View Full Version : Venus and Serena: Good and bad for the game

Jan 23rd, 2003, 05:23 PM
Before I start, let me say I'm a fan of V and S, so let's clear that up before I'm called a racist, or a bad Seles fan, etc;

Venus and Serena are great for the good because they brought tennis to a market it had to be brought to: Young African-Americans, or African-Americans in general. The black players of recent years (Zina, Chanda, Lori), were all talented, but spoke well and acted in a proper way so as to not to be controversial. Venus and Serena's brashness, however much some might hate it, made people stand up and take notice. It looked silly when they were #200 in the world, but critics shut up when they began climbing the ranks. Their beauty made them marketable, and their marketability made them likeable to the ghetto thugs as much as the country club trust fund babies. They're good for the game because they are an inspiring story. Growing up in Compton, playing on courts ridden with weeds, no money, etc. They showed anything was possible with hard work and determination. They are also good for the game because they are making history. Imagine two black sisters from the ghetto, who didn't play junior tournaments, who never practiced for particularly long hours, rise to #1 and #2 in the world with such little effort that they can pursue acting and a degree in interior design.

But that's the problem. They've gotten to the top with such seemingly little effort that it's almost embarassing to the rest of the players. The fact they can take 10 months off from doubles and then pick it up again at Wimbledon and win the title speaks poorly for the other teams. The fact that the only way people can beat them is if they play the match of their life and V and S are way off (and even then it goes three sets), looks bad. Sure Martina, Steffi, Monica, Martina H all had periods of domination. But they couldn't reach 4 consecutive slam finals (and potentially win all 4), they couldn't be invincible on the doubles court w/anyone as a partner (Serena winning a Tier II with #200 Alexandra Stevenson). We've never had the #1 and #2 singles players play together and then be the world's best doubles team. It wouldn't be feasible either. Martina and Chris wouldn't be the world's best doubles team. Neither would Hingis and Seles, Graf and Seles, Vicario and Graf, Capriati and Hingis, Davenport and Hingis. It's almost like "give somebody else a chance to win." Their domination will cool down eventually, but they make the rest of the tour seem like a major undercard.

Jan 23rd, 2003, 05:29 PM
The rest of the tour has to work its butt off and improve.

Jan 23rd, 2003, 05:37 PM
its bad b/c its boring. all williams finals were cool like once or twice, but the same thing always happens, serena owns venus, and venus is content being no. 2. its not good for the game if the no. 2 player is just going to let no. 1 stay up there. it is good for the rest b/c other players have to learn how to be able to compete against with them,

Jan 23rd, 2003, 05:43 PM
let me say this, you being a fan of venus and serena doesn't demolish you from being viewd as racists or bad fan, you need to get that right, along w/ the theory of "blackness" im black, and when i question something, my blackness doesn't enure it, everyone needs to start to understand that more.

Jan 23rd, 2003, 05:49 PM
Serena "owns" Venus, until she doesn't. And that could be tomorrow. I recall when Venus "owned" Serena. Nothing lasts forever, so why all the hand wringing about it?

Jan 23rd, 2003, 05:50 PM
Not trying to be funny but in my opinion......I don't know if this is bad or amazing but, you would think the top 10 or at least the top 5 would be more closely matched. I'm remembering how well Mauresmo and Henin played at Wimbledon, and how they lost badly in the semis.

Jan 23rd, 2003, 05:53 PM
Originally posted by Hewitt225
its bad b/c its boring. all williams finals were cool like once or twice, but the same thing always happens, serena owns venus, and venus is content being no. 2. its not good for the game if the no. 2 player is just going to let no. 1 stay up there. it is good for the rest b/c other players have to learn how to be able to compete against with them,

I think so called tennis fans who say crap like this are bad for the game. Has anyone noticed that last fall when Sampras and Agassi played in the USO finals no one said that their matches were boring or that their dominance was bad for the sport of tennis or even when Sampras won his 14 grand slam, no one and I mean NO ONE said that his success or dominance was bad for the game, but rather people rallied and praised him for his skills and accomplishments as a tennis player. Not to mention the fact that Agassi and Sampras have played each other what 30, 40 times. I think people like Hewitt225 are reacting like spoiled, brattly little children who get pissy mad when they lose (or their favorite loses). I call it Sour Grapes and wish for nothing but the best and continued success and Grand Slam titles for the Sisters.:)

Jan 23rd, 2003, 05:56 PM
No one ever critized Sampras's dominance because he reached 2 slam finals a year at most. He did that consistently, but he didn't win almost every event he played, he had his share of first round exits. He was mainly critized for having a boring personality on the court.

