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Mar 9th, 2002, 06:40 PM
I love it.


Williams Sisters to Tour Abuja in September

This Day (Lagos)

March 8, 2002
Posted to the web March 8, 2002

Ernest Ekpenyong

Gom Slam organisation has concluded arrangements to have the American tennis sensations, the Williams Sisters tour the country in September as part of efforts to revive Nigerian tennis which has been in comatose for years now.

Co-ordinator of the Washington DC- based organisation in Nigeria, Emma Okocha, who disclosed this to THISDAYSports in an exclusive chat, said the body has secured the permission of the Williams to have at least one of them play exhibition matches in Abuja, Lagos and Enugu during the tour.

Okocha pointed out that Gom Slam believes that the presence of the Williams Sisters in the country will inspire a lot of kids who will watch the exhibition matches.

He said that as part of events leading to the historic visit, the body plans to honour the Lagos State Governor, Senator Ahmed Tinubu and his Enugu State counterpart, Chief Chimaroke Nnamani in recognition of their support and promotion of tennis in the country.

Okocha pointed out that following on the success of the Asaba Winners Takes All Tournament and award ceremony, the organisation would next week present outstanding Tennis Pathfinders Award to former Nigeria champion, Patrick Obi at the Enugu Sports Club.

Copyright © 2002 This Day. All rights reserved. Distributed by AllAfrica Global Media (allAfrica.com). Click here to contact the copyright holder directly for corrections -- or for permission to republish or make other authorized use of this material.

Mar 10th, 2002, 03:24 PM
And SERENA and VENUS continue to make history. :) :cool:

Mar 10th, 2002, 05:50 PM
Great news! I am so proud to be a Williams' fan!:)

Mar 10th, 2002, 07:57 PM

Mar 11th, 2002, 01:35 PM
Venus and Serena!
World ambassadors, they are!

Nice article, thanks again.:)

Mar 14th, 2002, 02:42 PM

Venus and Serena: happy to be home ... and giving back

By Sandra Harwitt

Susan Mullane
Camerawork USA, Inc.
Even the construction traffic on I-95 that has been infuriating Palm Beach County residents for months and caused the Williams sisters to be close to an hour late to announce the 2nd Annual JPMorgan Chase Tennis Challenge benefiting the OWL Foundation on April 6 at the Delray Beach Tennis Center, didn't dampen their enthusiasm for being home this week.

Normally, Venus and Serena would be spending this week in the Coachella Valley playing the Pacific Life Open as they have in the past. But an unfortunate incident at last year's tournament, which was won by Serena, has led the siblings to stay home to relax, practice, shop and go to the beach.

Here's the quick review for anyone who doesn't know what occurred at Indian Wells in 2001 – an injured Venus pulled out of playing the semifinal against Serena right before the match, fans were so upset that they booed Serena, as well as Venus and her father, Richard, when Serena came out to play the final. While an argument can be made that the sisters would have made a better statement by showing up in Indian Wells this year, keeping their heads high and showcasing their talent, Serena did provide an excellent reasoning for not heading west.

"When we play tennis we like to have fun," Serena said. "We go places we enjoy playing – we're entertainers and we entertain the crowd. If we can't entertain then our job is over and I don't think we were doing a great job entertaining them last year. We go places we feel we're happy."

As for Venus, she's just appreciating the time-off. Realizing that the only way she would ever secure the world No. 1 ranking, which she clearly was deserving of, would be to set off on a grueling play schedule, Venus left the country after Christmas and didn't return until late February. Her five-tournament stint not only produced three titles, but on Feb. 25 she earned that top of the charts distinction for the first time in her career.

"It feels great to be home, we're never home," said Venus, who won both Wimbledon and the U.S. Open titles in 2000 an 2001. "We like the extra time off believe it or not."

There was no doubt that Venus found her sojourn to Australia, where she won the Adelaide trophy and reached the quarterfinals of the Australian Open in January, followed by winning back-to-back trophies at Paris and Antwerp before ending her trip in the semifinals of Dubai, as arduous as expected. Worrying that it would be too tough to play so frequently is one reason the sisters have previously ducked playing such heavy schedules.

"Mentally, I was ready to be away so long," Venus said. "But, after a while, physically I was kind of broken. I was starting to be injured because I was playing too much. After a while you start pulling muscles, they're nothing serious but they keep you from playing well. I think next year I'll only play two tournaments in a row instead of three."

Venus, saying she's "happy doing what I'm doing," suggested that she might keep to a more rigorous schedule for a while.

"I like being No. 1 and I'd like to stay there, but I don't know if I can play 22 events to stay there, maybe 17 or 18," Venus said. "Now I'm looking at things differently; I'm only going to be playing a few years in my whole life so I should probably play a bit more. Tennis never got boring, but for me, but with my personality, I have to keep things exciting and do other things like school."

Both sisters are especially happy to be involved with the JPMorgan Chase Tennis Challenge, an event founded by their mother, Oracene. The charity event benefits The Owl Foundation that was also started by Oracene to provide assistance to youth with special educational needs. In this year's event, Venus will play a singles match against fellow pro, Alexandra Stevenson, and Serena will take part in doubles action with tennis stars yet to be named.

"I want to thank my mom for giving us good values so that we can appreciate doing events like this and teaching us to give back to the community," Venus said. "In my opinion when you give back, you feel good about yourself because you're making progress, not for yourself but for others."

Shopping is clearly a special downtime activity for both Venus and Serena and it seems like they keep the other one in mind when out for a bargain. Venus took advantage of the "negotiating" style of purchasing that is traditional in Dubai and didn't forget to bring a present home for Serena.

"I got into deep trouble – I brought home many, many things I should have left behind," said Venus, of the Dubai shopping spree. "I did buy some antiques that are being shipped back – antique table and old doors that are Indian."

After chatting about the upcoming JPMorgan Chase Tennis Challenge on Tuesday afternoon in Delray, the two were delighted to find a beach boutique right next to the trendy Peter's On The Beach restaurant we're they held their press conference. Since shopping should be a private outing, here's just a glimpse of the trip next door – both Venus and Serena went for bikinis!

Mar 14th, 2002, 04:13 PM

Tidbits about the TRUTH:

If one is a principled individual - then there can be no deviation from the TRUTH in its purest form.

Lies - shows ones disregard for ones own integrity.

In TRUTH - there can be no wrong.

A practiced deceit, however, flaws our character forever.

Mark Twain's quote from - Advice to Youth:

"An awkward, feeble leaky lie is a thing which you ought to make it your unceasing study to avoid; such a lie as that has no more real permanence than an average TRUTH. Why, you might as well tell the TRUTH at once and be done with it. A feeble, stupid, preposterous lie will not live two years - except in slander upon somebody. It is indestructible, then, of course, but that is no merit of yours."

What is life: Life is a shadow of a passing dream; the story is short and finite; the immortal TRUTH is Love.

True power comes from self-control.
True strength comes from a clear conscience.
True wealth comes from a good family and good friends.
True riches come from ones memories.
True love comes from and to those who believe in TRUTH.


1 cupful of love
2 cups tenderness
1 1/2 cups of complete inner peacefulness
1 cup of sifted patience mixed with
1/2 cup of mature understanding.

Mar 17th, 2002, 09:16 PM
And Many More Tier Ones

Evidently power players and so-called hard hitters do have a brain and they do think out there on the court – or they would not be the holders of the last 11 grand slam titles. Duh!

I mean – it irks the hell out of me to hear some people try to insinuate that the power hitters just hit hard and that is it! How utterly ridiculous and ignorant, IMO, is it to have such a stance? Evidently – they must use their brains from the get go – or else they would never hit a return or a serve. Matter-of-fact they would just lie down once they got on court because thinking would be out of the question.

IMO – I think some people use this argument as a backhanded slap in the fact against Venus & Serena. Their prejudice side is showing up. It’s okay for Daniela to make 30 some odd errors – because at least she is a thinker. Please give me a break here. The reason any hard hitter makes errors is because they are trying to dictate play, thereby dominating the game.

Of course, it is definitely to each its own – and some just don’t like power players or hard hitters – or whatever one wants to call them. That being said – I would appreciate it if the ones that felt that way would not try to discount these said players by exclaiming that they don’t think on the court. Again – how petty and shallow.

I would bet anyone big bucks that Miss Venus Ebone Starr Williams is an excellent thinker on the court. Venus is an all court player and she has developed quite a touch for finesse. I guess Serena would not be able to hit them there angle winners if she left her brain at home now would she? She was very good in Geometry.

And – Venus & Serena - carried a 3.8 to 4.0-grade average all thru high school and it appears – Venus especially, is doing extraordinarily well in fashion school. Who else out there has the classiest commercials on the air – besides Venus? I mean – Avon, Wilson Leathers, (which by the way – Venus designed her own originals – thank you very much) Reebok, etc… And maybe in this is the crux of the matter. Could some people be jealous? So my girls gots brains and brawn – and some folks just cannot handle the truth, or touch Miss Venus & Serena Williams.

