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View Full Version : The Guardian - WTA goes out of its way to keep Williams' Sisters Happy


eugreene2
Mar 21st, 2009, 12:17 PM
So much for them being fined lol

BY STEVE BIERLEY

It was nasty and it developed into blatant racism. Now, eight years after the crowd booed Serena Williams's victory over Kim Clijsters in the women's final at Indian Wells, the sisters remain notable by their absence this week, as they have been since 2001. But this year they will be back, if only briefly, Venus in July and Serena, the world No1, in October.

The healing of the rift between the tournament, one of the most prestigious in women's tennis, and the Williams family is essentially no nearer to being resolved but, with the WTA having implemented new rules for this year, with such top tournaments "mandatory", a compromise had to be reached to avoid the embarrassing and damaging suspension of the two best women players in the world.

So both of them will take part in what might be described as community service, although they can pick a place within 125 miles of this desert town where Afro-Caribbean faces are not so much in the minority as virtually nonexistent. They are set to lose $400,000 (Serena) and $200,000 (Venus) out of an annual bonus pot, although to them this is small change. In other words the WTA, the women's ruling body, has bent over backwards not to upset the Williamses. Small wonder that some cynics refer to the WTA as the Williams Tennis Association.

Serena had previously won the title in 1999, when she was 17, but a huge row erupted two years later when, 10 minutes before the sisters were due to play in the semi-finals, Venus pulled out. By coincidence the National Enquirer ran a cover story the next morning claiming that the 2000 Wimbledon semi-final between the sisters had been rigged, to allow Venus to reach the final, which she won against her fellow American, Lindsay Davenport.

"Usually I don't get involved in these controversies," said Serena at the time. "But, come on, it's the National Enquirer. Next thing you know I'm going to be pregnant by some Martian. It's just not true, and it's kind of hurtful because it's just lies, just scandalous lies. The matches aren't rigged."

In the Indian Wells final Serena was booed from the start, with any errors or double faults loudly cheered, while Richard Williams, who was watching with Venus, claimed they were both racially abused. They vowed never to return and have remained true to their word, despite the attempts of Larry Scott, the WTA's chief executive, who last year redoubled his efforts to get the sisters to end their boycott. "It's been a long time but I think they've got deep feelings about the subject," Scott said. "When I've had conversations with them, let's just say they've been emotional conversations. I'm sensitive to their issues and concerns but I'd undoubtedly like to see them come back to play."

This year's compromise allows both players to avoid fines or suspension, not that the latter was ever likely. "We're not going to put them in a position that is going to be awkward. It will be neutral, something to promote the Southern California Tennis Association or the juniors," Scott said.

Charlie Pasarell, the tournament chairman, has been forced to accept the situation, although he knows it damages the credibility of his event, where this week the top three seeds had lost by Wednesday, emphasising the weakness of the women's game, and underlining the strength of the Williams sisters, who have won the last three majors. "What happened way back then was unfortunate and we hope some day they do come back," said Pasarell. There seems little chance.

serenus_2k8
Mar 21st, 2009, 12:20 PM
:haha: Of course they were never going to suspend them. IW is just a joke. Im very glad its almost over.

Lucemferre
Mar 21st, 2009, 12:27 PM
BJK organized that exo at MSG to compensate for the lost $400,000 and $200,000 :spit::spit::spit:

BlameSerena
Mar 21st, 2009, 12:28 PM
So both of them will take part in what might be described as community service, although they can pick a place within 125 miles of this desert town where Afro-Caribbean faces are not so much in the minority as virtually nonexistent. They are set to lose $400,000 (Serena) and $200,000 (Venus) out of an annual bonus pot, although to them this is small change. In other words the WTA, the women's ruling body, has bent over backwards not to upset the Williamses. Small wonder that some cynics refer to the WTA as the Williams Tennis Association.
Is there a clause that says you only get the bonus money if you attend all mandatory events? Just wondering...

I will be glad when IW is over as well.

Until next year, folks! :lol::lol:

BlameSerena
Mar 21st, 2009, 12:29 PM
BJK organized that exo at MSG to compensate for the lost $400,000 and $200,000 :spit::spit::spit:

:worship:

Lucemferre
Mar 21st, 2009, 12:30 PM
Is there a clause that says you only get the bonus money if you attend all mandatory events? Just wondering...

I will be glad when IW is over as well.

Until next year, folks! :lol::lol:

Yes, Maria won't get anything either though.

BlameSerena
Mar 21st, 2009, 12:31 PM
Yes, Maria won't get anything either though.

Thank you :)

ETA:The title sucks. "Going out of their way to make the Williams Sisters happy" by what? Seems to me they are in compliance with the bullshit rules.

kiwifan
Mar 21st, 2009, 12:33 PM
:smoke:

Ciarán
Mar 21st, 2009, 12:35 PM
Awful.

Dodoboy.
Mar 21st, 2009, 12:36 PM
Great news, at least they know where their loyalties lie.

