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post #1 of 4 (permalink) Old Nov 6th, 2002, 04:29 PM Thread Starter
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Talking Williams sisters still in own class

Hingis sounds like the new ambassador for tennis in below piece. She is sounding wiser and more knowledgeable about tennis and life everyday. Go Martina.

I can understand why some get tired of reading about the Sister's domination - or whatever one wants to call it. Mainly to me - they are the top two winners in the WTA this year - and gots game. They can be beat - yet right about now - they have the right stuff to win more than they lose. That can all change one day - but yesterday - today and tomorrow - the odds are that they will win more than they lose.


TENNIS: Williams sisters still in own class
All-sister final is tennis' Staple act
By Ramona Shelburne, Staff Writer

LOS ANGELES -- For years Richard Williams said that it was only a matter of time before daughters Venus and Serena Wil? liams would dominate the game of women's tennis. And because that potential was so enormous, many found it hard to wait until the day it finally blossomed.

In 2002, Venus and Serena an? nounced themselves to be in full bloom. And what once was a re? markable sight to see two sisters battling each other in the final in a Grand Slam has now become pre? dictable as the Williams sisters have met in each of the last three Grand Slam finals.

The Williams sisters are favored to meet again Monday night in the final of the Women's Tennis Cham? pionships, the so-called Fifth Grand Slam of the WTA tour. The tourna? ment, which begins today at the Sta? ples Center, features the top 16 sin? gles players in the world vying for $3 million in prize money. It will al? so determine the final WTA rank? ings.

``The Williams sisters dominate the game and are No. 1 and No. 2, but from 3 through 15, I think every? body can be in the top 10,'' said Pat? ty Schnyder, who will play Venus in a first-round match tonight.

Williams has defeated Schnyder in each of their four previous matches most recently a 6-0, 6-4 win in January at the Gold Coast tournament in Australia. Although the Williams sisters' rise to the summit of the women's game was long seen as inevitable, not many foresaw younger sister Serena out? shining Venus. Though Venus has captured seven singles titles this year, she has lost all three Grand Slam finals to Serena and many have begun to question whether she has the drive and motivation to overtake her younger sister.

``Serena has more will (than Ve? nus),'' said former No. 1 player Mar? tina Hingis, who is sitting out the Championships with an ankle inju? ry. ``She's the harder worker I'd say, and this year she's more hungry. Last year it was Venus. But I don't necessarily (think) that (Serena) is a better player. This year, it just all came together for her.''

Serena, the more extroverted of the two, has begun to carry herself with the poised air of a champion. Tired of the inconsistency which characterized her first few years on the tour, Serena rededicated herself to the game and worked to improve her placement on serves, come to the net more often, and cut down on her unforced errors.

Since winning the French Open in June, Serena Williams has dropped just one match, to Chanda Rubin in the quarterfinals at Man? hattan Beach in August (6-2, 4-6, 7-5) when Rubin broke Serena's serve at 5-5 in third set.

Rubin is unseeded in the Cham? pionships and opens up with a first- round match today against fifth- seed Kim Clijsters of Belgium. With her power and athleticism, Clijsters is often mentioned in the same breath as Jennifer Capriati, Amelie Mauresmo, and Lindsay Davenport as challengers to the Williams sis? ters.

``I was tired of losing to players I shouldn't lose to,'' Serena said. ``There were people ranked ahead of me who shouldn't have been. That was the last straw.''

Although Venus Williams has played second fiddle to her younger sister this year, she is still without a doubt, the No. 2 player in the world. Capriati, another former No. 1 play? er, is a distant third in the rankings, over 1,300 points behind Venus Wil? liams. To most players on the tour, seven singles titles this year and reaching the finals of three of the four Grand Slams would be a suc? cessful year. But when you had won back-to-back Wimbledons and U.S. Opens, like Venus Williams did in 2000 and '01, anything less than dominant elicits questions.

``Serena has definitely played bet? ter than anyone this year,'' Venus Williams said. ``But I've still got my chance.''

So is there a game plan against Serena?

``I think you have to be aggres? sive with her, because I don't think she would lose to someone who just hits balls back to her now,'' said for? mer Wimbledon, U.S. Open, and Australian Open champ Lindsay Davenport. ``I think you have to force her into some errors now.''

-- Ramona Shelburne can be reached at (818) 713-3607.

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post #2 of 4 (permalink) Old Nov 6th, 2002, 04:33 PM Thread Starter
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Talking Laugh On Serena

Serena is the second biggest and youngest phenom to hit womens' tennis in the last ten years. Martina H. is the first.

PS. Although to mine heart - Venus is the Best.


