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post #1 of 144 (permalink) Old Feb 16th, 2003, 04:56 PM Thread Starter
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Smile Women work on challenging Williams sisters

"WAY TO GO VENUS" "CONGRATULATIONS" "GOOD JOB KIMMIE"



http://www.gomemphis.com/mca/tennis/...747488,00.html


Women work on challenging Williams sisters
Taking Aim

By Marlon W. Morgan
morgan@gomemphis.com
February 16, 2003

Lisa Raymond remembers what it was like when Venus and Serena Williams first stepped into the tennis scene.

They were two talented teenage African-American sisters coached by, to say the least, a very outspoken father.

In the mid-1990s, Richard Williams boasted about how his daughters would someday become the top two players on the WTA Tour.

Most people thought he was crazy. Critics said the sisters lacked the necessary fundamentals to reach the pinnacle of women's tennis. Yet, that didn't stop Williams from making his brash predictions.

''It's funny, you read all these articles and you remember listening to Richard talking, and you'd just shake your head,'' Raymond said. ''The scary thing is that everything he predicted and said has happened.''

For nearly two years now, the Williams sisters have dominated women's tennis. One of them has won six of the last seven Grand Slam tournaments. Both have been in the finals of the last four Grand Slams.

And as Richard Williams predicted, Serena is the world's top-ranked player and Venus is No. 2. They are significantly ahead of their challengers in the latest WTA Tour rankings, which begs the question: Can the challengers even compete?

Raymond, 29, who is in Memphis this week to defend her Cellular South Cup title at The Racquet Club, believes there are only a couple of players on tour right now capable of dethroning the sisters.

First, there is third-ranked Kim Clijsters, 19, of Belgium, who defeated both Venus, 22, and Serena, 21, in last year's season-ending WTA Tour Championships. Raymond also likes the chances of former No. 1 player Lindsay Davenport, 26, who is healthy again and currently ranked No. 8 after coming back from a knee injury that sidelined her most of last season.

''She's moving better than she's ever moved,'' said Raymond, currently ranked 21st. "I think that was something that you could always exploit with Lindsay. But the last couple of years, you haven't been able to do that.''

Alexandra Stevenson, 22, hopes she can make a move into the top 10 rankings this season. Stevenson, who lost in her first-ever finals appearance to Raymond in Memphis last year, is currently ranked No. 24. Her run in Memphis last year led to a season that ended with a career-high No. 18 ranking.

As a youngster in Los Angeles, Stevenson grew up playing tennis with the Williams sisters before they moved to Florida. While still good friends with them, Stevenson doesn't see the sisters, or anyone else for that matter, as being unbeatable.

''If you think somebody's unbeatable, you're in trouble,'' she said. ''You shouldn't be playing. I think I can beat anyone. I don't know what the other players think.''

But Stevenson does believe Serena and Venus should be recognized more for the way they have taken over women's tennis.

''I think they should give them their respect because it's pretty amazing that two sisters have played in four (Grand Slam) finals,'' she said. ''What they've achieved is historical and people don't give them the recognition and they don't treat them very nice.

''If it were two sisters that were white, I think it would be totally different. But that's the way the world is. Look at this: I got to the finals here (last year) and Anna's (Kournikova) all over the poster. You can't do anything about it except dye your hair blond. Then again, Serena did that, so you still can't do it.''

Raymond said what separates the elite from those trying to get there is confidence and believing you belong up there. Clearly, no one has more confidence right now than Serena, who has beaten her sister in the last four Grand Slam finals.

''I think we're all kind of resigned to the fact that they've raised the bar for women's tennis," Raymond said. "They're distancing themselves from the pack.

''I'd probably say it's best if there were more (challengers) because people get sick of seeing the same two people playing in the finals every week and in all of the Grand Slams. The more they are pushed, the better it is for everyone in women's tennis.''

The players participating in the Cellular South Cup, all ranked No. 17 and lower, hope they can be a part of the next group of challengers to the Williams sisters.

''I think it'll just take focus and to realize that all these girls that are in the top eight right now, I've beaten,'' Stevenson said. ''I haven't played Venus or Serena (recently). I played them like four years ago.

"But a lot of the girls in the top 20, I've had wins over, so there's no reason why I shouldn't be up there. That's what I look forward to. I have to work on having a steady climb.''



Btw - isn't the below sweet? I think it is wonderful that Justin got so much support from these ladies. It proves they try to keep up w/men's tennis - IMO.


http://www.timesstar.com/Stories/0,1...184551,00.html


Gimelstob, who received encouraging e-mails yesterday from Lindsay Davenport, Venus William's and Lisa Raymond, put on a gritty performance. He had four double faults, and didn't force a single service break point until the sixth game of the second set, about an hour and 15 minutes into the semifinal match. He won that point but, by the 10th game, Gimelstob was facing match point. Twice.

