Venus' appearance makes for happy returns
By Zach Stewart - Sunday, December 05, 2004
PALM BEACH GARDENS — Venus Williams' appearance at the Bernstein/USTA $50,000 Challenger at BallenIsles was a big hit with those in attendance, especially with those who had the opportunity to hit back some of the tennis star's big serves.
The event raised thousands of dollars for The Association of Retarded Citizens (The Arc) of Palm Beach County, as almost 30 adults and a dozen children made donations for the chance to return Williams' serves. Participants ranged in age from Rebecca Klipin, 7, of Palm Beach Gardens to Dr. Jacob Himmel of Palm Beach Gardens, who will turn 94 on Jan. 1 and was playing with a wooden racket that was probably older than Williams.
"I really enjoy being involved with charities," said Williams, a Palm Beach Gardens lresident. "I'm a big advocate of giving back, of being involved with something that's larger than yourself."
Williams heard a lot of requests to "take it easy" on people who paid to face her, usually from spouses.
"I've had some special requests," she laughed. "The slower I try to serve it, the harder it is for me to get it in. I don't really know how to serve slow. It's a different challenge."
Said Carly Amado, 9, of Palm Beach Gardens: "It was kind of hard, because she serves it hard, but it was fun. I was kind of nervous, but it was OK because she's really nice."