Laughter is her rallying cry

By Greg Boeck, USA TODAY

Serena Williams enters the season-ending Home Depot Championships starting Wednesday in Los Angeles poised to become tennis' first $4 Million Wonder Woman. But the wonder of this 21-year-old woman extends far beyond the nets she has ruled this year in an implausible rise from No. 9 to No. 1 that shook up the pecking order of a family more than it did the Sanex Women's Tennis Association Tour.

Serena guest stars as a teacher on the Oct. 30 episode of My Wife and Kids.
Carol Kaelson, ABC

Forget the history-making three Grand Slam titles she won in a row at the expense of her older sister, Venus, whom she replaced at No. 1. Never mind the clinging Lycra catsuit she wore at the U.S. Open in New York that shoved tennis heartthrob Anna Kournikova off the tabloid front pages.

Instead, focus in on The Laugh. You can't miss it. It defines Serena Williams. On the court, where she's tennis' smiling assassin. Or in the privacy of her bathroom, where she retreats to her favorite spot on the planet, a mirror-lined vanity area, and talks and laughs for hours on her cell phone with friends.

Serena at a glance

Born: Sept. 26, 1981, Saginaw, Mich.

Resides: Palm Beach Gardens, Fla.

Height, weight: 5-8, 130.

Career singles titles: 19.

Grand Slam titles: 4.

Worst vice: Hostess Zingers. "If I see them, I grab them."

Best school grade: A in geometry.

Next vacation: Africa. "Those are my roots. Maybe I'll be going next year."

Favorite designer: "It's impossible to have a favorite one. I get ideas from everybody, Versace, Armani, Tom Ford, Ralph Lauren. Everybody inspires me."

Least favorite acting role: Playing herself. "Anyone can play themselves. I'm a little better than that. I like to challenge myself."

On being female version of Tiger Woods: "Tiger has done so much in his sport, and I guess I have, as well as Venus. You can say a female version of Tiger. Or Tiger is a male version of the Williams sisters."

Money milestones: Serena Williams would become the first female athlete to top $4 million in a year if she wins the Home Depot Championships and the $765,000. She has $3,275,826.

Other milestones:

$100,000 Tennis: 1971, Billie Jean King ($117,000); Golf: 1976, Judy Rankin ($150,734)

$1 million Tennis: 1982, Martina Navratilova ($1,475,055); Golf: 1996, Karrie Webb ($1,002,000)

$2 million Tennis: 1984, Navratilova ($2,173,556); Golf: 2001, Annika Sorenstam ($2,105,868)

$3 million Tennis: 1997, Martina Hingis ($3,400,196); Golf: Sorenstam (close this year but can't do it)

It's her calling card, the window into her soul. She has not only laughed her way to the top of the tennis world with her aggressive game, fun-loving personality, witty demeanor and bold attitude, but also into Hollywood's entertainment circle and Fifth Avenue's world of design.

Has anyone in sports male or female embraced life in the last year with more passion and joy, more fun and laughter, than Serena Williams? Her mother, Oracene, says the The Laugh is Serena's best trait. Daughter agrees.

"I think so, because if you can't laugh yourself out of a situation, then life gets a bit too stressful or you just won't be happy," Williams says. "It's important, whatever you are doing, playing tennis or modeling, you have to be happy. That's why I like to smile and laugh. I enjoy myself."

Nobody enjoyed winning on the women's tour more than Williams this season. After withdrawing from the semifinals of the Australian Open with a sprained ankle, she reached the finals in nine of her next 11 events and won a Tour-leading eight singles titles including Grand Slams at Roland Garros, Wimbledon and the U.S. Open.

If she defends her title at the $3 million WTA indoor stop this week, she not only would become the first woman to surpass $4 million in a season but also the 10th to surpass $10 million in career earnings. All at 21 for less than two months.

The 'Serena Slam'

Storybook year? For sure, she says. "When I wasn't able to play the Australian Open, I decided I was tired of losing. Maybe it was good that I wasn't able to play. After that I decided I want to be the best."

Venus, she says, was her inspiration and her victim. In Paris, then in Wimbledon, where she took over Venus' No. 1 ranking. And, finally, in New York, where she straight-setted Venus to become the first player since Martina Hingis in 1997 to win three majors in one season and only the sixth woman to win three consecutive Grand Slams in the same year.

Next up: The Serena Slam winning four Slams in a row with a victory in January at the Australian Open. "We'll have to call it that," she says. "It has a ring to it."

She laughs. Sometimes it's a giddy laugh. She's still a girlish 21, unspoiled by the opportunities every fresh morning brings. Other times it's a nervous laugh. "It comes at the wrong times, too," she says, sheepishly. Mostly, though, it's an infectious laugh that echoes the joy of everything she does.

