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GogoGirl
Jul 9th, 2002, 09:51 PM
http://www.trnonline.com/stories/07082002/sports/32758.shtml




L O C A L S P O R T S N E WS

Mon, July 8, 2002

Venus, Serena changing women's tennis Bigger, Stronger, Faster.

Like it or not, women's tennis has been transformed - or more appropriately, it has evolved. In an almost Darwinian "survival of the fittest" kind of way, the landscape of the women's game has been changed by one word - Williams.

Similar to Michael Jordan's ascendancy in the NBA or Tiger Woods' out-and-out dominance of the PGA Tour, Venus and Serena Williams have changed all the rules, altered everyone's expectations and set themselves apart from the rest of the field. The stats make it obvious: A Williams has won seven of the last 12 Grand Slam titles. They've met in a Grand Slam final three times in the space of a year.

What's even scarier is that at only 22 and 20 years old, respectively, their competition seems to be fading. Martina Hingis is a long way from 1997 when she held up a bead that fell from Venus' hair in triumph and tossed it into a crowd of reporters after winning the Lipton Championships. Having fallen victim to her own hubris, Hingis lost her competitive edge against the Williamses two years ago (long before the injury that has her sidelined at the moment).

Jennifer Capriati, who made an inspiring comeback last year to resurrect her career, is tarnishing her image by complaining in the press about the way Venus and Serena play. Monica Seles and Lindsay Davenport have been forced to re-think their whole approach to the game based on the Williams-effect, which has also vaulted the women's game over the men's.

The Sampragassian era is nearing its end, and with newer players who are so new that not many know who they are, a return to prominence may be a long while off. It's blatantly obvious even to the casual observer that the days of the lithe, overtly feminine tennis player have come to an abrupt end, thanks to Venus' rangy athleticism and Serena's pure power.

The question of whether any of this is good for the game is bound to surface very soon and the answer is obvious. Yes. Change is inevitable and positive change is always good. What's even better is that in this case it's easy to understand. Think of it this way: If you had a time machine and could bring an athlete from the 1950s to the present and put them on any playing field today, what chance would they have against today's athlete? Practically none.

Times change, people change, games change - all over the course of time. Get used to it.

GogoGirl
Jul 9th, 2002, 09:55 PM
http://sport.guardian.co.uk/tennis/wimbledon2002/story/0,12160,751212,00.html




Sublime Serena celebrates the crucial difference

Sisters they may be but this final was a tale of two personalities, says Richard Williams , and the younger one's hunger was the key

Monday July 8, 2002
The Guardian

One is a fireball, the other a constellation. Just because they come from the same gene pool and shared an upbringing in life and tennis, and because they both use power and speed to vanquish their opponents, Venus and Serena Williams are often referred to as if they were one person, more or less. Saturday's Wimbledon final showed such a view to be absurd and insulting.
Serena, the younger, won the women's singles title by 7-6, 6-3 mostly because she needed it more and because her sister could not serve at full power.

At 20, Serena now has three grand slam victories to put against Venus's four. She had not won at Wimbledon and, as she put it afterwards, she wanted "to become a member of so much prestige, so much history".

Long, long ago their father predicted that Serena would turn out to be the better player of the two. But after winning the US Open in 1999 and becoming the first of them to win a major, she fell back. "For a while she wasn't doing her best," Venus said on Saturday evening. "Now I think she has to feel better that she has taken full advantage of her career."

To keep her mind on the job, Serena spent the change-over time reading notes she had prepared for herself. "Hit in front of you," one instructed. "Stay low," another said. While her play was not devoid of unforced errors, she won because she distilled more of her talent into her performance on the day.

"I can't become satisfied," she said, reflecting on her triumph, "because if I get satisfied I'll be, like, 'Oh, I've won Wimbledon, I've won the US Open, now I can relax.' But people are really going to be fighting to beat me now."

At the moment, Serena's existence outside her family is defined by tennis and on Saturday she was unsparing in her self-criticism. One set and 2-1 up, she won the first two points of the next game against Venus's serve but then left a chink of light that let her sister back in.

"I got a little lackadaisical, a little too satisfied, and I hit a couple of ridiculous shots," she said. "Then I said to myself, 'You're going to be telling your grandkids about this one day, how you didn't take your opportunity.' So that's what I decided, to go ahead and take my opportunity."

Such concentration has never been among Venus's primary characteristics. From the moment she first arrived in England, six years ago, it has been apparent that her interests extend far beyond the perimeter lines of a tennis court. In that she has inherited something of her father's visionary nature.

