SERENA WILLIAMS is poised to bank a staggering £50MILLION after winning her first Wimbledon singles crown.
The new champion, who beat sister Venus in the final, will today be named World No1 in the Sanex WTA rankings.
That double success immediately triggers bonuses with kit company Puma and racket sponsors Wilson.
But it is the future which looks increasingly golden for the younger Williams, seeded second this year.
Her deal with Puma is up for renewal and rivals Nike — who back golf ace Tiger Woods to the tune of £75m — are keen to sign her up.
But the bidding war will have to match Venus' £8m-a-year agreement with Reebok and is likely to run for five years.
Whoever wins, Serena, 20, is on the threshold of becoming the biggest woman earner in sport.
She and No1 seed Venus, 22, also have contracts with Wrigleys gum, Avon and Nortel Networks.
Yet the new first lady of SW19 insists she does not think about the cash windfall heading her way.
But she did admit: "I'm definitely worth a lot of money. I'm really exciting, I smile a lot, I win a lot and I'm really sexy.
"I like Puma a lot, they're a great company but I just play tennis to play. I'm not necessarily playing for huge money — but I do deserve it.
"I'm just out there to enjoy myself and normally when you have fun and do well, things come."
HARD LUCK, SIS ... Serena consoles Venus
Last year dad Richard watched as Venus took the title for the second time in a row. This time it was mum Oracene who sat on Centre Court to see the ninth battle between her two amazing daughters.
For once the pair put on a show worthy of the name, Serena emerging the 7-6 6-3 winner and nailing suggestions their matches are fixed.
She took the French Open title last month — and this triumph means she has lost just four matches in the past year.
But she insisted: "I can't become satisfied because if I do then I'll relax. Now I feel really good. I'm part of the club and this is going to be my main hang-out!"
Older sis Venus said: "It's great to see Serena doing well because, for a while, she wasn't doing her best.
"But the way she is playing now, it's going to be very difficult for anyone to compete against her.
"It's no fun losing, no matter who you lose to. But it's not something I'm going to get used to or try to adjust to. I'm not one for losing often. I'm going to go out there and try to win the very next time."
Proud mum now plans to head off to Africa. The Williams family back dozens of inner-city education schemes in the US and are all devout Jehovah's Witnesses.
Oracene, a familiar figure with her orange hair, said: "I want to put Africa on the tennis map — and raise the profile of African women.
The Williams women hope a WTA tournament will one day be held in Africa. Oracene added: "I think the girls will go out there and help change people's lives."
"From what I hear, there are quite a few people who feel better about themselves — thanks to what Venus and Serena have achieved."
And here's our £40,000 Julie
PULLIN ... free kit
BRITISH No1 Julie Pullin is on the baseline when it comes to her tennis earnings.
While Serena Williams hits the jackpot, Pullin has picked up just £40,000 in prize money this year.
That goes with the £220,000 she has earned since turning professional nine years ago.
Serena, 20, has racked up £1.5million this year alone to take her total to £7m — and she is only beginning.
Leicestershire-based Pullin, 26, also receives free kit from Wilson and Asics.
Jul 8th, 2002, 10:28 PM
I'm definitely worth a lot of money. I'm really exciting, I smile a lot, I win a lot and I'm really sexy.
LOL You go girl :cool:
Jul 8th, 2002, 10:50 PM
LOL @ Serena. Give em hell baby girl...
ROFLMFAO @ 40,000 pound Julie...
Jul 8th, 2002, 10:54 PM
LOL GO Serena......
Jul 8th, 2002, 10:54 PM
Hey don't laugh, everyone should be proud of the money they make, no matter how small, because they workded hard for it.
Jul 8th, 2002, 10:57 PM
God knows I am not laughing at the money. Is just that they called her forty pound Julie...LOL...
Australia's is the one grand slam summit yet to be climbed by either or both the Williams sisters, but that should not take long. "Look out in January," Pam Shriver warned after Saturday's Wimbledon final.
"If they stay committed and they take care of their bodies, they can do this for another 10 years," agreed her BBC commentary partner Martina Navratilova. "If they want to."
Three of the past four grand slam finals have been family affairs, and Serena has claimed the past two titles, thus becoming just the 10th woman to complete the difficult clay-grass double at Roland Garros and the All England Club.
The odd major out has been the Australian Open, which Serena missed this year because of an ankle injury, while Venus lost in the quarter-finals. Neither has passed the semi-final stage in seven combined visits to Melbourne Park.
Yet their global domination is now entering a new phase. In the absence of fellow slugger Lindsay Davenport, more so than the fading Martina Hingis, there seems no player capable of challenging a string of performances that - providing the Williamses interest and intensity do not wane - is now verging on the dynastical.
Jennifer Capriati, the only other major winner in the past two years, is showing signs of mental strain after her fairytale comeback year.
Kim Clijsters' body is doing likewise after her breakthrough 2001 season, and despite Justine Henin's efforts to bulk up, the talented Belgian mouse only sometimes roars.
