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tennisIlove09
Apr 13th, 2003, 08:21 PM
Even now, Serena is underrated
By GENE SAPAKOFF
April 13 2003
The Post and Courier

Serena Williams' mother didn't call a news conference to complain. She didn't drop a soap box, climb aboard and shout.

She was simply responding to a question with the refreshing honesty that runs in the family.

"Considering what Serena has accomplished in the last 15 months," I asked, "aren't you surprised she doesn't have more endorsement deals?"

Oracene Price didn't hesitate.

"She would have more if she was a guy," said the proud woman who is mother, coach and confidant to the two most dominant tennis players in the world.

Serena has deals with McDonald's, Doublemint gum, Close-up toothpaste, Puma and Wilson, among other major companies.

Still, she is underrated and underexposed on the national sports scene. She should have more endorsements. She should lead "SportsCenter" more often.

If she were dominating baseball, golf, football, NASCAR, basketball, hockey or men's tennis the way she is ruling women's tennis -- how can you argue? -- she would be on TV more often than "Seinfeld" and "Friends" combined.

At 21, Williams extended her 2003 start to 21-0 on Saturday with a 6-1, 7-5 victory over Lindsay Davenport in the Family Circle Cup semifinals to set up a championship match today with Justine Henin-Hardenne.

EVERYTHING YOU WANT

She has won the last four Grand Slam singles titles, a "Serena Slam." Only her older sister Venus poses a serious threat to her lofty perch.

This week in Charleston is an abridged version of what makes Williams everything you want in the marquee draw for a popular sport. She has been mostly overwhelming on the court and charming between matches. She signs autographs. She does charity work. She speaks her mind.

"I'm really exciting," she said last year, nailing the key to her appeal. "I smile a lot, I win a lot and I'm really sexy."

She was asked this week what Charleston tennis fans can do to get Venus Williams to play with her in the Family Circle Cup.

"Pray," Serena said.

'NEVER SATISFIED'

Ashley Harkleroad on Saturday was asked what it will take for her to defeat Williams.

"Probably for me to grow about five more inches and put on about 100 more pounds to hit the ball a little bit harder," said the 17-year-old American who surprised her way into the Family Circle Cup semifinals. "No, I don't know. I mean, she's playing really well right now and she's unstoppable."

Note that this is far from Williams' favorite surface. Her power game is better suited for hardcourts or the lawn at Wimbledon than clay.

But she won on red clay at the 2002 French Open.

And how about her adjustments this week to her only appearance of the year on green clay?

"I'm never satisfied," Williams said Saturday. "I'm pretty much insatiable."

That's what separates No. 1 from all the others.

irma
Apr 13th, 2003, 08:26 PM
but then that has nothing to do with serena being underrated. it's this men's world that discriminates us :p

Jarrett
Apr 13th, 2003, 08:33 PM
Uh, which man in all of men's tennis has more sponsors than Serena?

irma
Apr 13th, 2003, 08:36 PM
andre probably.

I hear constantly about new deals!

King Lindsay
Apr 13th, 2003, 08:54 PM
andre, sampras, Lleyton maybe ... roddick now .... probably a few...

Serena, so modest. ;)