In those early days someone asked her what she would like to be when tennis was over. Oh, she said, an archaeologist, perhaps. Or maybe an architect. It didn't take long to form the impression that either discipline might easily fall within her intellectual compass. And she was only starting with the As.

She has a mind that ranges wide and free, even within the restricted scope of a post-match press conference. It is not hard to guess that she will be the first of the two to stop playing professional tennis, and will move on to the next phase of her life unhindered by regrets. If she has grandchildren, there will be much else besides tennis to tell them about.

"I don't play the same game Serena plays," Venus said. "For her, it's all or nothing. For me, it's not this."

But they are different in less obvious ways. Take the question of the players' chairs. Serena, a lover of order, makes sure that hers is facing into the court. On Saturday it was facing the baseline, so she turned it around. When she plays doubles with Venus, she does the same with both their chairs. Venus isn't bothered. She takes it as it comes. On Saturday she left her chair facing the baseline, so that during the change-overs the two sisters were at 90 degrees to each other.

In life, however, they are seldom to be found facing in different directions. In an era when commercial and competitive pressures tend to distort even the sunniest nature, the fact they they have grown up together and grown into tennis champions with so little visible stress and difficulty is something close to a miracle.

Apart from Serena's hunger for victory, Venus's aching shoulder defined the match. She refused to use it as an excuse afterwards, but it prevented her from producing anything like her normal speed of service. Most of her deliveries failed to break 100mph. "Unfortunately it's like war out there," Serena observed. "If there's a weakness, somebody's going to have to be attacked. So, unfortunately, it was too bad."

The sisters both smiled and accepted the crowd's applause at the end of the match, but later on Venus's distress at the loss of her championship was plain to see. "It's no fun losing, no matter who you lose to," she said. "It's not something that I'm going to get used to or try to adjust to because I'm not one for losing often. I still feel that I'm in a dominant position, but it's almost impossible to win every match. I aspire to do so, but it doesn't always happen."

A few days ago on BBC radio, Christine Truman agreed with the remark of Tony Adamson, her fellow commentator, that what the sisters present to the public is "a freak show". Some freak show that was on centre court on Saturday afternoon. The final was a real tennis match, a display of strengths and weaknesses, in which fluctuations of form and fortune gradually gave way to a coherent narrative and a justified outcome. Beginning in a grey haze and ending in radiant sunshine, it developed enough edge and tension to dispel the widespread fear that these two women are incapable of facing each other without a script.

As sister confronted sister the emotions on court were certainly on a different plane from those encountered in most finals. But they were authentic enough. Affection and compassion were present, along with the more customary desire to win and hatred of losing, and neither the winner nor the loser behaved as though her world had been suddenly turned upside down. For spectators trained to expect more extreme reactions, this takes some getting used to. Not for them, though. Sisters they were, and sisters they remain.

midora
Jul 9th, 2002, 10:23 PM
Of all of Martina' many unforgiveable sins, the bead incident was the most unforgiveable. Where I come from that would have warranted a good old fashioned ghetto beatdown. :) ;)

Pureracket
Jul 9th, 2002, 10:33 PM
Unlike the what the journalist thinks, I don't think that it is obvious that Serena is going to be the first one to give up tennis. She is always saying that she wants to leave her mark on the game. Obviously, Venus enjoys the sport and winning, but she seems to be able to let go when it's time to let go.

nysaga
Jul 9th, 2002, 10:40 PM
U have to remember that Martina was only 16 or 17 back then. Venus has made some stupid actions at that age too. Remember her rediculous dancing after her wins. She would dance her way to the net to shake her opponents' hands showing no respect to them.

GogoGirl
Jul 9th, 2002, 10:46 PM
http://www.iht.com/articles/63931.html


A Williams comes into her own


Christopher Clarey International Herald Tribune Tuesday, July 9, 2002
Serena no longer just the younger sister of Venus

