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tennisIlove09
Jul 4th, 2009, 03:50 PM
If there had been no Williamses (http://sports.yahoo.com/top/blog/roy_s_johnson/post/If-there-had-been-no-Williamses?urn=top,174578)

By Roy S. Johnson / Roy S. Johnson Blog (http://sports.yahoo.com/top/blog/roy_s_johnson)

http://a323.yahoofs.com/ymg/ept_sports_roy_s_johnson/ept_sports_roy_s_johnson-361108689-1246629624.jpg?ym4L6gBD61_JQAKL
What if Richard Williams had not had the vision? What if he'd been engulfed by the hopelessness surrounding him and his family in Compton, Calif., and had simply given in to it? What if he never had handed his daughters rackets?

Venus and Serena Williams no doubt would have been successful at whatever careers they chose. By now one of them might have been a doctor, an actress or a teacher. The other a designer, entrepreneur or a rising star in some corporation.

Instead, on Saturday, they will face each other for the eighth time in the final of a Grand Slam, including their fourth final at Wimbledon.

More than any of their peers, the Williams sisters have defined the current generation of women's tennis. Since joining the tour in the mid '90s, Venus and Serena have won 89 tournament titles (singles, doubles or mixed doubles). They've won 37 Grand Slam titles, 17 of them in singles.

They're among several women who have held the No. 1 ranking over the last decade, among the likes of Martina Hingis, Justine Henin, Lindsay Davenport, Jelena Jankovic and currently Dinara Safina. There have been Jennifer Capriati, Kim Clijsters, Maria Sharapova, Ana Ivanovic and Amelie Mauresmo.

Yet despite the kind of interest Sharapova and Co. generate, this forever will be defined as the Williams Era. They've outlasted and/or overcome every top challenger, and almost as often as not, a Williams is the last woman standing.

Still, women's tennis has long been conflicted about the Williams sisters, celebrating them one moment, then criticizing, whining or moaning about them the next.
Why don't they concentrate on tennis?
Why don't they play more tournaments?
Why don't they play more Fed Cup?
Why are they trying to be actresses?
Why are they doing their own reality show?
Why are they on the red carpet instead of the practice court?
Why doesn't Richard just sit down?!

But what if they had not come along? What if Richard had bought his girls golf clubs instead, or simply told them to go play basketball?

What if Hingis, a graceful champion, or Davenport, popular and steady at her peak, had been the top players of the era? What if either of them had been the face of this generation?
http://a323.yahoofs.com/ymg/ept_sports_roy_s_johnson/ept_sports_roy_s_johnson-724580620-1246629813.jpg?ym2O6gBDWUiyOW14

Ponder women's tennis in the last decade without the Williams sisters' powerful games, engaging personalities and outsized personas. Think of it without their celebrity, which attracted new fans and kept tennis in the cultural "chat rooms" throughout the year. Think of it without their hairstyles, outfits and jewelry, without their buzz.

Think of it without the up-and-down-and-up dramas of their Big Sis vs. Little Sis encounters.
Think of women's tennis without Richard.
Booooring.

But tennis does have the Williams sisters -- and this weekend, so does Wimbledon.

Women's tennis owes more to Venus and Serena Williams than it ever will acknowledge -- at least not until they're gone.

Too bad.
http://sports.yahoo.com/top/blog/roy_s_johnson/post/If-there-had-been-no-Williamses;_ylt=Aoeiqnzxsb5seVJdynFNtA44v7YF?urn=t op,174578

DemWilliamsGulls
Jul 4th, 2009, 04:19 PM
Tennis woulnd't be where it is now. They raised the bar with power speed and did it in STYLE with fashion. They are ICONS...and the greatest tennis players in the history of the WTA. People will debate that but deep down inside they know that no one has displayed the talent these girls have shown on the court. You've had a few in this generation that have had their moments, but these girls set the standard for todays tennis making Henin, Sharapova, Kuetznetosova, Clijsters Davenport and even unseeded and low ranked players all raise their game to their level to even compete with them. Hey it is what it is....THE WILLIAMS SISTERS HAS AND WILL ALWAYS BE THE MEASURING STICK OF THE WTA!

hingis-seles
Jul 4th, 2009, 04:21 PM
It goes both ways. The reason women's tennis was so popular back in the day was due to Venus and Serena, but not solely because of them. The tennis they produced against each other was far from classic. That was Hingis vs Venus, Serena vs Hingis, Venus vs Davenport, Hingis vs Davenport, Davenport vs Serena. The catfights never involved only Venus and Serena - Hingis picked the fights with them and vice versa.

And ofcourse, the influence of Anna Kournikova can not be ignored, who was arguably the most influential and well-known in pop culture.

Props should be given to all of them: Hingis, Kournikova and the Williams Sisters brought the popularity to women's tennis in the late 90s together. There's a reason why THAT was a golden era and not any years since.

fammmmedspin
Jul 4th, 2009, 04:46 PM
Misses the point. The Williams sisters are important for keeping US fans (or some of them) involved in tennis when Jennifer and to a lesser extent Lindsay could no longer pull them in. They also pulled in fans of their style from other places. They may have produced some great matches but the effect of that may have been nullified by people put off by the style of play, some tepid GS finals and the not the same players and the same winner again factor.
In terms of the game it might have got to where its got to anyway with someone else pushing and its not clear that its got to anywhere viable. Williams power tennis isn't sutainable on tour. The sisters are GS performers. Players geared to GS not surprisingly win more GS. Other players who matched them in GS and tried to sustain the tour ended up wearing out and retiring early or losing hope of winning while they were around. Facing a fresh sister in a GS was probably a major disincentive to keep on trying for some. They set an example of how to play but they created a generation of players who play one dimensionally without consistency or the William's ability to battle on and win anyway.