Amelie Maureso was destroyed by Serena in their semi-final here, just when it seemed she was on the verge of something better, and as much as Daniela Hantuchova confirmed her player-of-the-future status, it is sobering to think that Hantuchova is little more than a year younger than the junior Williams, whose next slam will be her fourth.
Serena is now the No.1 player, and not just officially. She has built a 51-4 win-loss record since losing in the Wimbledon semis to Capriati 12months ago, and her seven titles include two of the four biggies.
She has overcome her inferiority complex against her big sister, and now beaten her on grass, succeeding Venus as Wimbledon champion without dropping a set.
All year, Serena has been hungry, driven. She was sick of playing second fiddle; tired of Venus as star. The family extrovert curbed her socialising, and these are her rewards.
"Times were low a year ago. But, you know it's high tide now," she said, twinkling from under her tiara. "I'm mentally a different person; I'm stronger. I seem to have more experience under my belt.
"I don't know what the main turnaround point was - maybe last year at Wimbledon when I lost. It was a tough loss, it really was. Just sometimes I wonder whether I hadn't have lost, would things be different?
"In the beginning of the year, I said 'you know, I don't care what happens this year, I want to win Wimbledon', and it was just an extra bonus for me to win the French.
"Sure, I really wanted to win the French. I mean, I just couldn't even believe I won. But I just wanted Wimbledon. I wanted to become a member of so much prestige, so much history. I want to be a part of history."
Now she is also a club member, having overcome a fit of nerves when serving for the championship in what veteran Williams watchers describe as the best of the sisters' nine matches so far.
There were less than half the unforced errors of Paris, and the first set in particular, after a period of settling in, was highly competitive, as the game's two best athletes ran down and smacked back balls that few of their peers could even have reached.
After failing to serve out the first set, and having to take it in a tiebreak, Serena said she was able to snap herself out of a short period of self-satisfaction with the warning that she would have to tell her grandchildren all about missing her Wimbledon opportunity.
Then, on the brink of victory, when appearing to be breathing so deeply that she might hyperventilate, Serena said she calmed herself by thinking about the regrets she would have 20 years hence.
The victor was no doubt helped by a shoulder injury that restricted Venus on serve, but which the deposed champion and No.1 refused to use as an excuse.
And, more than gracious, the vanquished was also helpful to the end, taking a moment before the presentation to advise Serena on royal etiquette when accepting the Venus Rosewater Plate from Princess Alexandra.
"Well, no one told me the first year that you have to curtsy, so I was running around like a fool," Venus explained. "I made it a point to tell her that you have to curtsy." The tip was appreciated, Serena acknowledging with a smile that "older sister is always the wisest".
But older sister is also behind younger sister for the first time, while still with one major title in hand. Venus vowed to return - "that's what I'm here for, to be on top, not trying to linger around at No.2".
But she conceded that with Serena in this mood "for anyone to compete against her, it's going to be very difficult. Really she was just tremendous today".
Certainly, as hard and as accurately as Venus kept hitting was at least as hard and as accurately as the ball kept coming back. Two exceptional power players crunching groundstrokes back and forth for 78minutes is not the kind of tennis that may be to everyone's taste, and nor is the fact that the Williamses are so far ahead of the pack a cause for universal celebration.
Yet theirs is a story that remains remarkable with each re-telling, and so it was again on Saturday.
"When I first walked out there, I was just thinking I wanted to win, but I was thinking also that my dad always said that one day we'll be playing in the finals of Wimbledon, in the finals of the US Open, the big ones, and here we were 10, 15 years later," Serena said.
"It's really amazing if you think about it because ... it's hard to get one champion, but now he has two. And this is unbelievable, really."
So it is. Only Australia is left to be conquered. Look out in January.
Jul 9th, 2002, 12:32 AM
July 7, 2002 Talk about it E-mail story Print
It's Serena Standing Tall
Wimbledon: She defeats Venus, 7-6 (4), 6-3, in final as sisters showcase potential of their budding rivalry.
By LISA DILLMAN, TIMES STAFF WRITER
WIMBLEDON, England -- Graduation Day didn't come at the raucous U.S. Open, the refined French Open or even the egalitarian Australian Open. It came off at the stuffiest tennis cathedral of all, Wimbledon. And the Duke of Kent and Princess Alexandra might as well have been handing out diplomas, or in this case, shiny hardware.
Venus Williams, 22, and her sister Serena Williams, 20, have passed almost every test, real or imagined, in a relatively short span of time. Perhaps the most difficult question was asked and answered Saturday in the women's final at Wimbledon: Was it possible for them to play a competitive match against one another?
Yes ... finally. It took nine matches for two sisters who grew up in Compton to get it done and mute the criticism about their dominance being a negative for women's tennis.
Second-seeded Serena defeated No. 1 and two-time defending champion Venus, 7-6 (4), 6-3, in 1 hour 17 minutes, handing her older sister her first loss in 21 matches at Wimbledon. Though Venus leads their series, 5-4, the last three matches have been won by Serena, all in straight sets.