LONDON Serena is the Williams sister who wins. She won the French Open final in Paris in straight sets, just as she won the Wimbledon final here against Venus, her older sibling, on Saturday.
.
As of now, Serena, not Venus, is the world's No. 1 player, and while she still trails her older sister four-to-five in head-to-head matches and three-to-four in Grand Slam singles titles, Serena is the power player now setting the agenda for women's tennis.
.
"Normally when you set your goals, you set them above what you can reach," Serena Williams said in an interview with a small group of reporters after her Wimbledon victory. "You reach for the sky and land on a star. That's how I normally do it. But I set them way up there and got it."
.
It has for a long time been difficult to separate the Williamses, who despite their differences in physique seem so stylistically similar and emotionally crosswired that they could be twins.
.
But on this European tour, Serena looked more motivated, more ferocious and more self-assured than the taller, quieter Venus: serving more effectively in both finals and striking her go-for-the-jugular groundstrokes and returns with more conviction and consistency.
.
"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. For me, it's not this."
.
The differences are not just confined to the tennis court. The sisters still share the same South Florida mansion; the same interest in fashion (both design some of their own clothes); and the same occasionally edgy sense of entitlement that was drummed into them by their think-big father, Richard. Serena still copies Venus's good ideas, like saving plenty of money or reading a note full of tennis reminders on changeovers during matches. But at age 20, Serena's personality is becoming more clearly defined.
.
"I used to think I was Venus," she said. "I thought I liked things she liked. I realized I don't like tomatoes. I don't like mushrooms. I had to realize I was different kind of person. I think this kind of helped. From little things like that to bigger things, I realize I'm a totally different person than she is."
.
She is clearly more effusive and aggressive than the 22-year-old Venus. And while Venus's tennis clothes have veered toward classic after briefly bordering on the raunchy, Serena's remain more colorful and flamboyant: from hot pink last year to this year's French Open tribute to the Cameroonian World Cup soccer team. On court, Serena is also the one generating the most volume with her on-again, off-again grunting during matches. The more you frequent the sisters, the more you think the older one should probably have been named Serena instead.
.
The real Serena can also act cockier and more self-obsessed, too. It is hard to block out the image of her using the trophy for a mirror during the mixed doubles awards ceremony at the 1999 Australian Open. Pete Sampras, long the sisters' tennis role model, walked past her at last year's U.S. Open and commented on her new, blonde hairstyle. Serena muttered a quick response and walked on.
.
"Man," Sampras is reported to have said. "Arrogant."
.
With journalists, she can be dismissive or disarming, sometimes in the same interview. Depending on her mood or her most recent score, she can be warm and funny or snide and condescending.
.
Consider a verbatim example from a recent conversation: "Venus is actually more loquacious, which is more talkative," she said. "But I'm more outgoing. It's kind of hard to describe. I won't talk. I'm very, very, very, extremely shy. Venus will talk but won't go places, if you can decipher the difference."
.
It is not always easy to decipher Serena's meaning. She can ramble; she can scramble concepts and conclusions. But according to her mother, she is clearly coming into her own.
.
"I saw her becoming a more distinct personality about two years ago," said Oracene Williams, who accompanied her daughters in Paris and London while her estranged and truly loquacious husband, Richard, remained in Florida. "At first, she was just emulating Venus. Now, she's totally different. She's more outgoing."
.
That comparison seems more decipherable, and it is no coincidence then that Serena seems to travel with more cell phones than a commuter train full of bankers. "She didn't want to go to Tokyo because her phone didn't work there," said Oracene.
.
