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post #1 of 49 (permalink) Old Jun 14th, 2005, 11:58 AM Thread Starter
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Wimbledon 2005

Serena set for Wimbledon

WIMBLEDON, England (AP) - Two-time champion Serena Williams will play at Wimbledon next week after struggling with an ankle strain since May.

Williams, who missed the French Open, will join the top 20-ranked women in the Wimbledon draw. The All England Club's entry list, released Monday, included the last six champions - Serena Williams, Venus Williams, Lindsay Davenport and Maria Sharapova.

Davenport won in 1999, followed by Venus Williams in 2000 and '01 and Serena Williams the next two years. Sharapova is the defending champion.

The seedings will be announced Wednesday, with the draw Thursday.

On the men's side, two-time defending champion Roger Federer was confirmed along with 2002 winner Lleyton Hewitt, last year's finalist Andy Roddick and 1992 champion Andre Agassi.

French Open champion Rafael Nadal, who pulled out of the grass-court Ordina Open in the Netherlands, was also on the list. American James Blake was confirmed as a wild card.

Martina Navratilova was named in the women's doubles, paired with Anna-Lena Groenefeld of Germany. The 48-year-old American, who lost a first round singles match at the Ordina Open on Monday, played singles at last year's Wimbledon, reaching the second round. Navratilova, a nine-time Wimbledon champion, was not listed in the women's singles draw.

Among the men's alternates were Arnaud Clement of France, Gustavo Kuerten of Brazil and Jeff Morrison and Justin Gimelstob of the United States.

The women's alternates included Jelena Dokic, who made Wimbledon history in her debut in 1999 by upsetting No. 1 Martina Hingis in the first round; Hewitt's sister, Jaslyn Hewitt; and Americans Lindsay Lee-Waters, Jamea Jackson, Chanda Rubin, Shikha Uberoi, Carly Gullickson and Alexandra Mueller.

Former French Open champions Carlos Moya and Gaston Gaudio have withdrawn, citing injuries.

American Mardy Fish (wrist) and Argentines Mariano Zabaleta (foot) and Juan Ignacio Chela also pulled out. No reason was given for Chela's withdrawal.

Serbia-Montenegro's Janko Tipsarevic, Spain's Albert Montanes, Sweden's Thomas Enqvist and the Czech Republic's Ivo Minar and Bohdan Ulihrach take their places in the draw. Argentina's Edgardo Massa (shoulder) and Spain's Albert Costa (knee) pulled out earlier.

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post #2 of 49 (permalink) Old Jun 14th, 2005, 11:59 AM Thread Starter
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Wimbledon entries announced




WIMBLEDON, England The winners of the last six women's titles at Wimbledon are all going to play at the All England Club this summer.

Wimbledon's entry list has been released, and it includes two-time champion Serena Williams, who's been battling a sore ankle, Venus Williams, Lindsay Davenport and defending champion Maria Sharapova (shah-rah-POH'-vah).



On the men's side, two-time defending champion Roger Federer (FED'-ur-ur) is confirmed along with 2002 winner Lleyton Hewitt, last year's finalist Andy Roddick and 1992 champion Andre Agassi (AG'-uh-see).



French Open champion Rafael Nadal (rah-fay-ehl nah-DAHL'), who pulled out of a grass court tourney this month, also is on the list.



Martina Navratilova (nah-vrah-tih-LOH'-vah) is on the doubles list but not in the singles draw.



Seedings will be announced Wednesday, with the draw Thursday

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post #3 of 49 (permalink) Old Jun 14th, 2005, 05:35 PM Thread Starter
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Serena, Venus turn to Dad
Leo Schlink
15jun05

SERENA and Venus Williams have turned to a familiar figure in a bid to wrest back the Wimbledon title.

Guided by their mother Oracene at the Australian Open and French Open, the former world champions will arrive in England tomorrow with their controversial father and foundation coach, Richard.

Williams Sr has been a pivotal influence on the amazing siblings, whose influence has waned in the past two seasons despite Serena's striking Australian Open victory in January.

Venus, 25, is no longer the force she was.

She was beaten at the Australian Open by Alicia Molik and suffered her worst French Open loss in six years with a third-round exit last month.

Serena has contested the past three Wimbledon finals, twice defeating Venus before losing heavily to Russian Maria Sharapova last year.

Serena avenged that loss by saving three match points against Sharapova in the Australian Open semi-finals before notching her seventh grand slam singles title.

She injured her shoulder in Dubai in March and missed the French Open because of an ankle injury. As her physical failings mount, there is growing speculation Serena's focus, like Venus's, has dimmed.

She has spent increasing amounts of time building her fashion line, Aneres. She is to feature in a reality show with Venus next month on US TV.