Again – round here anyone will be hard pressed to convince me that Venus & Serena and the other power players can’t think on the court. What a waste of the one’s mind that makes such a awful comparison.

And - because I have nothing against any poster here - I won't make comparisons to Venus & Serena's education level - compared to some others that could be named. IMO - that would be quite uneccessary.

Williams' fans - I felt the need to preserve this post - just in case I need to refer to it again. I did not want it to be lost forever.

Mar 17th, 2002, 09:20 PM
Nice post:wavey: :D:D:D:D:D:D:D:D:D:D:D:D:D:D:D:D:D:D:D:D:D:D

Mar 18th, 2002, 01:23 AM
"Williams' fans - I felt the need to preserve this post - just in case I need to refer to it again. I did not want it to be lost forever."

you do that! :)

on this board, some people claim to hate the power game, but when daniela won, those same posters immediately jumped onto her bandwagon. it's perfectly alright if some other power player blasts winner after winner and make tons of errors, but when the name venus or serena is linked to that kind of sentence, it's called ugly tennis or branded with the "i hate power tennis" ah, where is the hypocrisy :rolleyes:

i'm not bagging on daniela. i love her game after watching her play the Queen in Wimbledon last year :hearts: i love watching winners fly by :kiss: and i also think the term "power tennis" is being used waaaay too loosely by some folks.

Mar 18th, 2002, 02:30 PM
Go Venus and Serena:bounce: :bounce: :bounce:

Mar 21st, 2002, 07:06 PM

By teaching children, they teach everyone

By Karen Crouse, Palm Beach Post Staff Writer
Sunday, March 17, 2002

Andre Agassi could count his millions until the cows come home yet there he is, pitching milk. It's enough to curdle a person's middle-class sensibilities, seeing a man who has won 50 tournaments and the heart of Steffi Graf selling his soul for a few more bucks.

Why, you'd like to wipe that white mustache off his face, you think. You're only human, after all.

It turns out, so is Agassi. Admirably, awesomely so.

In return for Agassi's participation in the "Got Milk?" advertising campaign, 150 schoolchildren in Las Vegas are swigging free 8-ounce cartons of the stuff with their lunches every weekday.

The children are third-, fourth- and fifth-graders who attend the charter school that Agassi founded in his hometown. His charitable foundation covered half the cost of the $4.1 million Andre Agassi College Preparatory Academy, which opened its doors this past August. The rest of the funding came from private donations, the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development and the State of Nevada.

The school's student body was skimmed from schools where poverty and poor test scores predominate.

Agassi, who will defend his singles crown this week at the Nasdaq-100 Open at Key Biscayne's Crandon Park, didn't just wallpaper the project with his dollars. He took an interest in everything from the blue school uniform to the class curriculum to the daily affirmation recited after the Pledge of Allegiance which begins, "The essence of good discipline is respect.'' The fact that all the kids "got milk" is proof that Agassi has more invested in the school than money.

"He's thinking about the kids all the time,'' marveled the school's principal, Wayne Tanaka.

Agassi's return of service -- considered the best in the game -- has made him rich. The caring and support that he has returned to the community has enriched his life immeasurably.

"When you change a child's life,'' Agassi has said, "you change the world.''

Agassi, 31, is the antidote to all the professional athletes who are enthusiastic champions of the three R's so long as they're rap labels, Rolls-Royces and rolling estates.

Oracene Williams is someone else in the professional tennis family who appreciates the importance of reading, writing and arithmetic. Williams, the mother of the Nasdaq-100 women's defending champion Venus Williams and 1999 finalist Serena, majored in education at Eastern Michigan.

Williams prefers to remain in the background of her daughters' tennis careers. In their forays into charity she is a much more visible presence, rushing to the fore with the aplomb of a seasoned serve and volleyer.

The sisters were drilled by their father Richard to be high achievers on the tennis court. Their mother stressed excellence in the classroom. She was adamant that their grades be as strong as their groundstrokes. Williams would hold her girls out of practice if they fell behind in their studies.

Williams values education so highly that she couldn't sit back and watch Florida fall behind most other states in the high-stakes game of preparing its youth for a productive future.

"You hear how Florida test scores are so bad, I wanted to do something to help,'' said Williams, who started the OWL Foundation nearly two years ago to raise money for academic outreach programs.

The daughters have been willing foot soldiers in their mother's war against illiteracy and academic underachievement. Venus will play Alexandra Stevenson next month in a charity exhibition at the Delray Beach Tennis Center, the proceeds of which are earmarked for a school in West Palm Beach that the Williamses have drawn to their collective bosom as they might a foster child.

"The girls know they're role models and they're not afraid to get involved,'' Williams said. "They do anything I ask them to do for the foundation, not because they are obligated to but because they want to do things to help other people. They realize the impact they can have on people.''

Williams wouldn't hear of any of her children placing a ceiling on their capabilities when they were growing up. If they said they couldn't do something, she'd tell them, "Sure you can. Nothing is unattainable.''

Her stated mission is to infuse disenfranchised youths and young adults with the same can-do spirit. "We look for the ones who are having problems with their grades, the ones teachers have given up on,'' Williams said.

They are taught the basic skills for learning so they might better be able to grab the brass ring of knowledge that they have been conditioned to believe is beyond their reach.

The Williamses are motivated by the same thing that inspired Agassi.

"Hopefully, it raises the standard for public education,'' he said. "That would be a huge accomplishment in my mind.''

Agassi built a school and with it a legacy that will be standing long after he is gone. Agassi Prep will expand in the fall to include a Grade 6 to accommodate this year's fifth-graders. It has received 457 applications for 50 spots in the incoming third-grade class.

"The first thought that comes into my head every time I think about what Andre has done is what a wonderful human being he is,'' Tanaka said. "There are so many celebrities who make a large income who don't make a difference. I look at Andre and I wonder, where does this vision and this wonderful kindness come from?"

That's elementary. It comes from that place inside the self that recognizes that compassion is man's greatest currency.

Mar 23rd, 2002, 10:58 PM

Anyone want to buy a Porsche?

Miami - Despite having banked more than $6 million in prize money during her career, Serena Williams is putting her Porsche up for sale because it puts a squeeze on her budget.

"I don't need it - my insurance for that car is just exorbitant," she said. "And I never drive it. It's just ridiculous how much insurance I have to pay."

"It's a red Carrera 200, TIP, 4,000 miles ... if you know anybody," she said after beating Lilia Osterloh in the second round of the Nasdaq 100 open.

"I don't really drive that car," said the 20-year-old former U.S. Open champion. "If anyone wants to buy a Porsche 2000, I'm selling it."

Williams, 20, refused to disclose the price: "It's pretty up there. But I can get you on a payment plan. ..."

Top seed Jennifer Capriati, who might benefit from lower insurance premiums because she's older, could find herself facing the same problem after receiving a $160 000 Ferrari 360 Modena as part of a contract signing bonus from a clothing sponsor. - Sapa-DPA

Mar 25th, 2002, 02:29 PM
It appears to me - the Sisters are on the move - really - really - in the groove.


Serena coasts, Capriati battles into 4th round


A LAUGHER: Serena Williams needed only 47 minutes to beat Katarina Srebotnik 6-1, 6-0.

Venus Williams credits younger sister Serena for how she ''paved the way'' for her. It was Serena who won the family's first Grand Slam title at the 1999 U.S. Open and Venus who followed with four majors and the No. 1 ranking.

The elder Williams has since assumed the trailblazing duties, mapping a course that Serena has struggled to hold. The ''X'' remains several dotted lines away, but the younger Williams closed the gap Sunday at the Nasdaq-100 Open.

On a day that saw second-seeded Juan Carlos Ferrero and No. 3 Yevgeny Kafelnikov ousted from the men's field, the eighth-seeded Williams advanced on the women's side with a swift 6-1, 6-0 victory over Katarina Srebotnik. The Stadium Court match at the Tennis Center at Crandon Park lasted 47 minutes, about an hour less than it took top seed and current world No. 1 Jennifer Capriati to reach the fourth round.

Seeded 32nd, Anastasia Myskina served for the upset in the second set but could not generate any match points. Capriati broke her opponent 10 times, including four times in the final set for the 3-6, 7-5, 6-2 victory.

Making the matchup of hard-hitting baseliners so compelling was Capriati's inability to hold serve as well. Though broken eight times, Capriati gave her opponent just three break opportunities in the final set. Myskina converted two of them and did not see another after the third game.

''Both of us had been returning better than serving, so I felt pretty confident I would be able to break and apply the pressure,'' said Capriati, who had Friends star Matthew Perry in her cheering section. ``. . . It was a great match and I played pretty well.''

The top two men's seeds in action could not say the same. Ferrero lost his third-round match to Adrian Voinea 7-6 (8-6), 1-6, 6-2. The evening session culminated with No. 32 Marcelo Rios, the 1998 champion here, upsetting Kafelnikov 6-4, 7-6 (7-4). Kafelnikov had won six of the seven career meetings dating to 1995.