But her freedom of movement has been curtailed by a recent development. A German man has been detained twice in the last three months for allegedly stalking Serena, most recently last week at Wimbledon, where he was questioned at a local police station and released. The man's arrest at the Italian Open in May for standing too close to a court where Serena was playing prompted the family to hire an Italian bodyguard, who was by Serena's side throughout Wimbledon, even in apparently secure areas.
.
"We like to live our lives," she said. "I'm definitely worried about people, but justÖ"
.
With that she paused, and a reporter tried to fill in the blank by saying, "You wouldn't want to change what you are."
.
"No," Serena said. "We're not going to change who we are."
.
She can be affecting, even charming, particularly when she wins, and she has been doing little else in the last 10 months. Since her loss to Venus in last year's U.S. Open final, she has a 39-3 record, and one of those exceedingly rare defeats came because she sprained her ankle mid-match in Sydney in January.
.
That injury caused her to miss the year's first Grand Slam event, the Australian Open, and solidified her reputation as a physically imposing accident waiting to happen. But since playing and winning a tournament in Scottsdale, Arizona, in late February despite feeling ill, she has been imposing and accident free.
.
"The tournament in Scottsdale was a big 'up' for my confidence," she said. "Normally I pull out of it every year because I get the flu, and this time I knew it was coming, so I was taking all these medicines. So I wasn't as strong as I normally would be, and I couldn't run long, and for me to win under those circumstances, I said to myself, 'Serena, you're a real champ, so you need to go ahead and make it happen.'"
.
It has been happening ever since. "I think a lot of my injuries were mental injuries," she said. "I had chances here at Wimbledon and at the French in other years. I just changed, I think I grew up a little bit."
.
She has slimmed down a bit, too, with the help of a personal trainer, Kerrie Brooks, who also works with Venus. Serena is lighter and fitter than at the end of last season, when she won the tour championships in Munich after nearly a two-month break.
.
Yet for all her effort, she is still no lightweight, and to watch her overwhelm many of her opponents is to begin wondering whether it's time for women's tennis to adopt different divisions, ŗ la boxing.
.
"I feel that definitely we have raised the power level in the game," said Venus, who at 6-foot-1 (1.86-meter) is four inches (10 centimeters) taller than her sister but not as muscular.
.
For now Serena's sound and fury are the standard, but Serena expects a reaction from Venus, and while Serena improved by practicing regularly with the world's No. 1 player, Venus now has the same opportunity as of Monday.
.
"Well, that's what I'm here for, to be top," Venus said. "Not trying to linger around at No. 2, but I've done my personal best this year. I don't think I could do more."
.
There is still the U.S. Open, and it will be intriguing to see whether Serena remains ravenous for more titles after so many satisfying meals on this continent.
.
It will also be intriguing to see how long she can keep beating up on her sister and soul mate without letting some guilt or remorse creep into her big game.
.
She still does not leave herself much margin for error, but then that is part of her appeal.
.
As a result, she is now in a position to significantly increase her earning power.
.
Serena, whose clothing contract with Puma expires this season, will be renegotiating and could approach or surpass her sister's total of $40 million with Reebok over five years, the most lucrative in history for a female athlete.
.
Analysts estimate she could earn between $6 million to $10 million a year in endorsements, which could be more than the $8.3 million she has won in prize money in her entire career thus far.
.
Asked in a news conference after her victory if her expiring contract was an incentive to "show the world and next shoe company" that she was worth it, she answered: "Well, I definitely am. I'm really exciting. I smile a lot. I win a lot, and I'm really sexy."
.
Later in a less floodlit setting, she said: "I just play tennis to play; I'm not necessarily playing for huge money. I do deserve it, but I'm just out here to enjoy myself and normally when you have fun and do well, things come." < < Back to Start of Article Serena no longer just the younger sister of Venus