Richard Williams is seen as more nurturing than Oracene. He has not travelled to a major tournament since the US Open last year.

http://www.heraldsun.news.com.au/co...55E3162,00.html

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post #5 of 49 (permalink) Old Jun 15th, 2005, 05:53 PM Thread Starter
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Federer, Davenport are tops seeds for Wimbledon



Wimbledon, England (Sports Network) - World No. 1s Roger Federer and Lindsay Davenport have been installed as the top seeds for Wimbledon 2005, which gets underway Monday at the All England Club.

The two-time defending champion Federer is followed by fellow top-five seeds Andy Roddick, 2002 winner Lleyton Hewitt, French Open champ Rafael Nadal and Australian Open titlist Marat Safin. Federer beat Roddick in last year's marquee Wimbledon finale.

Federer will try to become the first three-peat titlist at Wimbledon since Pete Sampras won four straight from 1997-2000. The mighty Swiss has won his last 29 grass-court matches, including a title in Halle last week when he stopped Safin in the final at the Gerry Weber Open.

The top-seeded Davenport is followed by reigning Wimbledon champion Maria Sharapova, Amelie Mauresmo, two-time winner Serena Williams and U.S. Open champ Svetlana Kuznetsova. Sharapova stunned Williams in last year's finale at the AEC and is 17-0 on grass over the last two years. Williams is the reigning Aussie Open titlist.

The three-time Grand Slam titlist Davenport captured Wimbledon in 1999 and was the 2000 runner-up to Venus Williams. Davenport lost to Serena Williams in January's Australian Open final.

The men's top-10 seeds are rounded out by No. 6 Tim Henman, Guillermo Canas, Nikolay Davydenko, Sebastien Grosjean and Mario Ancic. French Open runner-up Mariano Puerta is seeded 16th at the prestigious grass-court fortnight.

The top-five women are followed by No. 6 Elena Dementieva, French Open champion Justine Henin-Hardenne, Nadia Petrova, Anastasia Myskina and Patty Schnyder. The high-flying Henin-Hardenne has won her last 24 matches, all on clay, and is 27-1 overall this season.

Henin-Hardenne needs Wimbledon to complete a career Golden Slam. She's already won an Aussie Open, two French Opens, a U.S. Open and an Olympic gold medal. French Open runner-up Mary Pierce is seeded 12th, while two-time Wimbledon winner Venus Williams is seeded 14th and four-time Grand Slam runner-up Kim Clijsters is 15th.

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post #6 of 49 (permalink) Old Jun 16th, 2005, 08:20 PM Thread Starter
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AMERICAN ACES BOOST BRITISH GAME

American tennis aces Venus Williams and Andy Roddick served up a financial boost for the British grassroots game in the unfamiliar surroundings of the Tower of London on Thursday.

The "crown jewels" of the game took time out from their Wimbledon preparations to support the American Express Aces Programme which funds tennis development around the world.

"The setting is just awesome," said Roddick, the 2003 US Open champion.

Williams, ladies' champion at Wimbledon in 2000 and 2001, agreed: "I'm thrilled to be part of it."

The £20,000 from the demonstration match between Roddick and Williams and the money raised at this year's Wimbledon - where American Express are donating £50 for every ace served - will go to Tennis for Free, the campaign started by comedian Tony Hawks to provide free courts in British parks, and the Lawn Tennis Association.

It will be used to renovate tennis courts in parks around the country and provide coaching and quipment for communities and schools across Britain.

Williams was more than happy to put something back into British tennis in return for the backing she has had from fans at Wimbledon over the years.

"My Wimbledon is always made by the fantastic crowds, the support is second to none," she said.

"You really get the feeling that the UK puts everything on hold for their two weeks of tennis and I'm thrilled to play a part in helping raise funds for the future of the game over here."

Roddick added: "Today's a great event that brings a slice of SW19 to central London.

"It's a fantastic marriage between a really unique event and a location steeped in history and tradition."

Wimbledon legend Billie Jean King, winner of a record 20 singles and doubles titles at the Championships, who officiated Roddick-Williams, is not ruling out the possibility of Martina Navratilova overtaking her total this year.

Navratilova, also on the 20 mark, is playing in the mixed doubles at Wimbledon and King said: "She might just do it. It's remarkable she's still playing at 48 years of age."

She recalled receiving a £45 gift voucher for her first singles success at Wimbledon back in 1966 and revealed a remarkable gesture from Fred Perry, the last British man to win a Wimbledon singles title.

"I didn't have enough money to get home so Fred Perry gave me £45 for the voucher to help me with my ticket. He wasn't supposed to do that," she said.

King, a pioneer of the women's professional game who collected £750 for her first Wimbledon success in the Open era, added: "We tried to help tennis become professional.

"It's the reason they are making all that money today and we are proud of that."

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post #7 of 49 (permalink) Old Jun 17th, 2005, 11:50 AM Thread Starter
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Wimbledon-Williams sisters want to reassert dominance
Fri Jun 17, 2005 2:07 AM BST


By Clare Lovell

LONDON, June 17 (Reuters) - Until last year the Williams sisters ruled 21st century Wimbledon unopposed, their modern brand of women's power tennis crushing all before them.