And it really does not matter whether Venus owns Serena or Serena owns Venus. They own the rest of the tour. I'm sure Venus would love to be #1 and Serena would love to stay there, but as long as they are winning Grand Slams and staying at 1 and 2, the family wins.

Jan 23rd, 2003, 05:59 PM
But that's the problem. They've gotten to the top with such seemingly little effort that it's almost embarassing to the rest of the players.

Uhh, where were you when Venus was losing heart breaking matches?? Bottom-line , they've both paid their dues--experience is the key here... Nothing lasts forever, so I am gonna sit back and enjoy this run as much as I can :P

P.s. I don't think it's a bad thing:p

Jan 23rd, 2003, 06:28 PM
I disagree on one thing Bradshaw-they work VERY hard-make no mistake there. Serena and Venus may make a lot of their other interests, but they put in 100s of hours into their job. A lot of the greats (Graf, Connolly and Helen Wills come to mind) do the "I don't really practice that much before this slam" tap dance. I'm not buying it for a second.

The other girls need to work harder to catch up or they shouldn't complain. Period.

As for doubles-the sisters have an advantage because they are sisters. It's notoriously hard for singles rivals to team up as doubles partners after facing each other in finals of major events.
This type of pressure broke up Evert-Navratilova and Graf-Sabatini, both teams won slams before the pressure of singles ended the partnerships. Venus and Serena don't face that.

There have been teams who were #1 in doubles while #1 and #2 in singles. Brough-duPont,Bueno-Hard and
Fry/Hart all did it. In every case though they were very close friends-and there were hints of more than friendship in all those cases.

Jan 23rd, 2003, 06:51 PM
I'm a huge Williams fan but even I am questioning whether the novelty of all Williams finals continue to woo new converts to the sport.

The WTA Tour must be happy that two marketable players are doing so well and sad that the other players seem to wilt under the pressure.

Like many of you have stated before, tennis is cyclical. There will be new champions.

I just wonder when the backlash will begin. For the record, I won't attribute the backlash to racism per se. Steffi faced this type of backlash when she dominated and so did other former number 1s (except Chris Evert).

These questions are rhetorical but thanks for letting me share.

Jan 23rd, 2003, 07:05 PM
I guess it's all a matter of how you look at it. How can they be bad for the game? Cliff even asked Mary Jo yesterday if they were bad for the game. As far as I can see, they haven't done anything that all other players would/should strive to do: get to the top and win tourneys, especially the slams.

If some people view their "dominance" as bad for the game, I say they should point the finger at the OTHER players. It seems to me that it's the OTHER players who are bad for the game because they haven't been able to knock them down. EVERY player who is matched against them has a chance to "prevent" the two of them from meeting in the finals. Some have even gotten more chances than others.

It's bad enough for "fans" to say they are bad for the game, but when the players voice that, it's EVEN WORSE! Unlike the fans, the players can actually "do something" about it.

Many have said their matches against each other have been boring. Well, basing things on the play of the last year, how many really think a Kim/Justine final would have been very exciting?

The other players WILL eventually get there, but until they do, don't dump on V & S because they are at the top right now. I actually think there is alot of excitement in waiting to see who will start to step up "consistently" to do the trick. I'm sure there was PLENTY of excitement yesterday.

Jan 23rd, 2003, 07:32 PM

Evert faced a "backlash" too. In EVERY US Open final she played from 1975 to 1982 the crowd was for the other woman. This was true even though Evert was American and Goolagong, Turnbull, and Mandlikova were foreign. Only when Martina came along to become the big bad #1 did Evert regain a lot of popularity.

The sister's will find crowds cheering more for them after they start losing. If I were a fan I'd take the titles and forget the crowds.

Jan 23rd, 2003, 08:30 PM
I agree with you. I'm happy now that they are winning titles and hope that they continue to do so.

Parts of me wonder what happens to the sport in the long run but you guys have answered that for me as well.

Discussions like these cause me to love WTAWorld! :bounce:

Jan 23rd, 2003, 08:41 PM
It's all good. Whenever the bar gets raised, everyone improves. It may take a while, but even their dominance will be dominated by others. That's the way it is. But the level of tennis is going up. How can that be bad?!

Rae Q.
Jan 23rd, 2003, 08:43 PM
Serena and Venus are good for the game all the way because they bring fans and excitement everywhere they play. What's bad for the game is that right now the other girls aren't really giving them a challenge except for Kim. Sorry if that sounds snobby and what not but I just don't like it when they say that Serena and Venus's success is so bad for the game. It's not their fault that the others aren't playing up to their level. Several players could've stopped them in the last year and some tried but it's bad for that game that THEY (not Serena and Venus) didn't have the confidence to beat my fav's.