LONDON Serena is the Williams sister who wins. She won the French Open final in Paris in straight sets, just as she won the Wimbledon final here against Venus, her older sibling, on Saturday.
.
As of now, Serena, not Venus, is the world's No. 1 player, and while she still trails her older sister four-to-five in head-to-head matches and three-to-four in Grand Slam singles titles, Serena is the power player now setting the agenda for women's tennis.
.
"Normally when you set your goals, you set them above what you can reach," Serena Williams said in an interview with a small group of reporters after her Wimbledon victory. "You reach for the sky and land on a star. That's how I normally do it. But I set them way up there and got it."
.
It has for a long time been difficult to separate the Williamses, who despite their differences in physique seem so stylistically similar and emotionally crosswired that they could be twins.
.
But on this European tour, Serena looked more motivated, more ferocious and more self-assured than the taller, quieter Venus: serving more effectively in both finals and striking her go-for-the-jugular groundstrokes and returns with more conviction and consistency.
.
"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. For me, it's not this."
.
The differences are not just confined to the tennis court. The sisters still share the same South Florida mansion; the same interest in fashion (both design some of their own clothes); and the same occasionally edgy sense of entitlement that was drummed into them by their think-big father, Richard. Serena still copies Venus's good ideas, like saving plenty of money or reading a note full of tennis reminders on changeovers during matches. But at age 20, Serena's personality is becoming more clearly defined.
.
"I used to think I was Venus," she said. "I thought I liked things she liked. I realized I don't like tomatoes. I don't like mushrooms. I had to realize I was different kind of person. I think this kind of helped. From little things like that to bigger things, I realize I'm a totally different person than she is."
.
She is clearly more effusive and aggressive than the 22-year-old Venus. And while Venus's tennis clothes have veered toward classic after briefly bordering on the raunchy, Serena's remain more colorful and flamboyant: from hot pink last year to this year's French Open tribute to the Cameroonian World Cup soccer team. On court, Serena is also the one generating the most volume with her on-again, off-again grunting during matches. The more you frequent the sisters, the more you think the older one should probably have been named Serena instead.
.
The real Serena can also act cockier and more self-obsessed, too. It is hard to block out the image of her using the trophy for a mirror during the mixed doubles awards ceremony at the 1999 Australian Open. Pete Sampras, long the sisters' tennis role model, walked past her at last year's U.S. Open and commented on her new, blonde hairstyle. Serena muttered a quick response and walked on.
.
"Man," Sampras is reported to have said. "Arrogant."
.
With journalists, she can be dismissive or disarming, sometimes in the same interview. Depending on her mood or her most recent score, she can be warm and funny or snide and condescending.
.
Consider a verbatim example from a recent conversation: "Venus is actually more loquacious, which is more talkative," she said. "But I'm more outgoing. It's kind of hard to describe. I won't talk. I'm very, very, very, extremely shy. Venus will talk but won't go places, if you can decipher the difference."
.
It is not always easy to decipher Serena's meaning. She can ramble; she can scramble concepts and conclusions. But according to her mother, she is clearly coming into her own.
.
"I saw her becoming a more distinct personality about two years ago," said Oracene Williams, who accompanied her daughters in Paris and London while her estranged and truly loquacious husband, Richard, remained in Florida. "At first, she was just emulating Venus. Now, she's totally different. She's more outgoing."
.
That comparison seems more decipherable, and it is no coincidence then that Serena seems to travel with more cell phones than a commuter train full of bankers. "She didn't want to go to Tokyo because her phone didn't work there," said Oracene.
.
But her freedom of movement has been curtailed by a recent development. A German man has been detained twice in the last three months for allegedly stalking Serena, most recently last week at Wimbledon, where he was questioned at a local police station and released. The man's arrest at the Italian Open in May for standing too close to a court where Serena was playing prompted the family to hire an Italian bodyguard, who was by Serena's side throughout Wimbledon, even in apparently secure areas.
.
"We like to live our lives," she said. "I'm definitely worried about people, but justÖ"
.
With that she paused, and a reporter tried to fill in the blank by saying, "You wouldn't want to change what you are."
.
"No," Serena said. "We're not going to change who we are."
.
She can be affecting, even charming, particularly when she wins, and she has been doing little else in the last 10 months. Since her loss to Venus in last year's U.S. Open final, she has a 39-3 record, and one of those exceedingly rare defeats came because she sprained her ankle mid-match in Sydney in January.
.
That injury caused her to miss the year's first Grand Slam event, the Australian Open, and solidified her reputation as a physically imposing accident waiting to happen. But since playing and winning a tournament in Scottsdale, Arizona, in late February despite feeling ill, she has been imposing and accident free.
.
"The tournament in Scottsdale was a big 'up' for my confidence," she said. "Normally I pull out of it every year because I get the flu, and this time I knew it was coming, so I was taking all these medicines. So I wasn't as strong as I normally would be, and I couldn't run long, and for me to win under those circumstances, I said to myself, 'Serena, you're a real champ, so you need to go ahead and make it happen.'"
.
It has been happening ever since. "I think a lot of my injuries were mental injuries," she said. "I had chances here at Wimbledon and at the French in other years. I just changed, I think I grew up a little bit."
.
She has slimmed down a bit, too, with the help of a personal trainer, Kerrie Brooks, who also works with Venus. Serena is lighter and fitter than at the end of last season, when she won the tour championships in Munich after nearly a two-month break.
.
Yet for all her effort, she is still no lightweight, and to watch her overwhelm many of her opponents is to begin wondering whether it's time for women's tennis to adopt different divisions, ŗ la boxing.
.
"I feel that definitely we have raised the power level in the game," said Venus, who at 6-foot-1 (1.86-meter) is four inches (10 centimeters) taller than her sister but not as muscular.
.
For now Serena's sound and fury are the standard, but Serena expects a reaction from Venus, and while Serena improved by practicing regularly with the world's No. 1 player, Venus now has the same opportunity as of Monday.
.
"Well, that's what I'm here for, to be top," Venus said. "Not trying to linger around at No. 2, but I've done my personal best this year. I don't think I could do more."
.
There is still the U.S. Open, and it will be intriguing to see whether Serena remains ravenous for more titles after so many satisfying meals on this continent.
.
It will also be intriguing to see how long she can keep beating up on her sister and soul mate without letting some guilt or remorse creep into her big game.
.
She still does not leave herself much margin for error, but then that is part of her appeal.
.
As a result, she is now in a position to significantly increase her earning power.
.
Serena, whose clothing contract with Puma expires this season, will be renegotiating and could approach or surpass her sister's total of $40 million with Reebok over five years, the most lucrative in history for a female athlete.
.
.
Analysts estimate she could earn between $6 million to $10 million a year in endorsements, which could be more than the $8.3 million she has won in prize money in her entire career thus far.
.
Asked in a news conference after her victory if her expiring contract was an incentive to "show the world and next shoe company" that she was worth it, she answered: "Well, I definitely am. I'm really exciting. I smile a lot. I win a lot, and I'm really sexy."
.
Later in a less floodlit setting, she said: "I just play tennis to play; I'm not necessarily playing for huge money. I do deserve it, but I'm just out here to enjoy myself and normally when you have fun and do well, things come."

