Richard Williams: Daughters’ resumes are full
By Filip Bondy, New York Daily News 1 hour, 34 minutes ago
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Richard Williams never stops trying, never stops hoping that someday his daughters will just once listen to his advice and be sensible. But of course that never happens, and so Venus Williams
will surely keep playing singles and doubles at the U.S.Open, and would probably play mixed doubles if her schedule permitted.
“When you are hurt and your knee is swollen and it’s sore, and not just one but both of them, you should go home,” the father was saying Tuesday, after an afternoon practice session, before lighting up his trademark cigarillo. “In my opinion, that is what I would do. I would pull out of doubles and singles and go home if I’m hurting like that.”
We have been through this before with the Williams family, time and again. If it were up to Richard, his daughters would take a long vacation, heal their sore limbs and maybe walk off into the sunset with their 18 major trophies. That way, he could stop glowering at them, picking up tennis balls all around the practice court. He could stop worrying about them.
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Instead, Richard tells them to stop twisting their aching joints or torn muscles. He tells the press the same thing about his daughters. Then Venus or Serena ignores him and goes on to win another Grand Slam event, another trophy.
It happened at Wimbledon this summer, when Venus was limping hopelessly around on a bad left knee and still advanced all the way to the final against her sister. It is happening again here at Flushing Meadows, where both sisters are battling injuries while clambering through the brackets.
Serena has a sore ankle and left knee, the father revealed. Venus is worse off, although she will never admit it. She required lengthy on-court bandaging early during her traumatic three-set victory on Monday night over Vera Dushevina. On the practice court Tuesday, she wore a brace on the left knee that appeared even more intrusive than the bandages at Wimbledon.
“Then when she got home after Wimbledon, her knees were so sore,” Richard Williams said. “When she got to Cincinnati, she couldn’t play.”
Out on the court Tuesday, Venus didn’t look like much of a world beater. It is always tough to tell with her, though. She has a chronic limp at slow gait, because one leg is slightly longer than the other. And she will never, ever admit to a physical problem. It is part of the sisters’ code.
After she nipped Dushevina late Monday night, Venus refused to speak on the matter of the lingering tendinitis in her left knee.
“I never get into details about any injuries I’m going through,” she said. “You could see I had some issues. I’m just going to do my best to get as close to 100 percent as I can for my next match.”
According to Richard, however, Venus is not close to 100 percent. He told her to skip practice Tuesday, another good piece of advice that was ignored.
“I didn’t watch much of practice,” he said. “I was watching her knee. It looks very sore. As you can see, she’s favoring it a lot. She’s not moving well.”
The problem is that Venus can drag along on two sore knees and still beat 126 of the possible 127 opponents in the draw, everyone but her own sister. Her ferocious serve and her expansive reach alone are enough to keep her in most matches.
How can you drop out, when you know you can throw your designer outfit on the court and beat almost every woman on the tour at nearly every major?
“Depends on her mind,” Richard said, of his daughter’s chances. “And her mind is very strong.”
So we’ll watch until bone grinds on bone inside Venus’ left knee, until she listens to her father and steps away from the game.
Richard knows. We know. She was out there Wednesday for a second-rounder against Bethanie Mattek-Sands (Venus won in straight sets). She’ll be out there soon enough with Serena, seeded fourth in the doubles.
They never listen. They just win championships.