Williams grew up the youngest of five girls in a rough Compton, Calif., neighborhood but embraced the regimented lifestyle her father, Richard, introduced her to at 5 1/2 and everything else her parents taught her.

No. 1 lesson: Don't restrict yourself to one interest.

Williams hasn't. She is a voracious reader. In Germany during a Tour stop this season, she read three books in one week. "It was ridiculous! It's so boring there," she says.

She reads a book a week. One of her favorite authors: Poet Maya Angelou. But she likes fiction the most.

She's also exploring the worlds of acting and design. Tennis, she says, won't last forever. "In 10 years, I don't see myself playing tennis anymore. I want to do different things. Hopefully, it'll be acting. That's my goal. Regardless, I'll have my fashion house."

She's serious about acting. She hired an acting coach recently and has two auditions scheduled while in Los Angeles. "I'm reading for the director so they can get a feel for what I do," she says. "Traditionally, athletes aren't very good at acting. I want directors to get a feel for me, that way I won't be dubbed like everyone else."

She was a guest voice on a 2001 episode of the animated TV show The Simpsons, appeared in rapper Memphis Bleek's Do My video featuring Jay-Z, made a cameo in Martin Lawrence's movie Black Knight last year and recently portrayed a teacher at Damon Wayans' son's school in an episode of ABC's My Wife and Kids.

"I really had fun with the role," Williams says. "I'm pretty good at (acting). Like tennis, it just comes natural to me. When I take something serious, I go all out, and so I'm going all out for it and have fun and see what happens."

She calls Sandra Bullock her acting inspiration. "Actors have this personality," she says. "They're outgoing. That's me. They are kind of ... I want to say ... crazy, and that totally describes me to a 't.' "

Another laugh. It's almost like every day is Christmas for Williams. There's always a new present to open. Like her passion for designing.

She spent three semesters at the Art Institute of Florida near the Palm Beach Gardens home she has shared with Venus the last two years. Out of those classes came a line of sportswear she designed for Puma.

But mainly she's into designing evening wear. She's in the process of hiring a pattern maker. "It's totally on me," she says, "not someone else. Eventually I'm going to hire a designer to work out the designs. I'm also looking into my own company. I'm branching out."

On the ride of her life

Who knows what's next? Unlike so many athletes at the top, Williams is determined to enjoy the ride and milk it dry. These are special times, and she appreciates them, even though she says it leaves her precious little private time.

"I don't get much," she says. "I'm always doing something, an interview, a photo shoot, something like that."

She gets away to five or six Miami Heat NBA games a year but rarely dates. Asked if there was anyone special in her life, she says, "No, I'm very single. Very, very single. Right now I'm focused on my tennis. It's not like I'm looking for anybody. I'm just looking to do well in my sport. I'm not trying to get anybody to hold me back. I need to be focused, and I don't think I can be focused with anybody."

At home, she loves to retire to her room with her two dogs a Staffordshire named Bambi and a Jack Russell named Jackie and watch TV. Her favorite shows: The Golden Girls and Nickelodeon's SpongeBob SquarePants ("The jokes are so funny"), and those on the Lifetime channel.

"Those movies are great," she says. "I'd love to get a small role in one of them someday."

But her favorite room in the house is her bathroom. "I have this vanity area," she says. "I'm always sitting there talking on the phone."

The cell phone is her constant companion. Mom says she's on it 12 hours a day. Williams doesn't offer much defense. "I'm always talking, taking care of business or casual talk."

She and Venus share the same home and, she says, are closer than ever. "She's my best friend."

She's also close to her mother and father/coach, who recently divorced. "For us, family is No. 1," she says. "People come and go and friends come and go but your family has to be there. That's why Venus and I get along so well. We play each other in the finals and in the end, for me, it's, OK, after this match I'm still going to be her sister. Ten years from now, it's not going to matter" who won.

For now, she's on top, living her dream. She's earned this. "Being on the ride I'm on now, I haven't really had the time to sit down and think what I've done. The best part is being on top."

And laughing.

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post #3 of 4 (permalink) Old Nov 6th, 2002, 04:51 PM
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Nice Articles..Serena has such a fun personality and sense of humor. I wish they would stop saying she weighs only 130 pounds though..HELLO! Those muscles, that bootie..c'mon..

I'd rather have a bottle in front of me, than a frontal lobotomy.
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post #4 of 4 (permalink) Old Nov 6th, 2002, 06:27 PM
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Looks like Baby Girl is having a ball!!!!!

-one of those "bad" Williams fans that everyone keeps talking about


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