Among the men reaching the fourth round was No. 9 Andre Agassi, a 6-3, 6-2 Stadium Court winner over Argentina's Agustin Calleri. At least one Argentine will reach the quarterfinals, thanks to Juan Ignacio Chela and Gaston Gaudio upsetting No. 24 Nicolas Escude and No. 7 Sebastien Grosjean, respectively. Gaudio and Chela will meet in the fourth round.

The defending champion, Agassi is attempting to win this event for the fifth time. A month shy of his 32nd birthday, he showed he still possesses the wheels do it.

''If you get to the ball you have options, and that's always a good thing, especially with me,'' he said. ``With options, I can use the experience and my shot selection. I still have a lot of shots if I can just get to the ball, and guys will feel that.''

Second seed Venus Williams was the last player to join the final 16 women when Mariana Diaz-Oliva retired from their match because of a back injury, trailing 6-2, 1-0. No. 3 Martina Hingis eliminated Tatiana Poutchek 6-0, 6-1 in 43 minutes. Also advancing were No. 4 Kim Clijsters and No. 5 Monica Seles.

Luxembourg's Anne Kremer and American Marissa Irvin orchestrated two upsets. The 26th-seeded Kremer easily beat No. 7 Jelena Dokic 6-3, 6-1. Irvin outlasted No. 10 Meghann Shaughnessy 4-6, 6-3, 6-4.

For Serena Williams, injuries -- most recently an ankle sprain -- have sidetracked many of her championship bids. During the Australian Open tune-up in Sydney, Williams rolled her ankle during the semifinal against Shaughnessy and withdrew from the season's first major.

Williams did not return to the practice court until mid-February. Her first tournament back started late last month at Scottsdale, Ariz., where she defeated Hingis and Capriati on her way to the title.

''I usually go in expecting to win, but at Scottsdale I had the flu and I was just really nervous about playing some matches,'' Williams said. 'I was thinking, `Wow, I really hope I can get through it.' That was really good for me.

``I've actually been really disappointed in myself and why people are ahead of me that necessarily might not normally be ahead of me [in the rankings]. That's why I've been more focused.''

Mar 25th, 2002, 02:51 PM
Free cars, lunches and haircuts: It's just brutal being a tennis pro

The Miami Herald

Here at the Nasdaq-100 Open, you can valet park your free car while contemplating what to order for your free lunch, which could come right after your free haircut.

You can do all this, at least, if you're a player. And not just Andre Agassi or Venus Williams. You can do all this even if you're Anna Smashnova, whose entire being isn't nearly as famous as Anna Kournikova's ankles.

This is a different world in here, where the distribution of $6.4 million in prize money comes at the end but really is only the beginning. Along the way, there also will be CD players, hotel suites and $100 sunglasses.

All of which comes to a grand total of, let's see here, zero dollars.

Welcome to the other half, the other half times 10, in fact. No, it is not Bigfoot-captured news when the privileged in sports receive perks. But it is worth noting the lengths to which this tournament now goes to accommodate the participants.

It seems the cushy quotient was kicked up in the early 1990s after a stretch of foul weather turned the moods equally stormy.

''All of a sudden, the food tasted bad, the hotels stunk and the players were saying they hated Miami,'' said Kim Hall, director of player services here for a decade. ``We decided to start a campaign to win them back. We wanted to do more for the players than write them a check.''

So they began doing things like flipping them car keys. All of the nearly 400 players in this event were offered the use of autos during their stays. This meant a rental car for most but, for the top eight seeds, a Mercedes-Benz.

They also established a nursery and a hair salon -- equipped with representatives from internationally renowned Toni & Guy -- right here in the stadium, just off the locker rooms. That's right. Open the wrong door and risk encountering Amanda Coetzer's coach getting clipped.

They host parties for the players on South Beach, give them movie passes and even do their laundry. Want to play golf at Doral Country Club? No problem. That will be cart fees only, if that.

There are computers readily available, two in both locker rooms and four in the players lounge, where they also serve food prepared by hand-picked dietitians and offered at a cost of nothing.

''It still surprises me, all the nice presents we get,'' fourth-seeded Kim Clijsters said. ``We get cell phones, bags of cosmetics, perfume. I give a lot of the things to my family. You can only use so many handbags.''

Now, this is not meant to criticize all players as pampered and complain about a bunch of millionaires who receive toys without having to part with a dime. We are talking about the elite of the elite, survivors who reach this level often by dedicating nothing to tennis but their lives, their childhoods, their very adolescence.

And we're not about to just poke fun at freebies, not when this event boasts a ''media happy hour,'' when our shift Sunday was interrupted by the announcement, ``Note to all media, there are now some sandwiches available at the front desk.''

The point here is to offer a glimpse of a land so foreign it could have its own language, to suggest a reason why some of these tennis-lifers struggle with demanding concepts like changing the channel themselves.

After a straight-sets, sleep-inducing victory over Katarina Srebotnik on Sunday, Serena Williams left the stadium, climbed into a Cadillac Escalade with windows tinted as dark as midnight and was driven back to the safety of her private universe.

She did, at least, carry her own bags. But not Jennifer Capriati, who arrived moments later in a red Ferrari. Capriati had a bellhop in -- no kidding here -- Matthew Perry. How's that for living large, a star actor toting your tennis shoes?

In the middle of this bizarre culture sits Hall, in her third-floor stadium office, fittingly with her back to the tennis happening below. Her role, after all, has about as much to do with the action on the court as a snowdrift.

Players routinely bombard her with requests for such benefits as parking passes, tickets and turkey. Pete Sampras just had to have two turkey sandwiches after his match ended late Saturday night. Since the players lounge already was closed, a park-wide hunt ensued before the proper lunch meat was located.

''I deal with a lot of characters,'' Hall said, speaking not of Sampras but of those who cling to the players like annoying lint.

``Some of them I swear are cartoon characters.''

Cartoon characters? Why not?

Fantasy worlds often are animated.


Mar 28th, 2002, 02:42 PM
Bless Venus & Serena's sweet hearts. Serena mentioned that $$$$ purse at the 99 Grand Slam final was her incentive to beat her big sis. Maybe they should make the purse larger when the Sisters play each other.

In my heart of hearts - I hope the Sisters give tennis events or tourneys when they retire from the courts. They can get plenty of backing from the rich and famous. I think they would be very good tourney organisers. And they would still be in the public eye - at times. One can only hope.

Sad but true that we will have to go at least three weeks of withdrawal after this tourney. The Sisters don't play again for a while. Lordy be! I will definitely miss them until they grace the courts again w/their precious presence.


Posted on Thu, Mar. 28, 2002

Serena on a roll for showdown
History is working against her: She's 1-5 vs. Venus
Herald Writer

Serena Williams scribed her name in black magic marker on the TV camera in what has become a ritual for the winning player.

This particular win was a 6-4, 6-0 taking apart of Martina Hingis on Wednesday in the Nasdaq-100 Open, setting up an all-Williams semifinal between Serena and her sister Venus.

In addition to the signature, Serena shared a thought with the viewing audience: ``This is the signature of a champion, you're getting a preview.''

Serena will attempt to cut into the 5-1 head-to-head lead Venus has forged in one of today's women's semifinals at the Tennis Center at Crandon Park on Key Biscayne.

History is not in Serena's corner. Little sisters have always had a tough going against older siblings in professional women's tennis. In head-to-head WTA Tour events since 1971, older sisters have a 23-4 advantage.

Serena, however, was determined and loose after defeating Hingis, answering questions about her chances of breaking Venus' 24-match winning streak at the tournament and joking about the sisters' match-day routine.

''If I see her, it's not like I'll try and bump into her or anything, or hit her -- give myself an unfair advantage -- or maybe put a pillow over her in the middle of the night,'' she said. ``Honestly, it's the same routine.''

Richard Williams, Venus' and Serena's father, said his routine likely will be the same as when the two played last, in the 2001 U.S. Open, where Venus prevailed in straight sets to win her fourth Grand Slam.

''I didn't stay in New York to watch, and I don't think I'll be watching this time, either,'' Richard Williams said. ``It's like watching two of your kids in an arena. And you don't want to see that. The Romans did enough of that.''

Serena has had an easier time than Venus in this tournament. She hasn't lost a set in four matches and dominated Hingis, who was also on a roll. Hingis lost four games in her first three matches, each of which had a 6-0 set. Serena recorded 34 winners to 30 errors in her quarterfinal victory.

Venus has twice gone three sets to win matches, in the opening round against qualifier Eva Dyrberg and in the quarterfinals against Elena Dementieva. Venus had 30 winners but 48 unforced errors in her win over Dementieva.

Venus won her first three meetings against Serena, including a victory in the final of the then-Ericsson Open in 1999. Serena's victory over her older sister came in the season-ending Grand Slam Cup in 1999.

''There was a lot of money on the line,'' said Serena of the winner's earnings. ``I was determined to win. Money can make people real tenacious. No one could have beat me that day.''