Volcana
Jul 9th, 2002, 10:50 PM
"If there's a weakness, somebody's going to have to be attacked."

Words to live by for the rest of the tour.

Volcana
Jul 9th, 2002, 10:54 PM
I think Stephen C. Smith Sr. (author of 1st article) and I have different definitions of 'overtly feminine'. The thing I kind of wish VEnus and Serena would tone down is being so overtly feminine. It's like everything they do says 'I'm a girl.' THey are obviously, but in most sports, the players don't wear hoop earrings. Venus does look great in them, but I found them distracting when I tried it. The banging against my neck was something I couldn't block out.

Oh well, she does look good in them.

Volcana
Jul 9th, 2002, 11:07 PM
nysaga - I really miss her dancing. Everyone has to grow up I suppose, but it was so joyful and affected. She been nothing but posistive ever since she's been on tour. In spite of a lot of negative reaction she couldn't control. One of the best things about Venus is she really is a safe role model for kids, cause every single thing she's done has been with grace and class.

You don't have to worry about nasty insults, or drugs, or scandals with Venus, but you get beauty, class, brains, and one hell of a tennis player. Hence the titles, hence the trophies, hence the 40 - 50 million dollars in endorsements. And growing.

You can't name one single time EVER that Venus said a negative thing about another player.

She's living proof that if you work hard and follow your dreams, you might just succeed, no matter how humble or dangerous the circumstances you start from. And yes, I'm aware Nike got the WIlliamses out of Compton long before Venus was on tour, but she DID start there.

Getting rid of the stereotype that you have to be rich to succeed in tennis will only increase participation in the sport.

Venus and Serena Williams are the face of the WTA now.

Wow. I really enjoyed writing that.

Venus and Serena Williams are the face of the WTA now.

Yeah. That felt gooooooood.....

eshell
Jul 10th, 2002, 04:03 PM
Those articles and your insights are appreciated. Thanks for sharing them in GM.

Cybelle Darkholme
Jul 10th, 2002, 04:36 PM
Thats why I adore Venus and Serena so much. They dont stoop to the name calling and insult throwing like other players. They dont take pot shots, they say no comment or they say good things.

quite frankly venus and serena are not arrogant and they never have been. The word is confident. Of course if youre an envious person you would label that arrogant.

:rolleyes:

They are the best role models this side of kim and monica.

GogoGirl
Jul 10th, 2002, 05:14 PM
You go Julie. You have been shutting them down right & left haven't you? And of course, this is after you've made some really good points.

One last comment if I may - concerning some of the backbiting that is going on by some players.

By some players claiming the Sisters' matches are boring - I would add this. One of the reasons, it bothered me to hear such things is that by their saying these things, leads me to believe that they do not feel as if the Sisters deserve to be ranked number one and two in the world.

We all know that if the Sisters were not closely ranked - they would more than likely meet before the finals if they were on the same side of the draw. I take issue w/this philosophy - because the authors of these statements are near bout saying that the Sisters do not deserve their present ranking. Because to knock them for playing in the finals is to knock them for reaching the level of play that they have worked hard all of their lives to achieve.

To make statements like that does not change a thing - so what would they have TPTB do - take away their hard earned ranking? The Sisters did not get to the top by sitting out of tourneys or pulling out at the last minute. They signed up - showed up - and commenced to get their rears in gear - put in the time and practice - and beat their opponents fair and square.

Hopefully, this is the last time I comment on such grumbling because defending the Sisters' rankings and achievements over and over is not worth my valuable time any longer.

The bottom line is: The Sisters deserve their rankings - and there is no question that they are the two to beat. A few years ago - Martina & Lindsay were the two to beat - and down the line - there will be two others. I neva heard the Sisters whine about Martina & Lindsay when the aforementioned were kicking their asterisks.

