Williams Sisters and Crowd Support
No, its NOT a shame American tennis crowds don't much support Venus or Serena. Is is unfortunate? Yes. Regrettable? Yes. Racially motivated? Sure. A shame?
I wouldn't call it that.
First of all, the crowds aren't most American tennis fans. If they were, the sport would never be on TV in this country. Venus and Serena are compensated very well in the endorsement department BECAUSE of their popularity. As an old performer, I know that Venus and Serena are missing something with the lack of US crowd support. But thay ARE cheered heavily in other countries. It's not like they never hear wild cheers. They just don't hear them in the USA very often. They were two of THE most popular players at the Olympics, in any sport.
Would it be nice to feel the unalloyed support of a US crowd in a US tournament? I don't know, I've never felt it myself.
The crowds are the area where the last remnant of the old. exclusionary elite of American tennis crowds hold sway. It was a rich, white, exclusionary sport, and a lot of its fans liked it that way. That section of the crowd will never back Venus or Serena enthusiastically. Why should they? Its their world that's being torn down, their values that are being trashed, their belief system being exposed as fallacious.
Does all that come down to a 'shame'?
Realize, all this goes on on national television. Articles get written about it the next day. Venus and Serena virtually always wind up looking good in these articles, and the crowds wind up looking back. The analysis always makes Venus or Serena look good. Even RICHARD gets virtually all good press these days. And when's the last time yousaw an article about how Venus and Serena need to 'seperate' from Richard?
It's a process of adjustment. Very few people thought Richard Williams would be right. And some things were said that people regret now. Positions hardened. And now, all we can do is move on. Sure people applauded Venus double faults. BUt not many. So few, you could hear the isolated clapping. Well, everyone watching is thinking, 'what a poor sport'. The overall process moves in a positive direction. This wasn't Serena vs Kim at indian Wells.
THe WTA is just now getting their Arthur Ashe. Blacks players who are also the BEST players. American crowds will adjust. Or get old and die off. Give everyone time.
Every Williams victory in front of a hostile American crowd moves us forward toward a better day.
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.