The sisters next met at Wimbledon in 2000. Despite playing in her fourth tournament of the year after taking six months off because of tendinitis in both wrists, Venus beat Serena in straight sets and went on to win her first Grand Slam.

At Indian Wells, Calif., last year, Serena recorded an off-court win when Venus defaulted shortly before their semifinal match. At last year's U.S. Open, Venus came into the final against Serena without losing a set and defeated her sister in straight sets.

Mar 29th, 2002, 11:37 PM
Serena Sends Venus Packing
Serena Williams didn't need much time to dispatch sister

By Amy Shipley
Washington Post Staff Writer
Friday, March 29, 2002; Page D12

KEY BISCAYNE, Fla., March 28 -- There was nothing nice, or sisterly, or family friendly about what happened today in the Nasdaq-100 women's semifinal between Venus and Serena Williams. There were no apologetic returns or gentle miss-hits into the net. Sporting a bleached-blond pony tail and a scarlet spandex dress with a rain-slicker sheen, Serena looked ready for some serious action when she took the court and, by the time she left it 50 minutes later, she had unrepentantly crushed her elder and more acclaimed sister.

In only her second victory against Venus in seven tries, Serena won, 6-2, 6-2, then displayed none of the consternation and mental anguish Venus has shown when the sisters' roles have been reversed.

In contrast to last year's U.S. Open final, in which Venus, 21, defeated Serena, 20, and then pulled her close in a sympathetic, motherly embrace while all but begging forgiveness for the pounding, Serena today seemed devilishly unconcerned about her sister's disappointment. At the net after, the sisters shook hands in businesslike fashion and told each other "good match" -- there was no hug, no pat on the arm, no squeeze of a shoulder, no smiles.

Venus and Serena walked separately to the locker room, and gave separate interviews. Venus, who had won this tournament in three of the last four years, seemed uncharacteristically deflated and down; Serena, meantime, giggled and declared the victory the biggest of her career. "This definitely is a very big milestone for me -- and all of the other younger sisters and brothers out there," she said, grinning.

Serena also chuckled about her sister's legendary concern for her well-being, recalling a couple of acts of big-sister kindness while acknowledging her very different role in the relationship -- "I've always been just taking, taking, taking," she said, once again dissolving into giggles.

She displayed not just giddiness, but also a sense of disbelief at having beaten the No. 2 and No. 3 players in the world in consecutive matches. On Wednesday, Serena defeated third-ranked Martina Hingis in straight sets. Today's victory left Serena -- ranked No. 9 -- quivering.

"I can't believe I finally beat her -- I'm in shock," she told ESPN on the court. "I haven't really beaten her in a real event before."

Many in the afternoon crowd seemed to doubt the sincerity of Venus's effort, whistling and booing (one fan yelled loudly: "Wake up, Venus!") after the fifth and seventh games of the second set, both of which ended with unforced errors. Venus's mistake-prone, occasionally tentative game provided as much of a contrast to her sister's -- she committed 19 unforced errors to 10 by Serena -- as did her pure white tennis dress, adorned with a classic visor and wristbands.

"I just felt like I never really got into the match," said Venus, who won just one of 16 points on her second serve. "Before I knew it, it was over."

Normally, Venus wins. Her only loss to Serena came in 1999 in the semifinals of the 1999 Grand Slam Cup. Serena also received credit for a victory in the semis at Indian Wells last year, but the sisters did not actually play; Venus pulled out of that match with an injury.

If Venus left a trail of questions about her intensity today, there was no doubting Serena's focus. She won several games without allowing a point, striking picture-perfect passing shots and blistering returns of serve that left the crowd murmuring and applauding. She was relentless. After a fortuitous net cord that fell her way, Serena didn't even offer the customary wave of apology; she just spun and waved for another ball to serve.

On the final point, she emitted an "aaahhh" that was so loud and so pronounced it was multisyllabic. Her sister proceeded to hit the return wide. Fortunately for Venus, it was her final misfire of the day. Unfortunately, it was her last shot of the tournament.

On Saturday, Serena will face Jennifer Capriati, a 4-6, 6-3, 7-6 (7-4) winner over Monica Seles.

"Venus didn't play well today, she really didn't," Serena said, shaking her head.

Somebody asked: Any regrets that the match wasn't more competitive?

Serena arched an eyebrow.

"Are you kiddin'?"

© 2002 The Washington Post Company

Mar 30th, 2002, 08:19 PM
I'll have to check back w/some more thoughts about Serena's win of the first NASDAQ 100 Open - in the a.m.. I got a wedding reception to hit. But - wasn't that match something? Miss Serena really hung tough, and she showed everybody that she is not a fluke, and she showed what she is made of. Some sugar, some spice, and power and might.

My daughter and I got back from the beauty parlor at 1:20. I decided not to check the score on the Internet, because I wished to wait until I could see w/mine very own eyes how the match unfolded. And by 3:00 - I knew the match was decided w/a second set tie break. I knew they went off at 3:30., and needless to say - I was overjoyed with the knowledge of realizing what had happened.


‘Black mother of tennis’ remains reclusive
Thu Mar 28,11:38 AM ET
By Andrea Szulszteyn

As Venus and Serena Williams (news - web sites) step on the stadium court for today’s much anticipated semifinal match at the Nasdaq-100 Open in Key Biscayne, an older woman sits alone in her New Jersey apartment, surrounded by dusty trophies and old newspaper clippings.

She adores the Williams sisters greatly, taking great pride in their fame and great success as tennis players and role models for women and African-Americans. Only she’s not just a fan. She’s a living legend.

Althea Gibson, 75, chooses to watch all of this unfold in virtual seclusion. As the spotlight shines on the two newest African-American champions, the first African-American to win the French Open (news - web sites), Wimbledon (news - web sites) and the U.S. Championships has chosen to stay far away from the headlines.

The woman close friend Fran Gray calls “the Black mother of tennis” refuses all interview requests. She has a handful of people in her inner circle and rarely goes out. She has not made a public appearance in years. As Gray says, “She’s retired herself from the public, and she’s comfortable with that.”

That doesn’t mean the Williams sisters or others in tennis have forgotten Gibson. Hall of Fame player Billie Jean King says she often finds herself saying “Don’t forget Althea” when discussing tennis and history. And Serena Williams, who has spoken to Gibson once, calls Gibson “a great inspiration.”

“She’s done so many amazing accomplishments,” said Serena Williams, 20, “and she’s been through so much.”

Gray is one of the few people with a glimpse into why Gibson has retreated from public life. She has known Gibson for more than 30 years and is CEO of the Althea Gibson Foundation, created in 1998 to help at-risk children who have ability in golf or tennis. The foundation is in major need of funding.

She takes Gibson to her doctor appointments and consults with her about ideas for the foundation. Gray said Gibson is “holding her own” health-wise, but that Gibson has arthritis and occasionally uses a wheelchair when she has trouble walking.

“Althea’s mentally fine,” Gray said. “She’s arthritic and if you don’t run, jump, hop or skip around, you lose the usage of the flexibility of the body that used to carry you 100 miles per hour 100 miles a day.”

Gibson stays out of the public for several reasons, Gray says. She does not remember a lot of her matches from the 1950s, and does not want to be asked about them. And she can’t view them because not a single Gibson match is on film.

In the early 1990s, her job with the New Jersey Governor’s Commission on Physical Fitness was cut for financial reasons. Gibson, who did not make money while playing tennis and did not have much saved, was shocked.

“She was devastated,” Gray said. “She had done so much, given so much and here in her later years she found herself out of work and not fully prepared to retire.”

Gibson became depressed and suffered a stroke. When she recovered, Gibson never sought attention or wanted it. As Gray says, “She’s been out of circulation 10 years now. Once she got out, she did not come back.”

Perhaps that is the reason why her name may not be as recognizable as Jackie Robinson’s or Arthur Ashe’s. But Gibson means as much to African-Americans’ advancement in sport.

Gibson won the French Open in 1956, and Wimbledon and the U.S. Championships in 1957 and 1958, firsts for any African-American. She also was the first African-American to play on the LPGA Tour.

“I bring it up. I say, ‘Don’t forget Althea,’” Hall of Fame tennis player Billie Jean King said. “Having these discussions about history is very good. A lot of people think it’s Arthur Ashe, but it’s Althea Gibson.”

King is one of the few people outside the Gibson inner circle who has spent time with her in the past few years. Five years ago, after King pleaded, begged and left countless messages, Gibson allowed King and Zina Garrison, a former top 10 Wimbledon runner-up, to visit her home in New Jersey.

King and Garrison spent nearly two hours chatting with Gibson about her accomplishments, and about the Williams sisters, who had yet to achieve their immense fame and popularity.

“I told her about when I first saw her and how excited I was, to remind her she’s not forgotten, and how she made such a difference in my life,” King said. “I was 13 years old in Los Angeles, and I saw her play at the Pacific Southwest [tournament].

“I’ll never forgot how my heart was pounding, and I went to see her and thought, ‘Geez, I hope I can play like that someday.’”