I mean - NO ONE gets to numbers one & two in this league if they didn't earn it. So when folks whine and complain about it - what can be construed of it is - they are really saying they wish the Sisters were not numbers one & two. Now how does that sound? It sounds as if some players would feel very happy if the Sisters would quit tennis now - rather than later, because they have pawed - clawed their way to the top. Makes little to no sense.

And one of the main lessons learned here is this: Knock them out in the earlier rounds and they will not keep making it to the finals - and therein their rankings will come down. Otherwise, they deserve to be ranked where they are.

One of the biggest fears it seems to me is this: If the Sisters keep rolling like they are rolling - then w/i a year or so - they will have such a lead in the ranking totals until the discouragement will be felt by many and for many years to come. In other words - the Sisters may begin to build such a lead ova all the rest until - the rest of the field could neva catch up to them as long as the Sisters are active players on the tour.

I am of the school of thought which believes that no one player can win all the time. Even Steffi & Monica lost every once in a while.

Btw - I like that fact that Lindsay is acknowledging the Sisters accomplishments. But - I don't think for one minute she thinks she could neva beat them again. She has too many weapons to let anyone roll over her every time they meet. Lindsay has too much going for her to lament the fact that she feels she can't beat the Fabulous duo. She has faith in her game and she too can play fabulously.

Volcana
Jul 10th, 2002, 05:58 PM
GogoGirl - The various embittered comments lead me to beleive that some players are giving up even THINKING about competing with Venus and Serena. They're quitting before they even start. That's what's bad for the tour. Players have to have courage enough to compete everytime. Anna and Chanda didn't fold up their tents when V&S laid that 2nd set bagel on them, they kept competing.

Youcan't win if you don't even try. (Well, you can, but it doesn't happen often, and it usually requires several pints during a rain delay.)

GogoGirl
Jul 10th, 2002, 11:16 PM
Volcana - I hear ya. They are adapting a defeatist attitude for no good reason and before the war is really ova. The Sisters may be winning battles now - but it doesn't mean - they will win the whole war. Besides w/most of the establishment is always looking for the divisive edge - so is it no wonder it seems it's the really the Sisters against the rest of the WTA? Most of this world is sooooooooo divisive. It's the democrats against the rebublicans. It's the men against the women, and the black against white - and gays against straight - and so on and so forth.

Reasons like the above are not good for the game of tennis or life - IMO.

Some players seem to be giving up before the fat lady sings. They must realize that the Sisters are beatable - and I think - they know they are when you really get down to it. Making such statements weakens the state of their own minds - and underminds their belief in themselves. They must believe they'll win every time they step on the court.

Let me tell ya. On any given day - any player can have a bad day. Said player could be pre - during and post PS'ing - or they could just be off the mark. Vince Lambardi (football coach) once said - that on any given day a team can be beaten - and I always remembered that. No one is indispendable, nonexpendable and unreplaceable in most areas of life as we know it.





http://www.dawn.com/2002/07/10/spt6.htm



10 July 2002 Wednesday 28 Rabi-us-Saani 1423



Williams sisters brightest stars of tennis


By Omar Kureishi

Richard Williams, the father of Venus and Serena had said, some time ago, that a day would come when his daughters would be in the Wimbledon finals, playing against each other.

He was then seen as a comic figure. He turned out to be a seer. He had also said that Serena would turn out to be the better player and Serena showed that she was and the palm went to one who merited it. It was not a terrific final but it did not matter for the sisters had played terrific tennis in reaching the finals.

Venus is 22 years old and Serena is 20. I understand that there is a younger sister and 'Papa' Williams says that she will be better than Venus and Serena. Who will dare to disbelieve him?

Understandably, the opponents of the two sisters, on the tennis court, that is, are irked by this domination and consider it "boring." Whatever else it may be, it isn't boring. Was Don Bradman boring? Is Tiger Woods? The Williams sisters are the brightest stars in the tennis firmament. It is not for others to carp. It is for them to try and reach the heights that these two have.

Jackie Robinson was the first Afro-American to play in the major baseball leagues. He had to put up with much racial abuse but he had opened the door. The Williams sisters are an inspiration not only for their race but for all sport persons, not born with silver spoons in their mouths. These sisters started from humble public tennis courts and one does not need too rich an imagination to see how stupendous an achievement theirs has been. Worthy finalists? Damn right.

Raj
Jul 10th, 2002, 11:24 PM
MARTINA HINGIS has been described as petulant, but how old was she when all those incidents took place?
15-16?
It must have been hard for her coping with all that fame at such a young age.
For that matter how many 15-16 year olds are not petulant?