This was Serena's third Grand Slam title--trailing Venus by one--and she became the first female player since Steffi Graf in 1996 to win the French Open and Wimbledon in the same year. Venus and Serena have played each other in three Grand Slam finals in the last 10 months, with Serena winning twice.
"In the beginning of the year, I said, 'I don't care what happens this year. I want to win Wimbledon,' " Serena said. "And it was an extra bonus for me to win the French. Sure, I really wanted to win the French. I just couldn't even believe I won.
"But I just wanted Wimbledon. I wanted to become a member, of so much prestige, so much history. I want to be part of history."
This match footage probably isn't immediately bound for ESPN Classic. But it was compelling theater, particularly in the first set, and it reached a superior level in the tiebreaker. The shot-making and power was sometimes astounding, and there was legitimate emotion from both sisters.
"We really wanted to win Wimbledon," Serena said. "It brought out the best in both of us."
Venus dropped her head after missing shots and appeared on the verge of tears after losing. Serena angrily bounced her racket after getting broken at 5-4 when she served for the first set. On break point, she hit a 105-mph serve and the return came rocketing back, and Serena netted a backhand. Her racket promptly hit the grass.
When Venus hit a forehand return into the net on Serena's first match point, Serena dropped her racket in joy but didn't celebrate excessively after sharing a hug with Venus at the net. She blew kisses to the crowd and motioned to a ball boy to retrieve the racket.
Of the two, Serena is more visibly emotional, and Venus appears to internalize her disappointment. In the last game, serving at 5-3, Serena was taking big breaths, calming herself, and waiting to exhale.
In the previous set, Venus had scrambled and survived to pull herself back after Serena served for it at 5-4, winning eight points in a row to take a 6-5 lead.
Serena held to reach the tiebreaker, which featured some of the best points of the match. Serena hit a 112-mph service winner, a backhand passing shot down the line, moving forward on the dead run, and a 100-mph ace on her second set point. For her part, Venus put down a difficult overhead and later drew a cry of despair from Serena when she smacked a backhand cross-court passing shot.
"Really, she was just tremendous today," Venus said. "I think that it wasn't a lot between us. But just on some of those points, she was getting some that I couldn't get."
Venus looked devastated afterward. She had one ace and six double-faults, and the average speed of her first serve was 100 mph, well below last year's standard. The six double-faults were the most she had in any match here this year. She was troubled by a sore shoulder and arm, but refused to offer it as an excuse.
Serena knew her older sister was hurting.
"Especially in the second set today I noticed it," Serena said of the slower serve. "If I'm a competitor, I'm going to have to notice it. Unfortunately, it's a war out here. If there's a weakness, someone's going to have to be attacked."
The attitude was a contrast to the Serena of 2001. Last year, she lost in the quarterfinals here to Jennifer Capriati and seemed to be the weakest strongest-looking woman, joking that she was a hypochondriac. Now, a year later, not only have Venus and Serena distanced themselves from the rest of the players on the tour, Serena has opened up a sizable gap on her older sister.
"I don't think I was going for it as much as Serena," Venus said. "But I don't play the same game as she plays. For her, it's all or nothing."
Said Serena, who has not lost in 19 matches: "I'm happy. I'm part of the [All England] club.... Yeah, this is going to be my main hang-out, don't you know?"
As it turns out, her clothing and shoe contract with Puma is due to expire at the end of the year. She was asked if she was worth "major bank."
"Well, I definitely am," she said. "I'm really exciting. I smile a lot. I win a lot, and I'm really sexy."
Still, the older sister had one more lesson for the younger one on this commencement day. It was important too. Venus had a chat with Serena on the court about protocol.
"Well, no one told me that first year that you have to curtsy," Venus said. "So I was just running around like a fool.
"I made it a point to tell her that you have to curtsy. I said, 'Did you know?' She said, 'No.' 'Well, you have to curtsy.' "
Sisterhood, after all, has its benefits.
Jul 9th, 2002, 12:40 AM
Because the economy is in the toilet, Serena won't get as much as Venus but she will get a raise.
If Nike really wants Serena, they will offer her 5 years 45 million. I don't think Puma has that type of cash. (Tiger Woods and Serena in the same commercial....hmmm)
Jul 9th, 2002, 10:17 AM
Oh no... don't get tricked by Nike... :eek:
But whatever, Serena is so rich... maybe she can send some to me... ;) :D
Jul 9th, 2002, 01:10 PM
I love that second article and totally agree with Oracene about having a tennis tournament in Africa and raising the profile of African women.
I also like this quote: "I like Puma a lot, they're a great company but I just play tennis to play. I'm not necessarily playing for huge money".
Stay with Puma, Serena! :D
Jul 9th, 2002, 01:33 PM
What is wrong with Nike? Personally, I think Serena will go with whatever company signs her.
Jul 9th, 2002, 02:47 PM
Serena should go with the company that offers her the most money and that supports her causes.
Heck, I wish my parents would've raised me to be a tennis champion. LOL