King still leaves messages for Gibson and checks in with Gray, and she would like to see Gibson have a more active role. She told Gibson during their visit, “We need you, you can inspire a lot of people.”

Gibson was forced to retire from tennis in 1958 because of a lack of finances. She then spent the next few years recording an album, picking up a small role in the movie, The Horse Soldiers, and touring with the Harlem Globetrotters as an opening act.

After a venture to open her own tennis club failed, Gibson discovered the LPGA. She earned her tour card in 1965, but at 37, was unable to have sustained success.

“Althea was such a great athlete,” said softball and golf legend Joan Joyce, who played one year on the LPGA tour with Gibson. “It was a tremendous honor to be playing with her. She is a part of the history of women’s sports. If it isn’t for people like Althea Gibson, sports wouldn’t be where they are today.”

In 1971, Gibson was inducted into the International Tennis Hall of Fame in Newport, R.I. This year marks the 45th anniversary of Gibson’s historic victory at Wimbledon, and Gray is mulling over whether she will attend a planned celebration in Gibson’s place.

Last year, Gibson graced the cover of Wheaties during Black History Month. Though some wish she would be more a public figure, Venus Williams (news - web sites) understands.

“I think she should do what’s comfortable,” said Williams, 21. “If she’s comfortable in her life at this point, that’s what counts.”

So while the Williams sisters continue playing and inspiring a new generation, Gibson remains in New Jersey with the knowledge and pride that she paved the way for their moment atop women’s tennis.

Apr 1st, 2002, 03:01 PM
April 01, 2002

Williams making serene progress towards top of rankings
From Neil Harman

RICHARD WILLIAMS had the choice of four cameras with which to capture another picture of one of his girls cherishing an inscribed glass fruit bowl.
If he is not holding up his home-made billboards to proclaim his daughters’ genius, he is snapping away at the side of the court like a crazed freelance for Amateur Photographer. Serena Williams insisted that she never saw her father leaping out of his seat time and again either to deliver shouts of encouragement or to swap lenses. She was too focused on delivering the victory over Jennifer Capriati in the final of the Nasdaq-100 Open here that added considerable weight to her belief that she will top the rankings during the coming year.

Certainly this tournament went much as Williams the younger had decreed it would, with straight-set victories over Martina Hingis, her sister Venus and Capriati, the world No 1, achieved with varying shades of swagger.

In truth there was little to choose between Serena, 20, and Capriati, 26, and the winner produced a quotient of errors that dumbfounded her. Capriati, too, produced the delicious and the dross in equal measure. Yet the match became a classic in spite of itself.

Incredibly, given that she has played much of her tennis in the Sunshine State, Capriati has never won a professional title here. That is a total of 17 tournaments without silverware in the 13-year period since she joined the professional tour.

Her sponsors may have handed her the keys to a flighty red Ferrari with which to celebrate her recovery from tempestuous times to assume the status of grand-slam champion and the ultimate world ranking, but the drive home through the nose-to-tail traffic on I-95 on Saturday gave plenty of opportunity for reflection. “It’s difficult to get a rhythm and that’s the hardest part of playing Serena,” Capriati, rocking back impatiently in her press conference chair, said. “You just never know what’s going to happen. It’s not consistent. It’s not like you can get into a real groove or anything.”

That is one of the reasons Serena has won 12 of her 13 matches this year, has brought 13 titles to the family collection and is $385,000 richer. “Mentally, I’m right there where I want to be,” Serena said, and in full flow she is an awesome sight. Capriati now seems the only one capable of stopping the sisters from achieving the domination that their father has ordained is their birthright. It is an awesome responsibility. When he says they should rename the governing body of women’s tennis the Williams Tennis Association, it is no empty boast.

Hingis now pales in the sisters’ shadow, Monica Seles’s flame flickers only occasionally and Lindsay Davenport is months from a return after knee surgery. Kim Clijsters and Justine Henin require more consistency and it is too much to expect the graceful Slovakian, Daniela Hantuchova, to offer a sustained challenge just yet.

Apr 1st, 2002, 08:13 PM
Thanx for the articles, GogoGirl :wavey:

Apr 18th, 2002, 02:27 PM
Tennis pro to give $10,000
to Clarendon District 1

Item Staff Writer

April 17, 2002

Serena Williams returns a shot from Katarina Srebotnik of Slovenia recently. Williams, who is playing in the Family Circle Tennis Cup this week in Charleston, is donating $10,000 to Clarendon School District 1’s computer loan program.
SUMMERTON — Clarendon School District 1’s computer loan program is expected to get a big boost this afternoon — from a rather unlikely place.
Professional tennis player Serena Williams, it has been announced, will make a $10,000 contribution to the school district following a tennis match this afternoon. Williams is in Charleston this week taking part in the Family Circle Tennis Cup. Ninety students and 10 chaperones from District 1 were expected to leave at 9 a.m. today and arrive at Daniels Island in time to watch Williams’ scheduled 2 p.m. match.
“The students will be traveling by chartered bus to watch (Williams) play her match and afterward she’ll be presenting the check,” District 1 spokeswoman Cathy Skelley said Tuesday.
The students attending today’s match are from the eighth- through 12th-grades. Unfortunately, no 10th-graders will be able to go because they are taking the state exit exam. Those attending include members of the Scott’s Branch High School girls basketball team and students chosen based on their honor roll status, Skelley said.
Sophomore Sharon Ballard — who Skelley described as the “star of the basketball team” — will be among those students.
“I was really surprised,” Ballard said of the news. “She is an outstanding athlete, and I’m excited about seeing her in person.”
Williams invited the group to attend the tournament today after “hearing about the school district’s rich history and current financial troubles from Congressman (James E.) Clyburn,” a release from Clyburn’s office states.

“Serena Williams’ generous spirit and tremendous talent are an inspiration to this group of students who have very few opportunities but a resilient spirit of their own,” Clyburn said. “I appreciate the enthusiasm with which Miss Williams embraces Clarendon School District 1. It truly demonstrates her strength of character and commitment to fostering a better future for all young people.”
Once threatened with running out of money before the end of the school year, the district has wrangled for the past several months with growing shortfalls that were made worse by state budget cuts.
The bulk of the money Williams is donating will go toward the purchase of laptop computers for St. Paul Primary School, Scott’s Branch Intermediate School and Scott’s Branch High School. The computers will be available to be checked out by students and will include enrichment software for skill-building in reading, math and Scholastic Assessment Test preparation.
Skelley estimates the district will be able to purchase at least two laptops for each school.
“We have already in place a few checkout laptops for teachers, but not for students,” Skelley said. “This will provide our students access to a laptop they can check out on loan from the media center based on teacher recommendations.”
The remaining $2,000 will fund the Serena Williams Scholarship, which will be awarded to the senior who has both the highest class ranking and has lettered in two sports.
“We are thrilled Miss Serena Williams is willing to donate to our cause,” said District 1 Interim Superintendent Dr. Rabon Rodgers.
We appreciate the generous contribution and will try to use it in a way that is most beneficial to our students. We also appreciate Congressman Clyburn’s assistance in placing Miss Williams in touch with the school district.”
Donyai Gist, an honor roll student and junior at Scott’s Branch High School, is also thrilled about her trip to Charleston.
“I’m so excited. She’s such a good tennis player and good role model for us,” Gist said Tuesday. “I’m glad she chose our district to help out.”

