What was the hype like for the Williams Sisters at age 14/15? - TennisForum.com
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post #1 of 35 (permalink) Old Oct 8th, 2019, 04:55 PM Thread Starter
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What was the hype like for the Williams Sisters at age 14/15?

Were they seen as 100% can't miss prospects at that age? What was the media attention outside America like towards them in places like Europe and Australia?

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post #2 of 35 (permalink) Old Oct 8th, 2019, 05:03 PM
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Re: What was the hype like for the Williams Sisters at age 14/15?

i heared the first time about the Williams Sisters in a German Sport Tabloid, and i guess it was 1994.
there was a report about them and Hingis as the future stars of Womens Tennis.


I guess you cant compare the times back then with Gauff, cause the Internet and then Social Media changed a lot.

back then Hypes been smaller and more local, now you go worldwide in a instant
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post #3 of 35 (permalink) Old Oct 8th, 2019, 05:06 PM
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Re: What was the hype like for the Williams Sisters at age 14/15?

Hingis won 3 majors at age 16. Capriati was a star at 14. Seles won 8 majors as a TEENAGER!!! Then was knifed in the back at age 19. It was a different era.
If you read Sharapova's book, she knew who the Williams sisters were and hid to watch them practice when they went to Nick Bollettieri Academy for some hitting

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post #4 of 35 (permalink) Old Oct 8th, 2019, 05:11 PM
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Re: What was the hype like for the Williams Sisters at age 14/15?

They never even played the junior circuit or any events....and were known enough to be granted wildcards in professional events at 14/15....so YES, the hype was real. Venus got a direct MAIN DRAW WC for her first event (having zero prior competitive experience ) and Serena's was directly into the Indian Wells qualifying.

Pretty rare case.
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post #5 of 35 (permalink) Old Oct 8th, 2019, 05:16 PM
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Re: What was the hype like for the Williams Sisters at age 14/15?

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Originally Posted by goldenlox View Post
Hingis won 3 majors at age 16. Capriati was a star at 14.
were they under the age restriction rules that GAUFF is under now

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post #6 of 35 (permalink) Old Oct 8th, 2019, 05:16 PM
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Re: What was the hype like for the Williams Sisters at age 14/15?

Venus was absolutely seen as a 100% can't-miss prospect, along with Kournikova, when she started playing full time in 1997.

The hype was entirely created by the mainstream tennis media and was heavily based around her mystique - very few people had actually seen her play until 1997, because she hadn't played juniors. And there was no mass access to the few matches she'd played or even video clips. All fans had to go on was the word of the press (who of course had access to coaches and insiders, and Richard of course provided quotes for days).

It made for some tension in 1997 when Venus was given star treatment before really posting big results until the US Open. She was put on Eastbourne Centre Court as a qualifier ahead of Iva Majoli, who'd just won RG, for example. Weirdly enough by the time the USO came around, they actually opted for a slumping Chanda Rubin to inaugurate the brand new Ashe stadium (Rubin of course lost badly to Tanasugarn) instead of Venus.

It was also interesting to see how under-hyped Mirjana Lucic was by comparison, even though her first results were even more phenomenal - the media didn't seem as interested in a Croatian girl without as many media connections who didn't look like Kournikova. They weren't that interested when her life went off the rails, either.

Serena really came up in Venus's shadow. She was always mentioned, but Venus was the focus for the whole year. And when Serena started playing full time, she was honestly so good so quickly that there was no time to hype her before her results did the talking.

Another thing, though: they never demanded any rules to be bent for them and they never came across as entitled to WCs. Venus actually turned down a WC into Eastbourne that year because she felt it would be better for her game to go through qualies.
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post #7 of 35 (permalink) Old Oct 8th, 2019, 05:19 PM
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Re: What was the hype like for the Williams Sisters at age 14/15?

I was reading in polish newspaper about Venus when she played ASV in Oakland. She was well known when she was 14.

When she played against Sawamatsu at RG she played on Lenglen Court so everyone knows she was big deal.
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post #8 of 35 (permalink) Old Oct 8th, 2019, 05:28 PM
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Re: What was the hype like for the Williams Sisters at age 14/15?

Hype didn't existed back then, at least not to the levels seen today with social media.