Jan 23rd, 2003, 08:49 PM
I guess I don't understand - They have raised the bar sooo high. in what other sport would this even be remotely be considered "bad".

I actually think this string of consecutive GS appearances borders on a event of great historical importance. I think that people would be well served to step back and see exactly how far the game has come over the past few years and see who the trailblazers are.

Jan 23rd, 2003, 08:50 PM
their dominance makes most of the rest of the tour look terrible IMO -- with a few significant exceptions of course. and i agree with Rollo -- they work very hard in order to remain on top. altho' i did agree with larrybid yesterday when he said that Venus could roll out of bed in her pajamas and still beat 80% of the tour. it was a funny comment on just how massively they have outdistanced the rest of the field. for instance, i watched Ruano Pascual playing Justine Henin and i found myself cringing at some of the shots she was making. Pascual is not a bad player (i don't mean to pick on her) -- but my standards have been revised as a result of seeing so much of the Sisters. three years ago i would have watched that same Pascual match without complaint. now i am like what the heck is that? you call that tennis?

the Sisters have spoiled us all.

whether the Sister-Sister finals is bad for the tour is a question that has been hashed and re-hashed before. what i think now (and started thinking since LA), is that crowds seem to be staying away from the earlier rounds of tournies in part i believe bec of the anticipation of the Sisters clashing in the final. and since they are the major draw, no-one cares about the lead-up to that as much. so it's not that they are killing the tour but that fans are simply not paying as much attention to the opening acts.

Jan 23rd, 2003, 08:57 PM
just another thought, I do think it is really and truly amazing that Venus williams can play absolutely NO warm up tournaments prior to this GS and get to the final. honestly, that puts her among the world's elite athletes just by being able to do that...

in that respect, both venus and serena are worlds apart from the rest of the tour..their ability to come into tourneys relatively cold and WIN them, is amazing...

Jan 23rd, 2003, 09:02 PM
Could it be that their relative lack of popularity comes from the fact that they are sisters?
From what I read, a lot of people don't seem to differentiate them. They're often referred as "The Sisters" or "The Williams(es?)" so maybe that impression of complete dominance is reinforced by of that... When Sampras and Agassi dominated (though they never ever dominated as much as the sisters) they were completely different for even the non die-hard fans. Everyone liked either one or the other...
Now, it looks like some fans have rightfully twice the fun of seeing their faves win and the others, well... lol

Jan 23rd, 2003, 09:03 PM
i love men's tennis.

your point being...?

Jan 23rd, 2003, 10:27 PM
No doubt, the sisters are good for the game!

No doubt Hingis/Kournikova is the best doubleteam!

Jan 23rd, 2003, 10:41 PM
I think a major part of the problem is that they are sisters and therefore people clump them together instead of seeing them as two diff people.

Because...they truly are two DIFFERENT people.

Jan 23rd, 2003, 10:45 PM
stop clumping them together as the sisters. they are 2 independent champions who are establishing a great rivalry (to be rivals- you dont have to hate each other). What they need now to ignite their rivalry is an epic battle.

Tennis quite often has 2 dominant stars, graf-seles, navratilova-evert. the rest of the tour just have to step up and by the looks of things, clijsters has stepped up. she is now a true rival for the serenas grand slam aspirations.

Jan 23rd, 2003, 10:46 PM
oops BK4ever- i didnt see your above post before i put mine in. obviously we think alike :)

Jan 23rd, 2003, 10:50 PM
First up, I don't think they are bad for the game in any way shape or form. I don't agree they are boring to watch either, but even if they were, if people can't enjoy tennis just because the last match out of a 2 week slam is likely to be an all-Williams affair well that's their problem.

I don't really agree they got to the top with so little effort either. I do seem to recall some years of hard work, bad losses, injuries and lower rankings too.

Jan 23rd, 2003, 10:53 PM
whoever thinks they done it easy. just look at their background (both family and in tennis). look at the way they developed their game as children. and when they rose to the top- their parents were splitting up, yet they still had the mental ability to be the best in the world. they conquered hingis and davenport in that time. they did it tough.

Sam L
Jan 23rd, 2003, 10:54 PM
Originally posted by Rollo
I disagree on one thing Bradshaw-they work VERY hard-make no mistake there. Serena and Venus may make a lot of their other interests, but they put in 100s of hours into their job. A lot of the greats (Graf, Connolly and Helen Wills come to mind) do the "I don't really practice that much before this slam" tap dance. I'm not buying it for a second.

I'll tell you one thing, you're not born with bodies like Venus & Serena. (I wish I was, LOL!) You have to work hard to get that at least. Believe me, playing a limited schedule doesn't mean they don't work hard, at all!