Apr 20th, 2002, 03:40 PM


Patience knocks out Williams
The Post and Courier

While the rest of the seeded players in the Family Circle Cup continued to fall all around her this week, Serena Williams appeared to be on cruise control as she powered her way into Friday's quarterfinals.
Then along came patient Patty Schnyder, and Williams suddenly veered out of control.
Williams committed 57 unforced errors, including 28 in the decisive third set, in a 2-6, 6-4, 7-5 loss Friday before about 8,000 fans in the Family Circle Magazine Stadium.
"I just think I missed a lot of shots," said a dejected Williams, who blew a 3-0 lead in the final set. "I kind of was fighting myself and her out there, and it was hard doing that."
The upset by Schnyder, a former top-10 player who had lost all five previous meetings with Williams, propelled her into today's semifinals against No. 1 Jennifer Capriati.
Schnyder already has a win over 10th-ranked No. 6 seed Amelie Mauresmo, one of the best clay-court players in the world, in the second round of the $1.2 million tournament.
"I think I played very well against Mauresmo too, and today was a big fight," she said. "Now I'm in the semis, and everything is possible."
Indeed, with upsets the norm this week, Schnyder can only hope that her relentless baseline game, deft drop shots and spinning, left-handed serves will have the same effect on Capriati as they did on Williams.
While Schnyder's arsenal of shots was as impressive as Williams' meltdown in the final set, it was a drop shot that almost cost the Swiss native the match. After clawing her way back from the 0-3 deficit in the third set, Schnyder fell behind again at 4-5 SCHNYDER from Page 1C
and tried to catch Williams off-guard with the shot.
When it didn't work the risky move put Williams at match point.
"I didn't play a lot (of drop shots) because she's so fast and all over the court, but in the last few matches I played so many good drop shots and won all the points and I was confident with it," Schnyder said.
Schnyder held her composure, though, and saved the match with a crosscourt winner and followed with an ace and a 105-mph service winner to even the set at 5-5. After breaking Williams' serve, Schnyder was down 15-40 before roaring back with four consecutive points to secure the upset.
When Williams' backhand hit the net cord and bounced harmlessly away on match point, Schnyder raised her hands skyward and jogged to the net where Williams put an arm around her.
It was a disappointing finish for Williams, who looked primed to win her first tournament on clay, or at least make it to a much-anticipated semifinal with Capriati. She was overwhelming at times in blitzing Jennifer Hopkins, 6-0, 6-2, in the second round, and winning in straight sets over Nathalie Dechy.
However, on Friday she failed to dominate with her booming, 100-mph serves, winning just 44 percent of the points off her first serve and double-faulting four times. She had only three aces, or just half as many as the much smaller Schnyder.
After breaking Schnyder's serve three times in the first set she failed on five of six break opportunities the rest of the way. In the third set Williams also tried to go for more winners, sometimes in ill-advised situations, while Schnyder kept sending the ball back.
While Williams' powerful ground strokes and serves are intimidating, they have to hit their marks consistently to be effective. Instead, Williams was erratic Friday, and that opened the door for Schnyder.
"Normally I do make a lot of errors, but I couldn't get in a rhythm and it just wasn't the greatest match," Williams said.
The clay also evened the match. Williams had won all five previous meetings with Schnyder, the last four in straight sets, but those matches were on faster hard surfaces.
The upset brought a premature end to Williams' first appearance in the Family Circle Cup. She donated money to rural schools, worked tennis clinics for inner-city youths and generally served as a goodwill ambassador.
Her colorful father Richard Williams also was in attendance, roaming the tennis center grounds, touring the area and talking freely to almost anyone who approached him.
"Some people think I'm crazy for what I've done with my daughters, raising them to be tennis players, but it really was all planned out," he said. "The plan was in place before they were born. I'm a master planner."
Serena's game could have used some of that structure Friday.
"It's really not that tough because this is just one match," she told reporters afterward. "I think it's more tough for you guys than it is on me. It's not that I'm OK with it. It's just that I know that, under normal conditions, I wouldn't lose that match. I don't really feel that this is something that's going to hinder my career in any way."

Apr 29th, 2002, 06:19 PM
This is certainly great news - IMO. I think the PTB in Wash. D.C., should name a new center after Ms. Gibson.

Posted on Sun, Apr. 28, 2002

Manning High honors tennis great Gibson
Sports Editor

WE PULL OUT THE FILE each February, rehash the facts for a Black History Month report and put the athletic wonder of Althea Gibson back on the shelf for another year.

Well, some folks in Clarendon County, birthplace of one of tennis' all-time great players, want to make a long-overdue change, and they will.

The tennis complex at Manning High will be dedicated in Gibson's honor in ceremonies this afternoon, and the highway through Silver, the community where Gibson was born 75 years ago, will carry her name after the proposal winds its way through the General Assembly.

There are plans to use the weekend ceremonies as a springboard to create boys' and girls' clubs that will bear Gibson's name.

"Providing opportunities for the youth in the county is our long-term vision," says Alex Conyers, the driving force behind the project. "Clarendon doesn't have anything like that now, no YMCA and or similar organization. We hope to work with the Althea Gibson Foundation to get clubs set up that would serve as motivation for the kids in the area."

Gibson endorses the plan enthusiastically, said Fran Clayton Gray, head of the Althea Gibson Foundation. "Working with young people is what she has stood for for many years," Gray said. "She thinks it's marvelous."

Crowning accomplishment. Marvelous is an appropriate description. So is awesome, the choice of Cindye Richburg, Gibson's cousin who will speak for the family at today's ceremonies.

The dedication and the accompanying plaque at the tennis complex and the highway designation will get the immediate attention, but all agree that a building to house the clubs will be the crowning accomplishment.

"That will be something more tangible," Gray said, "and the possibilities are enormous. (Alex Conyers) told me about kids studying in a barber shop, and I'm pleased that someone would give them space, but this could be so much more."

Isn't that what kids need, an opportunity? Althea Gibson could relate stories about the winding road to opportunity.

"I tell young people now that so many doors have opened thanks to people like her, and you should take advantage and savor the moments," Richburg said.

Opening doors is part of the Gibson story many do not know. She broke the color barrier in women's tennis, serving as her sport's version of Jackie Robinson.

"She knows about overcoming odds," Gray said. "She was a high school dropout who finally graduated at age 21 with an A-plus average and finished 10th in her class at Florida A&M."

She went on to win 11 Grand Slam tennis titles, made State Department tours, tried the women's golf tour, cut a record album and enjoyed an acting career that included a role in "The Horse Soldiers," starring John Wayne.

"Shaking hands with the Queen of England," she said after winning her first Wimbledon championship, "was a long way from being forced to sit in the colored section of the bus."

'We're very excited.' Gibson leads a reclusive life in East Orange, N.J., and will not attend today's ceremonies, but her family will be well represented. In addition to those still in the Manning area, relatives from Virginia, North Carolina and the Washington, D.C., area will be on hand.

Minnie McFadden, Gibson's aunt who was 7 years old and in the house when Gibson was born in 1927, will help unveil the plaque. "This is important to us," said Audrey Johnson, McFadden's daughter and Gibson's first cousin. "We're very excited about what this could mean."

In addition to the clubs, the possibilities include a statewide essay contest, which not only would give students the chance to improve their skills but introduce another generation to Althea Gibson.

Gibson's immediate family moved from Clarendon County to Harlem in 1930, and there she learned the game that would make her famous. But the folks back home kept up with her achievements.

"My grandmother (McFadden) always knew," Richburg said, "and I remember as early as elementary school knowing that I had a famous cousin in tennis. We have a strong family base."

Gibson "is not well," Gray said, "but she is extremely proud that so many people care." She will be prouder still if vision merges with reality and opportunities for youth result from this weekend. That would be marvelous.

Contributions for an Althea Gibson Center in Clarendon County can be sent to the Althea Gibson Foundation, 17 Academy St., Suite 608, Newark, N.J. 07102

May 9th, 2002, 03:40 PM

Associated Press

May. 9, 2002 11:28 a.m.

BERLIN (AP) — Serena Williams hasn't yet won a title on clay, but she figures a grand slam - the French Open - could just be the first one.

Williams, enjoying an outstanding year, fought herself out of trouble Thursday on the slow surface with her serve in a 7-6 (2), 6-4 victory against Bulgarian veteran Magdalena Maleeva at the German Open.

"The French could be my first clay title - it's possible," said Williams.

She ran her record to 16-1 for the year in reaching the quarterfinals of the dlrs 1.22 million event, a major tuneup for the French, which begins in two weeks.

"I want it more this year. I'm a veteran, maybe I'm more serious," she said of her successful season.

But top-seeded Jennifer Capriati also showed she may be ready to defend her French Open crown, fighting blowing winds to rout Iroda Tulyaganova of Uzbekistan 6-2, 6-0 in just 43 minutes.

"I just feel more comfortable on clay - I think its coming together," said Capriati.

Williams will face a stiffer test Friday against France's Amelie Mauresmo, the world No. 10, who knocked out Italy's Silvia Farina, 6-3, 6-3.

Williams blasted a hard serve that the 26th-ranked Maleeva couldn't handle to close out her match in 1 hour, 33 minutes. But beforehand, the American muffed a lot of easy shots along with blasting winners.

"My serve wasn't consistent, but when it went in I think it saved me," said Williams, seeded fourth. "Playing on clay is mental, my mental is there -I'm just waiting for my game to catch up. Maybe tomorrow."

Belgium's Justine Henin, ranked eighth, also advanced by ousting Russian Elena Likhovtseva, 5-7 6-4, 6-4 and will face Nathalie Dechy, who beat Spain's Arantxa Sanchez-Vicario, 7-6 (4), 6-3.

Slovakian Daniela Hantuchova, the world No. 14, posted the day's biggest upset, rolling past No. 9 Yugoslav Jelena Dokic, 6-2, 6-3.

She will play Israel's Anna Smashova, who beat Spain's Cristina Torrens-Valero, Spain, 7-6 (7), 6-0 to go along with a first round upset of world No. 3 Kim Clijsters of Belgium.

Capriati, whose quarterfinal opponent isn't yet determined, simply overpowered the 14th-seeded Tulyaganova, who had taken her to three sets earlier this year at Miami.

"It's nice to have a match like that once in a while, I haven't had one of these in a while - and I've got a lot of tennis to play," said Capriati, ranked second.

Williams was sidelined by a right ankle injury, forcing her to miss the Australian Open.

But she has bounced back and climbed to world No 4 by winning two titles since, including Key Biscayne in March, where she ousted older sister Venus, Martina Hingis and Capriati.