One can argue that the game would gone this way anyway led by technology and that some tall powerful girl would have pushed it regardless. its far from clear though that if you you took the William's sisters out of the 21st century equation things wold have been worse or better. We might have had more rounded young players, fewer injuries trying to match them, better finals than the dull two set ones we have had for much of this this decade , a real competition for number one and longer careers for Martina, Kim , Justine and Nastya - we might not , and it might have been worse.

bandabou
Jul 4th, 2009, 05:21 PM
And that's the foolish thing that other players did. See, the sisters didn't imitate nobody..they came with their own style. It's never a good thing to imitate, you've to bring your own thing to the table.

So why blame the sisters for other players foolishly trying to imitate them, while it was clear form the beginning..that NOBODY was gonna beat them at their own game? It's like expecting Justin Timberlake to beat Michael Jackson in a moon-walk competition. Not gonna happen.

#1SteffiGraf#1
Jul 4th, 2009, 06:17 PM
there would be FAR LESS jerky, fake, front running fans. :lol:

Timariot
Jul 4th, 2009, 07:12 PM
Well, without Williams sisters, post-Hingis era would have been dominated by the Belgians...I'm hardly a Williams fan, but I'm not sure it would have been an improvment.

Dodoboy.
Jul 4th, 2009, 07:15 PM
OMG that picture!

Serena's belt sort of thing inspired her whole new jewelry collection!!

RenaSlam.
Jul 4th, 2009, 07:16 PM
Women's tennis would be dull as shit.

VS Fan
Jul 4th, 2009, 07:17 PM
If there had been no Williamses....
Lets see... Lindsay would have possibly had 7 or more slam titles instead of 3, Martina might have had 7 or 8 instead of 5, Justine might have had 9 or 10 instead of 7, Kim might have had 3 or 4 instead of 1, Maria might have had 5 or 6 instead of 3..... the list goes on and on.

hingis-seles
Jul 4th, 2009, 07:20 PM
And that's the foolish thing that other players did. See, the sisters didn't imitate nobody..they came with their own style. It's never a good thing to imitate, you've to bring your own thing to the table.

So why blame the sisters for other players foolishly trying to imitate them, while it was clear form the beginning..that NOBODY was gonna beat them at their own game? It's like expecting Justin Timberlake to beat Michael Jackson in a moon-walk competition. Not gonna happen.

Interesting and valid point.

The arms race, in essence, began with Monica Seles and the sisters raised it with their superior athleticism, serves and competency at the net. Just like the Serbians, the Sisters grew up idolizing Monica Seles and the generation of players that followed the Graf/Seles era was focused on more power to combat the standard set by Seles. And so, the players that followed continued in the arms race, trying to outdo the sisters, while maintaining regular Tour schedules. Except, no one could maintain that for a sustained time period, including the sisters. Venus, except for fits and bursts in 3-4 month periods of 2000 and 2001, was never the best player on Tour. Similarly, Serena couldn't sustain her dominance of 2002-2003 and like all those who tried to match her and sister, succumbed to injuries. When Serena returned, she never dominated in that fashion. Even now, with 3 of 4 major titles, her record in regular tour events is abysmal for a player of her calibre.

The sisters set such a precedent with their playing styles, that no one could keep up with it, themselves included. In addition, I'd like to add that it's far easier to pick up an all-court game with a power baseline focus like the sisters employ, than to emulate a player like Martina Hingis.

volta
Jul 4th, 2009, 07:22 PM
OMG that picture!

Serena's belt sort of thing inspired her whole new jewelry collection!!

that's from a MTV award show they did back in 2000 (i think) . i was like :eek: when i saw them on TV :lol: they rpesented an award that pussin timberfake won :(

bandabou
Jul 4th, 2009, 10:08 PM
Interesting and valid point.

The arms race, in essence, began with Monica Seles and the sisters raised it with their superior athleticism, serves and competency at the net. Just like the Serbians, the Sisters grew up idolizing Monica Seles and the generation of players that followed the Graf/Seles era was focused on more power to combat the standard set by Seles. And so, the players that followed continued in the arms race, trying to outdo the sisters, while maintaining regular Tour schedules. Except, no one could maintain that for a sustained time period, including the sisters. Venus, except for fits and bursts in 3-4 month periods of 2000 and 2001, was never the best player on Tour. Similarly, Serena couldn't sustain her dominance of 2002-2003 and like all those who tried to match her and sister, succumbed to injuries. When Serena returned, she never dominated in that fashion. Even now, with 3 of 4 major titles, her record in regular tour events is abysmal for a player of her calibre.

The sisters set such a precedent with their playing styles, that no one could keep up with it, themselves included. In addition, I'd like to add that it's far easier to pick up an all-court game with a power baseline focus like the sisters employ, than to emulate a player like Martina Hingis.

I think the sisters right now are just living for the majors and their legacies.. Serena won almost all the tournaments she WANTED to win..only Miami and RG slipped her.

It might be easier to emulate the WS ganes as you say, but..ATHLETES like they don't come around all that often. Their games is built more around their athleticism than..because they can hit hard, but defend hard hit shots too. Whereas almost all the big babes are poor movers.