Tennis Not a Top Priority For Williams Sisters
By Tom Kosinski
Tuesday, November 25th, 2003
Right here in this very column back in the end of September, I told you all that Venus and Serena Williams had hung it up for the year. I also told you they may have hung it up for their careers. Well, part one came true, so I wonder...
In reality, the "Sistas" will be back, at least for next year, and probably in time for the Australian Open. They won't be coming back because they really want to, or because they have a huge passion for the game of tennis. No, its purely for the money. Not the money from winning tournaments, but the endorsements and access they gain by being the best and most marketable women on the tour.
Now that Serena has her Aneres clothing line (it's Serena spelled backwards, if you didn't already get it) and Venus has been seen on the runway modeling clothing inspired by her ideas, it's clear that the Williams' time on the tour is very quickly coming to an end.
Since neither of them is yet the greatest of the great and neither has achieved the ultimate in tennis greatness, the Grand Slam, they need to stay in the game. While they both may be very talented off the court, its their on court reputation that keeps them in the public eye and keeps those endorsement bucks rolling in. Without those dollars, there would not be any Aneres, and clearly there wouldn't already be a Venus Williams interior design company.
Watching both Venus, with her "torn stomach muscle," and Serena, immediately after her "knee surgery" strutting athletically on stiletto heels down the MTV Video Music Awards runway, it was clear that neither of them were really hurt. And it is not even clear, at least to me, that Serena even had any surgery, and that neither of them has been too heartbroken over the loss of their older sister Yetunde Price.
For some reason, they are bored, or they just don't care about the game that has brought them the attention, fame, and wealth they currently have. Heck, even Anna Kournikova has made appearances at or near the tennis court for several tournaments and WTA events, even though she is injured and cannot play. Anna K. is the most famous woman on the planet. If she can make time for the game of tennis, certainly the sister's Williams can, too.
I'm bothered by the Williams' lack of respect for you, the fan. I'm mad that neither cared enough to really try and heal in time for the year-ending WTA Championships. I'm clearly not interested in hearing anything from them or outsider dad Richard, especially when it comes to tennis.
Venus and Serena love the off-court limelight too much. Unfortunately, this "rock and roll" limelight they crave is normally not reserved even for these two great talents. Until they understand this, then they will continue to disappoint all of us.
If you didn't know, the WTA Tour season-ending Championships played themselves out this past week, to little fanfare and very sporadic coverage by ESPN. Based on the simple fact that it was carried on ESPN2 and that the hours of live broadcast from the Staples Center are poor for any viewing audience with the exception of in the L.A. area, it is clear to see why most of you didn't even know it happened. Based on the live audience reported by the WTA, it's clear that, at least in La-La Land, no one cares about tennis anyway.
Before I go, I have a quick message for Larry Scott, CEO of the WTA Tour, and the man who got my job. Three simple words: New York City. The Staples Center is so desolate, even during the semis and finals, that it makes the entire championship tournament seem like its played in a morgue. You need excitement. You need an audience. You need NYC. Plain and simple. Oh yeah, and having the Williams Sisters in the mix wouldn't hurt, either...