Jan 23rd, 2003, 11:00 PM
Yay! I think I finally got the secret to be invisible because noone seems to notice my posts. ;)

Jan 23rd, 2003, 11:02 PM
good stuff Julien! thats impressive- becoming invisible! ;)

Jan 23rd, 2003, 11:50 PM
I think what I said I worded wrong. I don't mean Venus and Serena sat on their ass and then got up and won Wimbledon. I mean IN COMPARISON to the other players on tour, they have not put in the same amount of on court hours. They have never banged balls from sunup to sundown. They never will either. Richard demanded 100% focus and effort from them when they were out there, but they never played 7 hours a day like the rest of the top 300. I don't think they ever played more than 3 a day, and that wasn't even every day-they had days (and often weeks off) from tennis. Jennifer Capriati would not have gotten to #1 if she played 3 hours a day, and went to school AND college. It has been said to be the best you need to eat, breathe, and sleep tennis. Venus and Serena have proven that is simply not true.

Jan 24th, 2003, 01:21 AM
Nice thread

Jan 24th, 2003, 06:02 AM
win with much less effort than the rest of the tour. The comment about Venus being able to get to the finals with NO warm up tourney is right on.

On the other hand the very fact that they can do what they do should point out the specialness of Venus and Serena.
They make history at every turn, and we will probably never see their like pass this way again.

Each have won two GS in mixed dubs.
They each hold four GS singles titles.
They have the GS in doubles and have won Australia twice. (someone help me but haven't they won Wimby twice?)

Then there is the sister factor: 5 of the last six GS are Sister vs. Sister.
They are 1 and 2 in the world by a LOT!
They have a goodly number of sponsorships NOT including their tennis wear.
Avon, Wrigleys, Mickey D's, Wilson's Suede and Leather.

It's much like Tiger in golf. He is truly special.

And let's not forget the fact that they are African Americans with an "interesting" father who played the press and everybody else like a Stradivarius violin.

So instead of complaining, enjoy the ride. Eventually it will get back to the "norm". :)

Then we'll be rocking in our rocking chairs telling our great grandkids about the legend that is "The Sisters Williams":D

Brian Stewart
Jan 24th, 2003, 06:56 AM
The possibility of the Serena Slam has brought up references in the press to the last time it was done back in 93-94 by Steffi. For those of you who weren't close followers of the tour then, here is a bit of a history lesson.

Steffi and Monica were the top 2 players on the tour in early 93. Then a nutcase took Monica out of action. Steffi proceeded to win the last 3 slams of the year, and the first of 94. Monica was sidelined. Jen had burned out and left the tour. Martina had already announced this was her final year. Gaby hadn't been the same since her collapse against Fernandez at Roland Garros. Jana was a "headcase" who would never win the big one. So it looked like the tour, particularly the slams, would be Steffi's playground for a long time to come. During the Lipton that year, ESPN even used footage of Steffi jogging on the beach as a metaphor for her "running away from the rest of the tour".

But then something happened. The other players stepped up. (They usually do.) Mary won a surprisingly one-sided SF in Paris. An unlucky draw led to a 1st round exit at Wimbledon. Then Arantxa toppled her in New York. Add in an injury that caused her to miss the following OZ, and that meant 4 straight slams without a title for Steffi after winning 4 straight. And a year after saying that no one would challenge Steffi, a lot of the same folks in the media were saying she would never win another slam. (Thereby proving that if conclusion-jumping were an Olympic event, tennis writers would get the Gold, and that the tennis press never tires of making fools of themselves.)

The success of Venus and Serena is a huge positive for the tour. They go beyond tennis, and beyond sports. The WTA enjoyed their huge upsurge of success when they realzed how insignificant the tennis press is, and went around them to market the players to a broader audience. The Sisters bring attention to the tour and its matches. Like other top players before them, some of their matches are close, some aren't. But when you do get a close one, these people that tuned in to see the stars will say, "hey, this other woman can play pretty good, too".

Winning is never bad. Dominance could be, depending how you define it. I think of dominance as someone not only winning all the time, but doing so without being challenged. The Sisters have been challenged repeatedly. And beaten. Even at this event, no one could honestly say they "knew" who would reach the final beforehand. There were realistic expectations that someone, most likely Kim, could beat Serena. There were realistic expectations that someone out of Daniela, Patty, Lindsay, Justine, or Jen could beat Venus. Didn't happen. But it could have. For the press to suggest that Venus and Serena are strolling through without facing a challenge is not only disrespectful to the other players on the tour, but it demeans the accomplishments of the sisters themselves.