View Full Version : VENUS/SERENA - When The Best Is Considered Bad

Sep 7th, 2002, 05:58 PM
By Roland S. Martin

"I don't like sore losers. In fact, I can't stand 'em. If you got your butt whipped, don't offer excuses and complain about issues that have nothing to do with you being slapped silly.

Such anger came to mind when I read the comments from two tennis players who happened to run into the juggernaut known as Venus and Serena Williams.

The two sisters are the top two-ranked players on the women's tennis circuit. Not only are they winning Grand Slam after Grand Slam, but they are overpowering the game with their sheer power, talent and their big, beautiful smiles.

But that isn't good enough for their competitors, who have never liked the brash black babes since they joined the tour.

Just a few years ago Venus and Serena were derided for not playing enough tournaments. Folks said they were injured too often; their dad was nuts for saying they would be ranked number one and number two in the world; and for refusing to play nicety with some of the spoiled brats on the tour. Well guess what? They are playing more regularly; are ranked number one and two in the world; and continue to stay in their own world and not get caught up in the small-minded games of their competitors.

Hence the ho-hum reaction from Venus when sixth-seeded Justine Henin, after being drop kicked by Venus 6-3, 6-2 in a rematch of last year's Wimbledon final, remarked: "That's good for them," Henin said of an all-Williams final. "But I think that maybe the crowd likes also to see the other players in different Grand Slam finals."

Then came Amelie Mauresmo, who was a speed bump in Serena's 6-2, 6-1 win. She said: "It's a little bit sad for women's tennis, but maybe it's not the point of view for everybody. People are going to get bored about it. It was already the final at the French Open. I can't count how many people since yesterday told me, 'We don't want Williams final.' You know, some people think like this. Some people think it's good. Everyone has a different opinion."

Utterly amazing. Fans want to see other players play in the Grand Slam finals? Last I checked, the paying public wants to see the world's finest athletes play in the final. Have you ever heard someone say that they wanted to see the first and sixth-ranked NFL team play in the Super Bowl? How about the number one and number eight seed in the NBA Finals? I think we might as well go to a round robin in baseball and have the New York Yankees play four different National League teams in the World Series - at the same time. That may make for an interesting view from the audience.

If I was interviewing either of Henin or Mauresmo, I probably would have banged them over the head with my notepad for saying something so dumb.

What their comments suggest, especially when thrown in with all of the crap over whether or not the Williams' pre-determine who wins matches involving the both of them, stems from pure hatred over their rise to the top of the tennis world. They've got the big serves, the big endorsements, are winning all the big titles and are the talk of the world. Little black girls all over America are captivated by their play, just as they were when they saw Zina Garrison play in the Wimbledon final in 1990.

The hatred is also directed at their father, who, despite media claims, is not an infamous tennis father. He has raised them properly, they don't hate his guts (unlike other tennis stars like Mary Pierce; her father was banned from some tournaments) and they love him and their mother dearly for raising them.

So much of this is envy, but it also has to do with race. It must rub the Henins and Mauresmos raw to see them do all they can on the court and still not do any damage to those little black girls who grew up playing on the public courts of Compton, Calif.

But we've seen this before. Just look at Tiger Woods. Now some are saying he's winning too often and isn't sharing. Now the world's best are supposed to share. This isn't a commune. This is the world of sports where the world's best show they are the best by winning. If you want to compete, raise ya game!

Serena and Venus, keep blowing away your adversaries. And the next time one of them questions an all-Williams final, just slam a tennis ball down their throat with one of those bomb-like serves."

Roland S. Martin is editor of BlackAmericaWeb.com and news editor of Savoy Magazine. He can be reached at rolandm@blackamericaweb.com.

Now that's what I'm talking about! :)

Sep 7th, 2002, 06:11 PM
I LOVE this article!
I think most of the player backlash is pure envy, spiced with a dash of bigotry and enhanced by their poor play from lack of dedication and lazyness.

Sep 7th, 2002, 06:25 PM
Good article, Choco. The discussion just carries on! I think women's tennis is just another visible stage for it.

Sep 7th, 2002, 08:08 PM
Thanx. I thought the article was appropo for the angst that many people are feeling towards Venus and Serena.