on one long, bonding Tuesday afternoon on Sept. 11, 2001 when their flights were ordered out of the sky shortly after the horrific attack and destruction of the World Trade Center by terrorists.

Uberoi, of Boca Raton, Fla., and one of the few accomplished women players of Indian ancestry, was coming from Peachtree, Ga., where she had escorted her younger sister at a $25,000 Challenger tournament.

Williams, of Palm Beach Gardens, had only three days earlier won her second consecutive U.S. Open women's championship and was flying home from New York, where she had established herself as the most important person in women's sports.

On Thursday night at 7, on the Arthur Ashe Stadium court at the Open, in front of perhaps 15,000 to 20,000 fans, these two Palm Beach County friends, who met under most improbable circumstances, will play each other for a spot in the third round.

"This is so great," Uberoi said, beaming a 50,000-watt smile after defeating Saori Obata in three sets on Tuesday night. She knew, even before she took the court, that a win meant a match with the woman she most admires in tennis.

"We love her, but it will be a different story on the court. We'll play our best and see what happens. Probably the atmosphere will make me nervous, but I'm going to enjoy it," Shikha said Wednesday. "I'm not even dealing with nerves right now."

For three years, Williams has been something of a goddess to the Uberoi sisters, Shikha, 21, and Neha, 18. On Sept. 11, 2001, with thousands of persons stranded at the Jacksonville Airport, Venus rented possibly the last vehicle available at the car agencies there, piled her dog, her bags and the Uberois into a 15-passenger van, and personally drove them home.

On the way, after Venus astonished the sisters with her knowledge of Indian culture and food, Shikha invited her to dine at her house on bhindi masala, a dish of okra and spices, and Venus quickly accepted.

"We really got to know her," Shikha said. "She's so different from how she's portrayed in the media. She's so gracious, so kind. After dinner, she stayed another couple of hours and she signed my mom's autograph book and gave us some great advice and motivational stuff. We love her and we'll always admire her."

When Williams found out late Tuesday that Shikha would be her next opponent, she smiled broadly and recalled that spontaneous drive back to Palm Beach County.

"We had a great time and I remember we stopped somewhere for Twinkies or something," Williams said.

"I think it was McDonald's," recalled Shikha. "Venus told us she never eats that stuff and I told her, `You deserve to eat anything you want. You're the U.S. Open champion.""

Both planes were in the air when the WTC attacks occurred and Shikha recalls the captain telling passengers, "We're having technical problems and we're going to Jacksonville, where we'll have to deplane."

When they got there, they sat on the runway and were informed that "something was going on in New York and all planes had been ordered out of the air.

"It was about 45 minutes after we got off the plane that we saw Venus," said Shikha. Neha approached her and asked if she remember the time a few years earlier when they had been hitting partners for her in a training center in Delray Beach.

"She said, `Yeah, I remember you,"" said Shikha. "She was really sweet. We asked if she was going back home and she asked if we wanted a ride.

"On our way home we were just laughing and joking and talking all the way. She was unbelievable. We fell in love with her right here. She is so humble.

"Then she told us she loves Indian food and especially bhindi masala, so when we stopped, I called my mother to tell her Venus was driving us home and could she make bhindi masala."

A year later, Neha, at 16, was applying for a scholarship to Princeton University, which she got. "I wrote about that day in my application," she said. "Even though it was one of the worst days in history, it was a great day for us.

"Venus is like an old soul with the kind of maturity she has. I'm floored by her."

Williams probably is going to floor Shikha this evening. She'll be a heavy favorite. But as 9-11 was, strangely, the best day in her life, this evening is going to be second best.
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post #2 of 74 (permalink) Old Sep 2nd, 2004, 11:22 AM
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Awww the Uberoi sisters sounded nice and kind and excited...



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post #3 of 74 (permalink) Old Sep 2nd, 2004, 11:28 AM
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Ok. . .I didn't think it was possible to have an even greater love for Venus. This article does it for me, though.

-one of those "bad" Williams fans that everyone keeps talking about


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post #4 of 74 (permalink) Old Sep 2nd, 2004, 11:37 AM
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I hope Venus's gives her some "friendly" games. Be gentle Venus!

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post #5 of 74 (permalink) Old Sep 2nd, 2004, 11:38 AM
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venus

shikha give venus a run for her money!

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post #6 of 74 (permalink) Old Sep 2nd, 2004, 12:20 PM
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What a great (although the context was terrible! ) story
Thanks, Kabuke!!

J u s t i n e x p l i c a b l e


Justine: feb. 5, 2007:

"I hung on to tennis. I have done so for the past 20 years. It is something that is in me, it is me."
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post #7 of 74 (permalink) Old Sep 2nd, 2004, 12:24 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by pigam
What a great (although the context was terrible! ) story
Thanks, Kabuke!!
HOw is the context terrible. You guys can't compliment with out adding something negative to your statement. It would have been better if you had just not said anything.
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post #8 of 74 (permalink) Old Sep 2nd, 2004, 12:29 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by boggs570
HOw is the context terrible. You guys can't compliment with out adding something negative to your statement. It would have been better if you had just not said anything.
euhm... 9/11 was terrible thing, no?
Jeez, You guys can never read a post without being paranoid.
And before you say it: sorry for my poor English

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Justine: feb. 5, 2007:

"I hung on to tennis. I have done so for the past 20 years. It is something that is in me, it is me."
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post #9 of 74 (permalink) Old Sep 2nd, 2004, 12:33 PM
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Wow great article...thanks Kabuke.

Venus

Good luck tonight girls.

Queen Vee

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post #10 of 74 (permalink) Old Sep 2nd, 2004, 12:39 PM
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God I love Venus

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post #11 of 74 (permalink) Old Sep 2nd, 2004, 12:45 PM
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Talking

Thank you for the atricle. It was a great read.
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post #12 of 74 (permalink) Old Sep 2nd, 2004, 12:48 PM
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I know the Uberoi sisters personally and they are really nice and funny and just love to be out there on the tennis court. Hopefully Shikha will play well and show Venus what she can do. I talked to her on Tuesday and she said she was just really excited to be in the Open.
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post #13 of 74 (permalink) Old Sep 2nd, 2004, 12:50 PM
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What a wonderful soul...I love her so much...I could not believe how nice she was to me when I met her just a few hours before her match...

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Will you be there?
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post #14 of 74 (permalink) Old Sep 2nd, 2004, 12:54 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Cam'ron Giles
What a wonderful soul...I love her so much...I could not believe how nice she was to me when I met her just a few hours before her match...
R U kidding?
You met her
* damn you if you fooled me once again *

J u s t i n e x p l i c a b l e


Justine: feb. 5, 2007:

"I hung on to tennis. I have done so for the past 20 years. It is something that is in me, it is me."
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post #15 of 74 (permalink) Old Sep 2nd, 2004, 12:58 PM
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Venus! It's great to be able to read such a heartwarming story I hope the commentators tonight pick up on this and mention it.

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