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post #2 of 144 (permalink) Old Feb 16th, 2003, 05:28 PM
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Quote:
''I think they should give them their respect because it's pretty amazing that two sisters have played in four (Grand Slam) finals,'' she said. ''What they've achieved is historical and people don't give them the recognition and they don't treat them very nice.

''If it were two sisters that were white, I think it would be totally different. But that's the way the world is. Look at this: I got to the finals here (last year) and Anna's (Kournikova) all over the poster. You can't do anything about it except dye your hair blond. Then again, Serena did that, so you still can't do it.''
Oh Snap!!!
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post #3 of 144 (permalink) Old Feb 16th, 2003, 05:31 PM
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And people accuse Williams haters of turning it into a racial issue! Just because Stevenson worships the ground they walk on, did she have to bring skin colour into the whole issue? I would find the sisters annoying no matter what their race, although I don't deny that their brash on-court attitude is a product of their unique upbringing.

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post #4 of 144 (permalink) Old Feb 16th, 2003, 05:33 PM
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why is Stevenson put up there with a shot at beating the Williams sisters. do thewy want to kill all the readers from laughing to hard?????????????? the freakin idiot can't even get through the first round of tournaments let alone beat the Williams sisters. OMG that's the funniest thing i have heard. and why is she bitching and complaining that Anna is used to promote Memphis. hello she has done way more than Alex has done and who the hell wants to see that ugly thing lose her first match. she is the stupidest player in the WTA at the moment.

Jelena Dokic.Vera Zvonareva.Tatiana Golovin.Mary Pierce.Monica Seles.Martina Hingis.Anna Kournikova


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post #5 of 144 (permalink) Old Feb 16th, 2003, 05:34 PM
Kart & I against the WtaWorld!
 
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hmm, when an atp players says something negative about the Williams people say well they should know better than any poster cause they're there. However, when a player makes a negative comment about the tennis officials or fans that they have observed then its why did they have to say that or bring that up?
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post #6 of 144 (permalink) Old Feb 16th, 2003, 05:35 PM
 
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Interesting article, but Alex should let her racquet do the talking because so far she is not solid top 10 material.
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post #7 of 144 (permalink) Old Feb 16th, 2003, 05:35 PM
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-------
''I think they should give them their respect because it's pretty amazing that two sisters have played in four (Grand Slam) finals,'' she said. ''What they've achieved is historical and people don't give them the recognition and they don't treat them very nice.

''If it were two sisters that were white, I think it would be totally different. But that's the way the world is. Look at this: I got to the finals here (last year) and Anna's (Kournikova) all over the poster. You can't do anything about it except dye your hair blond. Then again, Serena did that, so you still can't do it.''
---------

Alex, you have hit the nail squarly on the head in a classic statement.

Very good take by Alex.

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post #8 of 144 (permalink) Old Feb 16th, 2003, 05:36 PM
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The truth hurts
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post #9 of 144 (permalink) Old Feb 16th, 2003, 05:36 PM
 
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Uh oh, Alex is gonna start alot of controversy with that true statement.
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post #10 of 144 (permalink) Old Feb 16th, 2003, 05:38 PM
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Well. maybe because I trust the opinion of someone like Jonas Bjorkman more than that of Alexandra Stevenson, because Bjorkman is making a judgement based on what he has seen and what is obvious to everyone on both tours, where Stevenson is flinging wild accusations of racial prejudice that have no real foundation whatsoever.

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post #11 of 144 (permalink) Old Feb 16th, 2003, 05:39 PM
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Hendouble - But the fact is the WILLIAMS sisters are black, so your feelings are suspect in the very least.

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post #12 of 144 (permalink) Old Feb 16th, 2003, 05:41 PM
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Quote:
Originally posted by Hendouble
Well. maybe because I trust the opinion of someone like Jonas Bjorkman more than that of Alexandra Stevenson, because Bjorkman is making a judgement based on what he has seen and what is obvious to everyone on both tours, where Stevenson is flinging wild accusations of racial prejudice that have no real foundation whatsoever.
Thanks, that's exactly what I mean!

If its negative against the sisters its based in fact and everything else that you don't agree with is a wild accusation. Lets see and you know Jonas' statement was true cause you were with him when it happened right?
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post #13 of 144 (permalink) Old Feb 16th, 2003, 05:41 PM
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Hendouble - Yeah, I guess Alex knows zero about white people and their treatment of black people, eh?

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post #14 of 144 (permalink) Old Feb 16th, 2003, 05:44 PM
 
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Alex is on the WTA tour day in and day out, she knows more of what's going on with the WTA than Jonas.
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post #15 of 144 (permalink) Old Feb 16th, 2003, 05:45 PM
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I'm not trying to suggest that Stevenson knows nothing about racism or hasn't experienced it on the Tour, but I dispute her contention that people unfairly criticise the Williams sisters on the basis of their skin colour. I've never seen anyone do it in the press or on TV, indeed they are full of vomitous enthusiasm for the Shrieking Siblings. And the idea that they would be liked more if they were white is just plain paranoia, if anything they'd be liked a lot less, I would imagine.

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