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Mar 21st, 2003, 09:10 PM
Williams Sisters Chewing Up Charity Campaign

By Richard Pagliaro

The inside of the Nasdaq-100 Open interview room smelled like the inside of a gum chewer's mouth immediately after a bubble-gum blowing contest. The scent of Wrigley's Doublemint gum greeted Venus Williams as she entered the interview room dressed appropriately for the ocassion in a white t-shirt bearing the Doublemint logo.

Young sister Serena, scheduled to appear alongside of Venus, was unable to attend making the Doublemint conference a singles spot for Venus. The second-ranked Venus announced the launch of the "Feel the Green" auction benefitting the Tom Joyner Foundation, which supports education through scholarships provided to historically black colleges and universities.
"We partnered with Doublemint on this auction because we wanted to raise money for a good cause," Venus said. "Education is one of the most important aspects of my life and the items up for bid provide everyone a chance to collect something special while giving back to education."

The charity auction, which will be conducted March 21st-April 25th on the Doublemint web site will give fans the opportunity to bid on a lesson with Serena ("She's a better teacher — more patient," Venus said when asked why she wasn't offering a lesson), bid on racquets signed by Venus and Serena and bid on clothes worn by the sisters on court.

The charity items up for auction include:
Private tennis lesson with Serena Williams
Tickets to the U.S. Open in New York, donated by the Williams sisters
Specially-designed "Doublemint Feel the Green" Wilson tennis racquet signed by Venus and Serena
The Williams sisters' 2003 Nasdaq-100 Open outfits
Serena's 2003 Wimbledon dress
Venus' 2003 Roland Garros dress
Wilson tennis bags and racquets signed by both sisters.