GogoGirl
Jul 10th, 2002, 11:25 PM
http://www.philstar.com/philstar/News200207102603.htm




Where and how do you stop describing or depicting the Williams sisters ó Venus and Serena?


Phenomenal is about the best adjective that comes to mind. For indeed they are the most phenomenal pair of women that ever played the courtly, stuffy game of tennis. Serena, the younger at 20, trounced Venus, 22, in what many now describe as the most dazzling, thrilling womenís finals at Wimbledon last Sunday. The score: 7-6 (7-4) 6-3. What makes the Williams sisters the celebrities that they are is that no woman tennis player, past or present, has ever covered the court as they have, with prodigal power and genius.

Not Martina Navratilova or before her Chris Evert. Not Steffi Graf and after her Martina Hingis and Jennifer Capriati. Monica Seles does not even merit a trumpet call.

Because the two were African-Americans, the huffy snobbish sport of tennis hardly gave them a gracious, civilized glance when they stormed into junior tennis about five-six years ago. They were negroes, nigras to be more precise. They were intruders in a game reserved only for pedigreed Caucasians, players high up or at the very least somewhere in the social register. The gameís crowning glory was Wimbledon, starchy as they come, royally sedate, aristocratic English to its very core. It was a white manís sport and a white manís lair until Arthur Ashe and Althea Gibson broke the color barrier at Wimbledon many years ago.

When finally, they climbed to big-time tennis some four years ago, Venus and Serena were just clumsily elbowed out of the social loop. They were laughed at and sneered at. With their hair wrapped up in silly-looking bangles whipping around in the wind like crazy kite tails, they were still not taken very seriously. Their kind would come and go. The white competition would eventually be too much for them ó and so adios.

It was somewhat embarrassing, a whole world of white players being dumped down by the Williams sisters in a sport the white man invented. The last white hope was Martina Hingis whose all-around play drew raves from the critics. She was pretty, rode horseback in her spare time, lived, breathed, dreamed and played tennis. In her hands, the tennis racket resembled an orchestra conductorís baton Leonard Bernstein, maybe?

But tennis had entered the era of power. And power, Serena and Venus had more than anybody else.

To that power, they added height and heft, the bulge of shoulder and arm muscles, speed as a puma has speed, agility, and a concentration that transfixed every player they met on the court. Perhaps it was because they were African-Americans that they tried harder. Perhaps their parents instilled in the sisters a fighting spirit culled from the years blacks in America could not even board public buses. Perhaps, Serena and Venus were really destined from the day they were born to play great and superlative tennis. Their father saw to that, drilling them day after day with a consuming desire to reach the top. The best, not the second best.

At 20, Serena has indeed climbed the heights. She has a total of three major championships, Wimbledon, the US Open and the French Open. For her part Venus has four grandslams. But Serena is narrowing the gap. Five gets you four she will in time surpass Venus. Why? Perhaps she has more court wizardy, a term you use when you canít find a better expression. At Wimbledon Sunday, they played as no two women finalists had ever played before, tennis that fairly crackled like two jungle cats fighting each other to the death.

And they havenít even reached their peak. Like Kobe Bryant in basketball.

Unless illness or serious injury intervenes, or a change of career, I donít see Serena and Venus slipping away or sliding into a long, serious slump. They should still rule for the next four or five years. They were made, crafted and moulded into the sport of tennis. Who can beat them? Their service? The balls race at 100-110 miles per hour, power that only men had before. They scramble like mad at deeply-angled cross-court returns like cheetahs on the run. And whether they volley or play the baseline, they whack that ball with unexampled fury. Except when occasionally downed or weakened by injuries, Serena and Venus are relentless.

Somehow the sisters grow on you. They do. They have learned to use make-up, bundle their hair with more dash and derring-do, wear sleeveless sport dresses that enhance what they have most ó raw, naked, glistening power.

Serena looks like she is the naughtier one, a prancer like a Portuguese horse trained for bullfighting. She is also getting pretty, her wide-open grin disarming as it is devastating. But who knows? I could be wrong. In her own time, Venus might recover lost territory, and teach her younger sister a thing or two about championship tennis. I do not know what the two sisters do off-court, who their boy friends are, how they tidy up their lives or give way to girlish hilarity, or just let their hair down in the company of close or bosom friends.

But once they are on the tennis court before the match starts, they have the unusual jungle snarl before they apply themselves to the grim business of championship tennis. Then at play, they are simply awesome.


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Beige
Jul 11th, 2002, 12:39 PM
Thanks, GG! Love it! :)