Only Steffi Graf had beaten the top three ranked players to claim a title.

Neither Williams or Capriati said they were bothered by the wind that swept across the court on a warm day.

"I usually don't play that well in the wind, but it wasn't as bad as I expected," Capriati said.

The American wasn't making any predictions about the upcoming grand slam, except to say seven or eight players have a chance including Mauresmo, Clijsters and Henin.

"Going into the French, the women's side is so strong, you have so many contenders, it's going to be interesting," Capriati said.


May 12th, 2002, 06:45 PM
Serena and Venus have a good chance on grabbing the Italian Open doubles title. They can do it - and Venus can win the singles.



Tennis-Henin Edges Serena in Thrilling Berlin Final
Sun May 12,11:27 AM ET
By Patrick Vignal

BERLIN (Reuters) - Belgium's Justine Henin held her nerve for a dramatic 6-2, 1-6, 7-6 victory over Serena Williams (news - web sites) in a thrilling German Open final Sunday.


Reuters Photo

AP Photo
Jennifer Capriati

Last year's Wimbledon (news - web sites) finalist wasted two match points before converting her third, as Williams sent a forehand long, to take the final set tiebreak 7-5 after two hours and 17 minutes of exciting tennis.

Fifth-seed Henin countered the American's raw power with a smart tactical approach to claim the biggest title of her young career and emerge as a top contender for the French Open (news - web sites) starting on May 27.

"I just had to believe in myself," the 19-year-old said after creating another upset following her semifinal victory over top seed Jennifer Capriati.

"This win gives me a lot of confidence," added Henin after tasting her first title of the year and her first triumph at a major claycourt tournament.

"I stayed cool and that's how I have to play."


Fourth seed Williams, 20, had never gone further than the quarter-finals on her least preferred surface before this week.

The athletic American's run in Berlin suggested she should also be ranked among the favorites at Roland Garros.

She hit amazing winners in the final but also made costly unforced errors and struggled with her usually devastating first serve.

"I made too many errors and I just couldn't get those first serves in," she said. "Still, I'm pleased with my week here. I felt comfortable on clay and that's important with the French Open coming."

Henin made a great start, breaking Williams straight away and again in the fifth game before taking the first set in just 29 minutes with Williams hitting a return wide on set point.

But the Belgian teen-ager collapsed in the second set as she could not resist Williams's powerful game.

"The way she played in that second set was just unbelievable," said Henin. "I decided not to worry about her game in the next set and just focus on mine. It worked."


Williams, who has dropped just two matches since she lost to her sister Venus in the U.S. Open (news - web sites) final last September, broke Henin in the second game of the second set and again in the sixth before taking the set with an ace.

The deciding set was an exciting affair that could have gone either way as both players recorded two breaks apiece.

Henin had two match points with Williams serving while trailing 5-6 but the Belgian squandered the first when she hit a backhand long before Williams saved the second with an ace.

The match went to the tiebreak with Henin jumping out to a 3-0 lead before Williams came back to level at 3-3.

Both players scored two more points before Henin hit a superb acrobatic dropshot to gain her third match point, which she converted when Williams hit her forehand long.

"Anything can happen in a tiebreak at this level but I could feel that she was getting tired," Henin said.

"Mentally it was a good experience."

May 19th, 2002, 04:21 PM
Wonderful display of power and control by Serena at the Italian Open 2002. IMO - she plays sooooooo much better when her sister is in the stands.

Justine is another winner - but today is Ms Serena "Stackhouse Bonecrushing", Williams day!


MAY 19, 11:59 ET
Serena Beats Henin in Italy Final

Associated Press Writer
AP/Andrew Medichini [20K]

ROME (AP) — Serena Williams beat Justine Henin 7-6 (6), 6-4 Sunday in the final of the Italian Open.

One week after losing to Henin in the final of the German Open, Williams won a first-set tiebreaker and closed out the match with two breaks in the second set on an overcast day at the Foro Italico.

Williams appeared to twist her ankle in the first set, but recovered to overpower the fifth-seeded Henin.
AP/Andrew Medichini [17K]

``It was a tough win,'' Williams said, before adding in Italian, ``Rome is in my heart.''

Williams, who failed in two previous attempts to reach the quarterfinals in Rome, won her third tournament of the year.

``Serena was too strong today,'' Henin said.

Henin reached the final by beating fellow Belgian Kim Clijsters in straight sets on Saturday. Williams defeated second-seeded Jennifer Capriati in three sets in the other semifinal.

Williams is ranked a career-best No. 3, and trails only her sister, Venus Williams, and Capriati.

Capriati regained the top ranking this week when Venus Williams withdrew with a wrist injury.

Henin, who had not lost a set in four previous matches in the warmup for the French Open, moved up to No. 5 in the rankings.

May 19th, 2002, 08:35 PM

Thanks for the articles

May 20th, 2002, 03:36 AM
Congratulations to Serena! Italian Open Champion 2002!

Jun 3rd, 2002, 10:23 PM
My quarterfinal picks are............let me see. Ho hum err um.....I just gots to pick those Williams girls.


06/03/2002 - Updated 06:07 PM ET

Williams sisters looking to break through in quarters - FRENCH OPEN 2002

By Jocelyn Gecker, The Associated Press

By Michel Euler, AP
Venus Williams, pictured, is still on track to meet her sister in the French Open finals.

PARIS — If all goes according to the Williams family plan, this French Open will be the one where at least one sister makes it past the quarterfinals.

Their cluttered trophy case contains five Grand Slam singles prizes — four of which belong to Venus, and none of which came at Roland Garros.

That could be about to change.

Both No. 2 Venus and No. 3 Serena Williams will play for semifinal berths Tuesday. Venus faces No. 6 Monica Seles, and Serena goes up against 2000 champion Mary Pierce.

The other quarterfinal matchups are defending champion Jennifer Capriati vs. No. 7 Jelena Dokic, and Paola Suarez vs. fellow Argentine Clarisa Fernandez.

With Team Williams, Seles and Capriati, it's the first time since 1986 that four American women are in the French Open quarters.

And two Argentine women never had been in the final eight at the same time.

Serena Williams, emerging as the stronger sister on clay this spring, said she's never felt better.

"I definitely have more drive than anything, than ever before," she said after beating 17-year-old Russian qualifier Vera Zvonareva in the fourth round. Serena lost the first set 4-6, then won 12 of the last 13 games.

"When I'm down, if anything, I hit harder," said Serena, the 1999 U.S. Open champion. "I always fight. I'm always fighting and hustling."

Venus has had a relatively easy run so far, winning her first four matches in straight sets and dropping a total of 17 games. She beat Chanda Rubin in the fourth round.

The two-time Wimbledon and the U.S. Open champion said this week that she's riding on the wave of her best season ever. Of the eight tournaments Venus has played this year, she's won four and made it to at least the semifinals in three others.

"I'd like to keep it rolling until the end of this tournament," she said.

Seles, who's reached at least the quarters in all 10 of her Roland Garros appearances and won the title from 1990-92, beat Venus in the Australian Open quarterfinals. Seles had been 0-6 against the elder Williams.

Suarez and Fernandez are friends and training partners back home, and their faceoff guarantees that Argentina will have its first French Open women's semifinalist since Gabriela Sabatini in 1992.

Suarez eliminated 10th-seeded Amelie Mauresmo of France 6-2, 2-6, 6-4 Sunday, while Fernandez followed her upset of 2001 runner-up Kim Clijsters of Belgium by knocking off No. 13 Elena Dementieva of Russia 3-6, 6-2, 6-3.

"This is going to be something beautiful for Argentina, to reach the quarterfinals," Suarez said. "Two Argentines at Roland Garros is very incredible."

Jun 8th, 2002, 05:56 PM

Serena Eclipses Venus for French Crown

June 8
— By Ossian Shine

PARIS (Reuters) - Serena Williams traded in her sparkling silver tiara for a second grand slam crown on Saturday, eclipsing big sister Venus 7-5 6-3 in the French Open final.

"I want to thank Venus for supporting me all the way and for being the best sister in the world," the third seed beamed as she collected the Suzanne Lenglen trophy. "I just love playing here."

The Williams family were all smiles after the last ball had been struck but Centre Court connoisseurs were left to ponder an error-filled, lackluster final.

A feast of screeches, grunts and frustrated screams was served up during the 91 minute contest. Quality tennis was missing from the menu.

But despite the scrappy, workmanlike and for the most part ugly manner of the victory, it could hardly have been sweeter for Serena.

It avenged her loss to Venus in the U.S. Open last year -- the first grand slam final between sisters since Maud Watson beat Lillian Watson at Wimbledon in 1884, and leaves her two majors behind Venus.

The 20-year-old now boasts one U.S. and one French Open title while Venus has a pair of U.S. and Wimbledon victories.


"Je veux dire merci ma mere, Maman, everybody, aussi Venus. Sans her, I would not be here today," a giggling Serena told the crowd in her broken Franglais.