I thought it was more about Richard Williams. He had an unorthodox training regimen, didn't want to overexpose his daughters playing junior tennis, then there's the "coming from Compton" persona, and against all odds. Also, their rapid climb up the WTA rankings raised interest to their story.
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post #9 of 35 (permalink) Old Oct 8th, 2019, 05:29 PM
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Re: What was the hype like for the Williams Sisters at age 14/15?

Quote:
Originally Posted by SAISAI-GOAT View Post
were they under the age restriction rules that GAUFF is under now
it started because Capriati didnt become the superstar they were hyping her to be and was arrested. I think the rule was there for Kournikova and Hingis
It was a wild time where 15, 16 year olds were millionaires and global businesses by themselves.
I know Kournikova wanted to play more. She made the Wimbledon semi final at 16 and 1 month, 2nd youngest ever to Capriati

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Last edited by goldenlox; Oct 8th, 2019 at 05:47 PM.
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post #10 of 35 (permalink) Old Oct 8th, 2019, 05:30 PM
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Re: What was the hype like for the Williams Sisters at age 14/15?

The internet was dial-up,
There was war in the Balkans which occupied most news stories,
Social media was non-existent
Cable TV was only for the haves not the have nots,
We only cared about football, cricket, rugby and Frankie Fredericks but...
I can only remember hearing about Hingis when she was 14/15 and only around 1999 about the Williams sisters on radio sports news.
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post #11 of 35 (permalink) Old Oct 8th, 2019, 05:36 PM
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Re: What was the hype like for the Williams Sisters at age 14/15?

The hype was insane around the Williams sisters (which has proven to be for good reason). They were a huge story every time they played. They were sisters, had so much raw power, were so fast. When you add to that the "rags to riches" storyline and their father who said something outlandish at every given opportunity, it was must see tv.

Keep in mind though that combined, they won 1 singles major as teenagers. They had extremely lucrative sponsorships, hype, and media attention long before they became proven champions. People selectively forget that.
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post #12 of 35 (permalink) Old Oct 8th, 2019, 05:39 PM
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Re: What was the hype like for the Williams Sisters at age 14/15?

Quote:
Originally Posted by goldenlox View Post
it started because Capriati didnt become the superstar they were hyping her to be and was arrested. I think the rule was there for Kournikova and Hingis
It was a wild time where 15, 16 year olds were millionaires and global businesses by themselves.
I know Kournikova wanted to play more. She made the Wimbledon final at 16 and 1 month, 2nd youngest ever to Capriati
Hingis and Venus started playing before AER came in. Not that Venus played more tournaments than she would have been allowed in any case.

Kournikova, Serena and Lucic all came up under AER and yes, Kournikova was the one who complained about it.
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post #13 of 35 (permalink) Old Oct 8th, 2019, 05:50 PM
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Re: What was the hype like for the Williams Sisters at age 14/15?

Serena was never hyped — she had to fully win that 1999 maiden slam in order to come out of her sister's shadow once and for all.


Only Richard insisted the whole time that the younger one was the better player — everyone else focused on Venus and universally dismissed his oracle as empty bragging by a loudmouth tennis dad
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post #14 of 35 (permalink) Old Oct 8th, 2019, 05:50 PM
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Re: What was the hype like for the Williams Sisters at age 14/15?

Yeah I was in college when I first heard of them. It was in the mid 90s. I have not witnessed the same hype for any other players to be honest. There was some noise about Roger Federer too, if I recall in the late 90s, but nothing like the Williams sisters. It was well deserved. I mean, look at what they've done 20 years later. Amazing really.
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post #15 of 35 (permalink) Old Oct 8th, 2019, 05:58 PM
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Re: What was the hype like for the Williams Sisters at age 14/15?

Quote:
Originally Posted by faboozadoo15 View Post
The hype was insane around the Williams sisters (which has proven to be for good reason). They were a huge story every time they played. They were sisters, had so much raw power, were so fast. When you add to that the "rags to riches" storyline and their father who said something outlandish at every given opportunity, it was must see tv.

Keep in mind though that combined, they won 1 singles major as teenagers. They had extremely lucrative sponsorships, hype, and media attention long before they became proven champions. People selectively forget that.
True. Richard did say a lot of outlandish things that made people question his sanity. Things like, Venus and Serena will be 1 and 2 in the world someday; or Venus and Serena will be playing each other in Slam finals; or Serena will be better that Venus.

Everybody had a good laugh at that wacko.

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