Olórin
Mar 21st, 2009, 12:37 PM
the two best women players in the world

You know that when the Guardian says something, it's true ;)

servenrichie
Mar 21st, 2009, 12:41 PM
BJK organized that exo at MSG to compensate for the lost $400,000 and $200,000 :spit::spit::spit:
Best post! Rock on Billie:worship::worship:

HRHoliviasmith
Mar 21st, 2009, 12:42 PM
BJK organized that exo at MSG to compensate for the lost $400,000 and $200,000 :spit::spit::spit:

:worship::lol: hilarious

pwayne
Mar 21st, 2009, 02:16 PM
BJK organized that exo at MSG to compensate for the lost $400,000 and $200,000 :spit::spit::spit:

Post of the thread.

Actually, Venus gained 100K from the exo.

spartanfan
Mar 21st, 2009, 02:28 PM
Post of the thread.

Actually, Venus gained 100K from the exo.
I thought Venus got 300K for the NYC expo?

pwayne
Mar 21st, 2009, 02:43 PM
I thought Venus got 300K for the NYC expo?

She did. I was balancing the difference from exo money against bonus pool money they won't get.

vettipooh
Mar 21st, 2009, 03:52 PM
She did. I was balancing the difference from exo money against bonus pool money they won't get.


Even when people think they lose, they win.:lol: :devil:

court70
Mar 21st, 2009, 03:52 PM
BJK organized that exo at MSG to compensate for the lost $400,000 and $200,000 :spit::spit::spit:

Venus got $300,000 and Serena $400,000.

Sammm
Mar 21st, 2009, 04:59 PM
"Usually I don't get involved in these controversies," said Serena at the time. "But, come on, it's the National Enquirer. Next thing you know I'm going to be pregnant by some Martian. It's just not true, and it's kind of hurtful because it's just lies, just scandalous lies. The matches aren't rigged."


Serena :hearts:

sweetpeas
Mar 21st, 2009, 05:36 PM
I will be glad when IW is over as well.

It will never end! Every 03 mtn,it will come up.

edificio
Mar 21st, 2009, 06:02 PM
I will be glad when IW is over as well.

It will never end! Every 03 mtn,it will come up.

Agreed.

bobbynorwich
Mar 21st, 2009, 06:54 PM
Remember when skater Nancy Kerrigan was knee-capped by Tonya Harding's boyfriend to eliminate the competition? Well, what's to keep the Williams sisters' opponents or rabid fans from planting lots of people to call out racial slurs at every tournament --- which V. and S. of course would then boycott --- and thus effectively eliminate them as competitors from every tourney.

Not knee-capping and not illegal, but it'd be an act of horrible sportsmanship that would have the same effect. In the highly competitive sports world, not out of the realm of possibility.

Apparently, their opponents do like the Williams' boycott of Indian Wells, see excerpt below from FoxSports:But for other players, having the powerhouse pair out of the frame is just fine.

"It does create opportunities, them not being here," said No.11 Victoria Azarenka, already the winner of two titles in 2009.

"You have to feel confident against every opponent but it does make the draw a little more open and there are some more chances for players to make a run."

http://www.foxsports.com.au/story/0,8659,25219336-23210,00.html

The point is not to suggest such a horrid scenario, but rather to call attention to Williams' sisters showing opponents that their most vulnerable spot --- their Achilles Heal --- is when fans behave in ways perceived as racist. Best to keep vulnerabilities hidden from the opposition.

Lucemferre
Mar 21st, 2009, 07:02 PM
Remember when skater Nancy Kerrigan was knee-capped by Tonya Harding's boyfriend to eliminate the competition? Well, what's to keep the Williams sisters' opponents or rabid fans from planting lots of people to call out racial slurs at every tournament --- which V. and S. of course would then boycott --- and thus effectively eliminate them as competitors from every tourney.

Not knee-capping and not illegal, but it'd be an act of horrible sportsmanship that would have the same effect. In the highly competitive sports world, not out of the realm of possibility.

Apparently, their opponents do like the Williams' boycott of Indian Wells, see excerpt below from FoxSports:But for other players, having the powerhouse pair out of the frame is just fine.

"It does create opportunities, them not being here," said No.11 Victoria Azarenka, already the winner of two titles in 2009.

"You have to feel confident against every opponent but it does make the draw a little more open and there are some more chances for players to make a run."

http://www.foxsports.com.au/story/0,8659,25219336-23210,00.html

The point is not to suggest such a horrid scenario, but rather to call attention to Williams' sisters showing opponents that their most vulnerable spot --- their Achilles Heal --- is when fans behave in ways perceived as racist. Best to keep vulnerabilities hidden from the opposition.