"And most of all I would like to thank the French crowd because I love to play here et l'anne prochaine je veux faire encore."

The post match celebrations were elaborate -- at one point Venus collected a camera from her mother Oracene and joined the press photographers snapping away at her sister -- but the match itself was a dour affair and one best forgotten.

From the very start, it was almost incomprehensible to think the numbers one and two in the world were playing on Centre Court.

The practice session the pair had shared three hours before the start had contained higher caliber tennis as, with the trophy at stake, the pair exchanged staggeringly poor groundstrokes and swapped double-faults on a regular basis.

Serena had opted not to wear her Cameroon replica soccer kit for the final -- complete with knee-high socks -- but the regularity with which she put the ball in the net suggested there could be a role for her at the World Cup.

Venus was no better, spooning groundstrokes meters outside the court, netting volleys and struggling to put a serve in court.

Both players lacked any kind of killer instinct, unwilling to grind each other into the Roland Garros clay.

The intensity and savagery of their earlier rounds was missing. The sun came out but the sisters simply failed to sparkle.

Jun 10th, 2002, 10:55 PM
Now we know why PoPs was hanging out w/Don King back a few years ago. He wanted to get the mentality together as if he were training two boxers. He wanted his girls to take no prisoners. He even said that he looked at the Sisters careers as if they were boxers.

Hype - Hype - Hype and more Hype is what Mr. Williams was truly talking about. He liked the build-up. He liked the suspense and the anticipation leading up to his daughter's matches. Well he got what he wanted and then some - didn't he?

These young ladies shot out ot the gates, made some missteps and mistakes along the way - but finally figured out how to tweak their games in order to take everybody down and out for the count that got in their way.



Who Remains to Challenge Williams Sisters? Nobody
Who remains to challenge
Williams sisters? Nobody
By Patrick Hruby

They are Tiger at Augusta. Maradona against England. The Los Angeles Lakers vs. the Eastern Conference's kibble-of-the-month. Nos. 1 and 1A in the world, the Williams sisters finally stand at the pinnacle of women's tennis. Top Stories

And frankly, it's lonely at the top.
If the just-concluded French Open taught us anything — besides the fact that Marat Safin's wispy porn 'stache is the most subtly ridiculous athletic facial hair since, well, Michael Jordan's — it's that Venus and Serena Williams figure to lord over the sport for some time to come. Or at least as long as they feel like it.
After all, who's going to challenge them?
With the exception of increasingly petulant Jennifer Capriati — more on her later — the women's heavyweight division is a bit dodgy. And by dodgy, we mean Tyson vs. Lewis, two shambling thirtysomethings exchanging blows for the title of Baddest Bouncer Alive.
Consider the contenders. Lindsay Davenport is a former No. 1 and one of the few players able to match the percussive power of the Sisters Squared groundstroke for thundering groundstroke. Problem is, she's coming off a knee injury and seems as happy away from the tour as on it.
Likewise, five-time Grand Slam winner Martina Hingis recently had ankle surgery and is suffering from severe pain in her feet, left knee and left hip, injuries that could end her career. Already set to miss Wimbledon, she told Sports Illustrated last week that her motivation is flagging.
Even if Hingis returns in perfect form, that probably won't be enough — the Williams sisters have owned the underpowered Swiss Miss since her confidence-crushing loss to Venus in the 2000 U.S. Open semifinal.
Monica Seles, whose shot angles are still dangerous, has played well of late and stunned Venus at the Australian Open. However, she lacks the quickness and conditioning to be a consistent threat.
At 28, Seles also is approaching retirement, perhaps as early as this year.
Life after tennis isn't looming for the top-10 Belgian duo of Kim Clijsters, 19, and Justine Henin, 20. That said, neither looks like a Williams-slayer: Clijsters has been up-and-down since her appearance in last year's French Open final, while Henin's overall game is no match for her cutting backhand.
Then there's Capriati. Impressive as she's been over the last two years, she's never beaten Venus — not once — and was outplayed by Serena in their French Open semifinal. In the past, Capriati's grit and mental toughness have given her an edge over Baby Sis; in the wake of Serena's composed win at Roland Garros, that may change.
As for other would-be rivals emerging from the detritus of the women's draw — that is, anyone ranked outside the top 10 — it's strictly wait-and-see. Up-and-comer Daniela Hantuchova pushed Venus in Australia. Vera Zvonareva, 17, was impressive in her Roland Garros debut, taking a set off Serena. Both have plenty of maturing to do.
And it's not as if Venus and Serena are exactly doddering. At 21 and 20, respectively, the sisters are just entering their prime years. Barring injury or disinterest in tennis — always a possibility considering the Williams' rich and healthy off-court lives — they should only get better.
At the French, Venus didn't lose a single set — until she faced Serena. Serena, for her part, lost just two, one to defending champion Capriati.
All of this, of course, took place on clay — the surface least suited to the sisters' go-for-broke games.
"Hopefully, we can build a rivalry and we'll be able to do this a lot," Serena said after defeating Venus in the French final. "Make a legacy, then retire champions."
For the rest of the tour, that's a scary thought.

Back to Sports


Jul 6th, 2002, 06:07 PM
6:05pm (UK) http://news.scotsman.com/latest.cfm?id=4914699

Serena Seizes Crown and Thanks God
By Tom Whitehead, PA News

Wimbledon champion Serena Williams tonight said she was blessed by God after seizing tennis’s most prestigious crown.

The 20-year-old outclassed her 22-year-old sister, Venus, to take the title in a power-hitting final on Centre Court earlier today.It was the first Wimbledon final between sisters since the first ever women’s clash in 1884 when Briton Maud Watson beat her sibling Lilian two sets to one.

And next door on Court One, Argentinian David Nalbandian smashed the record books to reach tomorrow’s men’s final against world number one Lleyton Hewitt.

In a glory run that has stunned the tennis world, the 20-year-old South American outsider has reached the final on his debut senior visit to Wimbledon.He is the first to complete such a feat and is also the first Argentinian in a Wimbledon final.When the number 28 seed steps on to Centre Court tomorrow it will be his first time on the hallowed turf.

He should have played there in yesterday’s semi-final but had to switch to Court One because rain delays had caused a backlog of matches.But today was Serena’s day as the new women’s world number one showed why she is top, beating her sister 7-6, 6-3.

Serena said after the match: “I’m a Jehovah’s Witness. Obviously we believe in God and the Bible.“Without Him, I wouldn’t be here right now. I really thank Him for everything. I’ve been blessed really.”Serena admitted Wimbledon was the title she wanted more than anything and thanked her parents, Oracene and Richard, for their support.She said: “My dad always said that one day we would play in the finals at Wimbledon and here we are 10, 15 years later. It’s really amazing if you think about it.“My dad, and my mom, it’s hard to get one champion, but now he has two.”

Today’s match was the ninth time the sisters have met in a top tournament with Venus just ahead of her younger competitor five wins to four.Serena’s victory ended Venus’s hope of becoming the first black woman to win a hat-trick of Wimbledon titles.American flags were few and far between and most onlookers would have struggled to know the nationality of either player if they relied on the crowd.

The scenes were a far cry from many of the previous matches witnessed over the Wimbledon fortnight, especially during Tim Henman’s clashes and his ever present Henmania crowd.Asked if she was disappointed at losing, Venus said: “Well obviously, a Grand Slam this is where it is at and especially at Wimbledon, this is where it all started.“ At least, I know, that sometimes I can look at the trophy.”Venus also revealed she gave her sister advice on how to curtsey to royalty during the trophy presentation, which was carried out by the Duke of Kent and his sister Princess Alexandra.

All eyes in SW19 will now focus on tomorrow’s men’s final between Nalbandian and Hewitt, the man who dramatically ended Henman’s dreams of Wimbledon glory in the semi-finals.And the two players could not be further apart in their careers with Nalbandian earning less than £400,000 so far while Hewitt has amassed millions and already won the US Open.The Argentinian earned his spot after beating Belgium’s Xavier Malisse in a five set thriller, 7-6, 6-4, 1-6, 2-6, 6-2.Nalbandian said: “I think this is the best week of my life.

This is very great for me. For me, this is a dream.”Asked if he was worried about his first Centre Court appearance, the Argentinian said: “No, I never played on Court One, so it’s the same.”Last year Croat Goran Ivanisevic stunned the tennis world when he won the Wimbledon title after entering the tournament as a wildcard.

Aug 18th, 2002, 05:10 PM
It is nothing short of phenomenal and amazing all that Serena has accomplised thus far this year. I always had faith in her and knew she could do it.

Actually - I'm sure to most of her fans - it really and truly hasn't sunk in yet as it pertains to how much she has accomplished and achieved thus far in 2002. She will definitely have her place in the tennis history books.

Serena & Venus have given us fans so much until mere words could never show them how much they mean to us, nor can we everrrrrrrrr thank them enough for just being them.

But - I will say thank you to them for bringing me sooooo much joy and contentment, as they continue to make strides in their tennis and life circle. Their parents and other family members cannot not be anything but proud as peacocks.