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American former world women’s number one tennis star, Serena Williams, says she has a soft spot for the Black Stars and the Indomitable Lions of Cameroun and a bit of American football.
Serena, who granted the Graphic Sports an exclusive interview at the La Palm Royal Beach Hotel in Accra last Sunday, said apart from tennis she loves to watch football, especially when the Ghana and Cameroun national teams are in action.
“During the Germany 2006 World Cup I got disappointed when Ghana lost that game to Italy,” she said. The four-time Grand Slam champion, who is ending a four-day visit to Ghana today, said she was not quitting the sport that made her anytime soon.
“I have played tennis for a while and I am here to stay, since it is something I love, so I am ready to work hard for it,” she said.
Serena, 25, said that she had begun serious training with her father, Richard Williams, which has gone well so far ahead of her upcoming tournament in Australia next January.
“Preparations have gone really well and I am looking forward to having a good tournament,” she told this paper.
The 2003 Australian Open Champion did not specify whether or not she would cause any major stir like she did in 1999 when she upset then number one seed Martina Hingis, number two seed Linday Davenport, and number four seed Monica Seles on her way to annexing her first career Grand Slam title.
“We will wait and see,” she simply said in a relaxed tone. Serena, the younger sister of Venus Williams, suffered a career-threatening knee injury last year that seriously affected her form and rankings.
She is currently 95th in the world. According to her she has taken some time off to let the injury heal and is in the process of staging a comeback.
Her name also goes down the annals of history as one of the few women who have annexed all four Grand Slam titles. She is due to leave town tonight together with her mother, Oracene Price, two sisters, Isha and Lyndcea Price.
“I will definitely want to visit Ghana once again because it has been a lovely experience.
Unfortunately I would not be around for Ghana’s 50th Independence Anniversary Celebrations because I will be somewhere in the world playing, but I will be with Ghana in spirit,” she said.
Invite more stars
With Kofi Owusu Aduonum | Posted: Wednesday, November 08, 2006
THE CHIEF Executive Officer of the National Sports Council (NSC), Mr. Prince Oduro- Mensah has lauded the Ministry of Tourism and Diaspora Relations for inviting tennis great, Serena Williams to the country.
At a tennis clinic in Accra last Monday where the tennis icon took about 60 school children through practical tennis lessons, the NSC Boss said that: “It’s always good to have personalities who have made it in their field of endeavours, to visit from time to time because they serve as a source of inspiration to the youth.”
“I saw from the countenances of the children that they were really excited playing with a star they have read about and watched on TV on many occasions, and I think it is good for them,” Mr. Oduro-Mensah stated.
“The children encounter with her has not only made them happy, but has encouraged them to strive for greater laurels in their various fields in life,” said the soft-spoken NSC Boss.
He commended the organizers of the programme and appealed that more top-notch sports personalities should be invited to empower the youth in the country.
At the end of the clinic, there was a question and answer session where Miss Williams encouraged the children to go the extra mile in their various fields of endeavour. “I want you to believe in yourself in every positive thing you do, and success will be your portion,” she responded to one of their questions.
Regarding when she will be on the court for a competitive game, the tennis star told the children, “I will be back in action for the Australian Open, next year.”
Abigail Opoku-Mensah, a student of Winneba Secondary school, who participated in the one and half hour programme, told The Chronicle Sports that “Playing with Serena is a dream come true, I have always wished to have an encounter with her, she has been a great source of inspiration to my tennis career, and I am striving to play impactfully as she does.”
Miss Williams rose to fame seven years ago when she won her first major tournament in 1999. Thereafter, she grabbed the 2002/ 2003 French Open, U.S. Open, 2003 Australia Open, Wimbledon Open in 2002, among others.
The 25-year-old U.S. tennis Star arrived in the country last Friday evening for a five-day visit and expected to leave the country today.
Yesterday, she paid a courtesy call on the Vice President, Alhaji Aliu Mahama.
In a related development, Miss Williams has urged children and pregnant women to constantly sleep under treated mosquito bed nets to prevent malaria.
As part of her five-day visit programme, she visited Nungua, a suburb of Accra where she donated insecticide-treated mosquito bed nets to children below age two as part of the just ended immunisation programme in the country
Ghana: Veep Invites Tennis Icon to Be Part of 50th Anniversary Celebration
World acclaimed American Tennis Icon, Serena Williams on Tuesday expressed optimism about the future of the sport in Ghana, citing the brilliant talents she had discovered since her visit to the country some few days ago.
Serena said this during a meeting with the Vice President, Alhaji Aliu Mahama at the Castle, Osu and willingly yielded to a request by the Vice President to make Ghana her second home to unearth the tennis talents embedded in the youth.
Flanked by members of her family, the tennis star said she had always dreamt of coming back to Africa and viewed her visit to Ghana as "a dream come true".
"I would be here next year," she said in a direct response to a request by the Vice President to be part of Ghana's 50th Golden Jubilee celebration.
Serena expressed satisfaction for being part of the recent Poliomyelitis vaccination and Anti-Malaria campaign in the country as a Goodwill Ambassador of UNICEF, which offered her the opportunity to personally administer the polio vaccines to some children.
Alhaji Mahama lauded Ms Williams for her tennis exploits which he said is a source of pride to most Ghanaians, especially the youth.
"Your visit would inspire especially girls to take interest in tennis and the sporting Ghanaians public will want you to come back to the country to stay.
"We are pulling the whole world to be part of the 50th anniversary celebrations and I hope you would come," he said with a broad smile.