Remember the heckler incident in Miami? Serena still won the title :devil:

bobbynorwich
Mar 21st, 2009, 07:07 PM
Remember the heckler incident in Miami? Serena still won the title :devil:

But a loud chorus of racially charged fans, not one heckler, would cause Serena or Venus to boycott that site in future years despite the outcome, in keeping with their stance on IW. Just saying....

kiwifan
Mar 21st, 2009, 07:25 PM
But a loud chorus of racially charged fans, not one heckler, would cause Serena or Venus to boycott that site in future years despite the outcome, in keeping with their stance on IW. Just saying....

More media these days, cell phones taking photos of the people...

...I've found in my lifetime people are much more comfortable acting racist anonymously :p (racist = coward)...

...racists don't get to hide in the crowd like they used to. ;)

Plus, unlike that Indian Wells crowd most Williams Sister crowds will have someone like me in them that will encourage swift punishment to racist hecklers. :angel:

And once again, Serena won Indian Wells and the racist heckler match so racist taunts aren't an achilles heel to the Sisters. :cool:

HRHoliviasmith
Mar 21st, 2009, 07:36 PM
But a loud chorus of racially charged fans, not one heckler, would cause Serena or Venus to boycott that site in future years despite the outcome, in keeping with their stance on IW. Just saying....

ugh. you really want to miss the point don't you? :rolleyes:

a situation like IW 2001 despite your deepest wishes will not happen again.

are you still mad that they didn't boycott on behalf of peer?

HRHoliviasmith
Mar 21st, 2009, 07:41 PM
More media these days, cell phones taking photos of the people...

...I've found in my lifetime people are much more comfortable acting racist anonymously :p (racist = coward)...

...racists don't get to hide in the crowd like they used to. ;)

Plus, unlike that Indian Wells crowd most Williams Sister crowds will have someone like me in them that will encourage swift punishment to racist hecklers. :angel:

And once again, Serena won Indian Wells and the racist heckler match so racist taunts aren't an achilles heel to the Sisters. :cool:

on top of tht,tournament officials will take action. unlike IW.

eugreene2
Mar 21st, 2009, 08:01 PM
Thats the thing ... IW did nothing to quiet the crowd. They were mad @ Williams' sisters too. With the guy in Miami, the tournament had him removed. I always loved Serena's line when she complained.

She said something like, This is not the 60s & as an African-American, I'm not gonna stand for this. :lol: ... Loved it

bobbynorwich
Mar 21st, 2009, 08:19 PM
And once again, Serena won Indian Wells and the racist heckler match so racist taunts aren't an achilles heel to the Sisters. :cool:

That's not the point, it's that if a chorus of opposing fans who yell racial epithets can prevent the Williams sister from ever competing in that tourney, then it is an Achilles heel. That was probably not the intent of the 2001 IW fans, but that's the effect. I don't think it's wise for the Williams sisters to give that leverage to the opposition, better not to show any chink in the armor.

Btw, I'm a fan of Venus, especially given her work to further women's tennis including Dubai.

Noctis
Mar 21st, 2009, 08:31 PM
Next thing you know I'm going to be pregnant by some Martian. It's just not true, and it's kind of hurtful because it's just lies, just scandalous lies. The matches aren't rigged." :spit: :worship:

dreamgoddess099
Mar 22nd, 2009, 07:26 AM
That's not the point, it's that if a chorus of opposing fans who yell racial epithets can prevent the Williams sister from ever competing in that tourney, then it is an Achilles heel. That was probably not the intent of the 2001 IW fans, but that's the effect. I don't think it's wise for the Williams sisters to give that leverage to the opposition, better not to show any chink in the armor.


What? Are you seriously trying to say someone may be desperate enough to organize something like having a bunch of people hurl racial epithets at Venus and Serena just so they don't have to play them, but somehow to you that shows weakness on the sisters part? There is nothing weak or cowardly about wanting an equal playing field. Now if you want to know what true weakness is, it's having an advantage by not having to worry about any racial epithets being hurled at you and still needing to take extra measures to win like organizing racial stunts.

Pureracket
Mar 22nd, 2009, 12:12 PM
Why do people always say Venus pulled out of the tournament 30 minutes before the match? Truth is, she was there hours before the match. She already knew she would withdraw. The tournament director and the doctors came in and ran tests. The doctors confirmed that she was injured 30 minutes before the match.

Venus was there to inform them of the withdrawal hours before the match.

eugreene2
Mar 22nd, 2009, 12:18 PM
Why do people always say Venus pulled out of the tournament 30 minutes before the match? Truth is, she was there hours before the match. She already knew she would withdraw. The tournament director and the doctors came in and ran tests. The doctors confirmed that she was injured 30 minutes before the match.

Venus was there to inform them of the withdrawal hours before the match.

That wouldn't generate enough hype or ratings ... One article said she informed them FOUR minutes before the match was to start :lol:

Media want to create the hype

Galsen
Mar 22nd, 2009, 12:19 PM
Next thing you know I'm going to be pregnant by some Martian.
:eek::spit::spit::spit: