View Full Version : Who Remains to Challenge Williams Sisters? Nobody

Jun 10th, 2002, 09:43 PM
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.

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Jun 10th, 2002, 10:54 PM

Jun 10th, 2002, 11:01 PM
Thanks for post it:)

Jun 10th, 2002, 11:23 PM

Jun 10th, 2002, 11:25 PM
I think it may be sad but true why Jennifer may be thinking about calling it quits now. She is about 900 points behind Serena - and that is a lot of points to make up.

I'd be a little down for a while if the likes of - Jen, Martina, Lindsay and Davy leave the sport. And I still say that on any given day - one top player can still beat another top player if the other one is off w/their game.

In thinking the aforementioned players may retire sooner than later - leaves me a little shell shocked. In this, I agree w/their fans - that it would be a sad time and day on the tour if we lose them all.

June 10, 2002

Maturing Serena raises the stakes in sibling rivalry
by Neil harman, tennis correspondent in Paris

JOHN LLOYD graphically remembers a telephone call to his Los Angeles home 12 years ago from Richard Williams. “Hey John, I want you to come over to East LA and hit with my girls,” was the gist. “Bring them over to my side of the city and I’ll be happy to,” the former British No 1 replied. “To be honest,” Lloyd said yesterday, reflecting on the call, “I didn’t fancy going to Compton one bit.”
Compton is the seedy area of Los Angeles upon whose gangland-controlled, glass-strewn tennis courts Richard Williams first put legs and life into the dynasty that has become Venus and Serena Williams. Suffice to say, the “hit” with Lloyd never happened and he is another of those who has had partial contact with the Williams phenomenon and regrets not taking the deal any further.

As Venus interrupted the presentation of the French Open’s Suzanne Lenglen trophy to her younger sister on Saturday so she could get her mother’s camera to work — had there ever been a happier loser of a grand-slam final? — there were many coaches around the world who took the moment to reflect that they played their part in the story and have been airbrushed from history.

Dave Rineberg has written a book on the subject, Venus and Serena: My Seven Years as Hitting Coach for the Williams Sisters. The description within of the control freakery that Williams Sr exercised over his girls makes Sir Alex Ferguson, the Manchester United manager, seem like an avid subscriber to an open-door regime.

Rineberg writes of a meeting called by Richard at a car wash in Delray Beach, Florida: “Richard was putting quarters in the machine; he turned on the sprayer and held it out to spray water against the sides of his car. ‘This is to drown our voices in case someone’s listening,’ he said.” When Rineberg asked who, Richard replied: “Well, Dave, everyone wants to know what my next move with (the then 12-year-old) Venus will be, even the FBI. They may have planted bugs on me or in the car.”

Paranoia or not, this cameo gives a vivid insight into the process by which Richard has by means both caring and defiant, loving and driving, instilled into his daughters the desire to be the best two players in the world — an achievement that Lloyd believes is truly historic. “Here is a man who taught his girls from a coaching manual, took them out of the junior system, made sure they were properly educated and now sees them on top of the world just as he said they would be,” Lloyd said. “Tell me anything in sport more remarkable than that?” He has a point. If the 2002 French Open final that Serena won 7-5, 6-3 in 91 minutes will not be remembered for the quality of its tennis, it was the first in this city to be contested by sisters and the first time that the younger sister had beaten her older sibling in such a match. To Serena went the spoils, just as she said they would.

“I talked to my Dad last night and he told me to go out and have fun, to enjoy it,” Serena said. “I was thinking while I was out there ‘Gosh, my Dad would be very upset at the way we’re both playing right now,’ we wouldn’t stop getting broken. I was a little fatigued. I’ve played a lot of matches, winning in Rome, now here. But Serena Williams has, in my mind, always been the best tennis player in the world.

“That’s how you have to think in sports, or else you’ll lack confidence. I’m No 2 now so I’m just trying to stay focused, play a few more tournaments and see what happens.”

Of her seven events this year, Serena has won four (French Open, Italian Open, Key Biscayne and Scottsdale), lost in the final of the German Open to Justine Henin and been beaten in a semi-final in Sydney by Meghann Shaughnessy and a quarter-final in Charleston by Patty Schnyder. It is a devastating record which she is putting together and she expects it to be emboldened once she gets cracking on grass.

Serena said in Key Biscayne that her father has “something up his sleeve” for her to win Wimbledon. “I’m not going to tell you what it is, though, it’s our little secret,” she said, giggling. “I always dreamed of winning Wimbledon; as for the French, I wanted to win it especially when I came here and people said I couldn’t win on clay. That made me fight even harder.”

That spirit served her well in the midst of Saturday’s mediocrity. Of the 21 games, 12 were service breaks and twice there were four breaks in a row that only added to the murmuring about the outcome of these matches being pre-ordained. I have never bought into that theory, preferring to believe that Serena, once intimidated by the prospect of beating her elder sister, on whom she dotes, has broken from the chains of inferiority.

Rather than the 1999 US Open success, when Martina Hingis was on the other side of the net in the final, having been run ragged by Venus in the semi-final, Roland Garros 2002 was Serena Williams’s true breakthrough. Watch her go now.

Jun 10th, 2002, 11:28 PM
Personally I think this is one of the worst pieces of journalism I've ever read, I mean I know I am a Martina fan, but looking at it through completely neutral specs, it really a godawful piece of writing. If this man can get a job writing for the Washington Times, then it must be a lot more easier than I thought to get myself going in journalism.

Jun 10th, 2002, 11:30 PM
the "Maturing Serena raises the stakes in sibling rivalry" is a good piece though.

Jun 10th, 2002, 11:35 PM
Rineberg writes of a meeting called by Richard at a car wash in Delray Beach, Florida: ?Richard was putting quarters in the machine; he turned on the sprayer and held it out to spray water against the sides of his car. ?This is to drown our voices in case someone?s listening,? he said.? When Rineberg asked who, Richard replied: ?Well, Dave, everyone wants to know what my next move with (the then 12-year-old) Venus will be, even the FBI. They may have planted bugs on me or in the car.?


Jun 11th, 2002, 12:33 AM
Nice article ... but I think some people need to take what Richard says a little less seriously. I don't think he even intends it all to be believed.

Jun 11th, 2002, 02:43 AM
GoGoGir: Excellent articles! Thanks.

Number1Kim: You are right on the money. Good observation.

Aug 4th, 2012, 05:02 PM
10 years later NOBODY can still challenge the domination of the Williams Sisters!:tape:

Aug 4th, 2012, 05:30 PM
Right, because Venus is just totally dominating the sport

Aug 4th, 2012, 05:59 PM
Right, because Venus is just totally dominating the sport


Aug 4th, 2012, 06:06 PM
10 years later NOBODY can still challenge the domination of the Williams Sisters!:tape:

Girl sit your ass down, Venus hasn't won anything important since forever :devil:

Aug 4th, 2012, 06:11 PM
Yeah whatever about Serena dominating and even then her results in AO and RG suggest otherwise Venus is far from a dominant force.