Serena Was The Superior Player At RG 2002
I think it may be sad but true why Jennifer may be thinking about calling it quits now. She is about 900 points behind Serena - and that is a lot of points to make up.
I'd be a little down for a while if the likes of - Jen, Martina, Lindsay and Davy leave the sport. And I still say that on any given day - one top player can still beat another top player if the other one is off w/their game.
In thinking the aforementioned players may retire sooner than later - leaves me a little shell shocked. In this, I agree w/their fans - that it would be a sad time and day on the tour if we lose them all.
June 10, 2002
Maturing Serena raises the stakes in sibling rivalry
by Neil harman, tennis correspondent in Paris
JOHN LLOYD graphically remembers a telephone call to his Los Angeles home 12 years ago from Richard Williams. “Hey John, I want you to come over to East LA and hit with my girls,” was the gist. “Bring them over to my side of the city and I’ll be happy to,” the former British No 1 replied. “To be honest,” Lloyd said yesterday, reflecting on the call, “I didn’t fancy going to Compton one bit.”
Compton is the seedy area of Los Angeles upon whose gangland-controlled, glass-strewn tennis courts Richard Williams first put legs and life into the dynasty that has become Venus and Serena Williams. Suffice to say, the “hit” with Lloyd never happened and he is another of those who has had partial contact with the Williams phenomenon and regrets not taking the deal any further.
As Venus interrupted the presentation of the French Open’s Suzanne Lenglen trophy to her younger sister on Saturday so she could get her mother’s camera to work — had there ever been a happier loser of a grand-slam final? — there were many coaches around the world who took the moment to reflect that they played their part in the story and have been airbrushed from history.
Dave Rineberg has written a book on the subject, Venus and Serena: My Seven Years as Hitting Coach for the Williams Sisters. The description within of the control freakery that Williams Sr exercised over his girls makes Sir Alex Ferguson, the Manchester United manager, seem like an avid subscriber to an open-door regime.
Rineberg writes of a meeting called by Richard at a car wash in Delray Beach, Florida: “Richard was putting quarters in the machine; he turned on the sprayer and held it out to spray water against the sides of his car. ‘This is to drown our voices in case someone’s listening,’ he said.” When Rineberg asked who, Richard replied: “Well, Dave, everyone wants to know what my next move with (the then 12-year-old) Venus will be, even the FBI. They may have planted bugs on me or in the car.”
Paranoia or not, this cameo gives a vivid insight into the process by which Richard has by means both caring and defiant, loving and driving, instilled into his daughters the desire to be the best two players in the world — an achievement that Lloyd believes is truly historic. “Here is a man who taught his girls from a coaching manual, took them out of the junior system, made sure they were properly educated and now sees them on top of the world just as he said they would be,” Lloyd said. “Tell me anything in sport more remarkable than that?” He has a point. If the 2002 French Open final that Serena won 7-5, 6-3 in 91 minutes will not be remembered for the quality of its tennis, it was the first in this city to be contested by sisters and the first time that the younger sister had beaten her older sibling in such a match. To Serena went the spoils, just as she said they would.
“I talked to my Dad last night and he told me to go out and have fun, to enjoy it,” Serena said. “I was thinking while I was out there ‘Gosh, my Dad would be very upset at the way we’re both playing right now,’ we wouldn’t stop getting broken. I was a little fatigued. I’ve played a lot of matches, winning in Rome, now here. But Serena Williams has, in my mind, always been the best tennis player in the world.
“That’s how you have to think in sports, or else you’ll lack confidence. I’m No 2 now so I’m just trying to stay focused, play a few more tournaments and see what happens.”
Of her seven events this year, Serena has won four (French Open, Italian Open, Key Biscayne and Scottsdale), lost in the final of the German Open to Justine Henin and been beaten in a semi-final in Sydney by Meghann Shaughnessy and a quarter-final in Charleston by Patty Schnyder. It is a devastating record which she is putting together and she expects it to be emboldened once she gets cracking on grass.
Serena said in Key Biscayne that her father has “something up his sleeve” for her to win Wimbledon. “I’m not going to tell you what it is, though, it’s our little secret,” she said, giggling. “I always dreamed of winning Wimbledon; as for the French, I wanted to win it especially when I came here and people said I couldn’t win on clay. That made me fight even harder.”
That spirit served her well in the midst of Saturday’s mediocrity. Of the 21 games, 12 were service breaks and twice there were four breaks in a row that only added to the murmuring about the outcome of these matches being pre-ordained. I have never bought into that theory, preferring to believe that Serena, once intimidated by the prospect of beating her elder sister, on whom she dotes, has broken from the chains of inferiority.
Rather than the 1999 US Open success, when Martina Hingis was on the other side of the net in the final, having been run ragged by Venus in the semi-final, Roland Garros 2002 was Serena Williams’s true breakthrough. Watch her go now.