The London grand slam's fast grass suited the Americans' uncompromising style. They could serve and volley opponents off the court.

The women's game has caught up since, however, and after Serena's shock defeat by then 17-year-old Russian Maria Sharapova in the 2004 final, a whole raft of upstarts fancy their chances against the sisters.

Venus Williams made her Wimbledon debut in 1997, having just turned 17, and won over the All England Club's traditionalists with her grace and enthusiasm on court, her disarming smile and her innovative choice of sportswear.

Beaded hair flying, the taller and slenderer of the Williams sisters covered the courts in giant steps, looking sharper and more athletic than any player before.

She won the title in 2000 and 2001, beating first Lindsay Davenport and then an emerging Justine Henin in the finals.

She then handed her mantle to Serena, 15 months her junior, losing to her sister in the 2002 and 2003 finals.

While Venus's star faded Serena shone and the younger sibling went on to win seven grand slam titles, the last in Australia in January, eclipsing her sister's four.



WRONG CALL

Venus appeared to have lost some of her hunger and went down in the second round last year to Croatian Karolina Sprem in a controversial match marred by a wrong call from the umpire.

Though a lowly 16th in the rankings now and seeded 14 at next week's championships, Venus has shown sparks of renewed enthusiasm this season, however, beating her sister for the first time in more than three years in Miami in March then winning her first tournament for a year in Istanbul last month.

An insipid 6-3 1-6 6-1 defeat by Bulgarian 15-year-old Sesil Karatancheva at the French Open rather took the shine off that success. "I beat myself," Venus said. "I wanted to keep playing the aggressive game but I just maybe went for too much, basically there were just too many errors."

The sisters have suffered family trauma over the last two years with the murder of an older sister and the break-up of their parents' marriage

They have also suffered injuries. Serena had a long layoff and knee surgery after her Wimbledon triumph in 2003 but looked resurgent this year, with her first grand slam win in 18 months in Melbourne.

She was going well until she twisted her ankle at Amelia Island in April which forced her out of most of the claycourt season including Roland Garros so she is short of match practice.

The pair have stuck to their Wimbledon warm-up routine, however, avoiding competition and practising in peace. Serena said match toughness would not be a problem.

"I've been playing a long time and I know what I need to do to win," she said in a telephone conference on Thursday.

"I'm here. I'm healthy and I'll do the best I can. I feel good and if I'm not ready now then more than likely I'll never be ready."

SAME QUARTER

The sisters are in the same quarter of the draw for the tournament, which starts on Monday, and could face each other in the fourth round.

Serena, seeded four, meets 103rd ranked compatriot Angela Haynes in what should prove a gentle first-round workout.

Venus is up against a qualifier, but her opponent will have the advantage of having earned her grass legs after going several rounds on the lawns in nearby Roehampton.

Venus may be comforted to learn that Sprem is in the other half of the draw.

If all goes to plan Serena will meet last year's nemesis Sharapova, seeded two, in the semi-finals but only if she can overcome French Open champion Henin-Hardenne in the quarter-finals.

The Russian and the Belgian will be anxious to prove that last year was not a blip but signalled an end to the Williams Wimbledon hegemony.

Serena said she had been making some changes to her game, working on aspects she could improve and knuckling down hard. Her aim is a third title.

"It would definitely be awesome," she said. "I see myself doing it."

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post #8 of 49 (permalink) Old Jun 17th, 2005, 03:33 PM Thread Starter
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Venus Rises Again


Friday, 17 June, 2005


Venus Williams has had to learn about life the hard way and after two years spent dealing with family tragedy and injury problems, she is back, but she is not the same. Torn muscles will heal with time, but when your world falls apart the scars still remain.

On a September night in 2003 Venus received the news that her half sister, Yetunde, had been shot and killed in Compton, California. At the time, she was in the middle of a six month injury break with a torn stomach muscle,
but none of that mattered once the phone rang that night.

Venus had been working herself harder than ever on the practice court in order to regain her former dominance on the tour. However, tennis concerns such as persistent injuries and a relatively low ranking position, suddenly seemed irrelevant.

"It definitely gives you perspective," she said. "It also shows that you can't always control your circumstances and you can't always control your future. Although you prepare for one thing, you may get something else. I definitely learned that: now I just let it flow each day."

Even so, the small matter of winning grand slam titles still niggled away at her. She was doing the work but, as another little ache or pain kicked in, she could not get near to the final, much less the trophy.

"I think the most important part for me was almost to forgive myself for not being where I wanted to be and realise that I couldn't control that." she said. "It wasn't necessarily that I hadn't worked hard enough - or I didn't want it more - it was just the fact that I couldn't do it. Being able to realise this was the most important step for me to get better."

This year, though, she has been getting a lot better. Those she has beaten - the list is quite impressive and includes her sister, Serena - are beginning to sit up and take notice. Venus, they reckon, is back to where
she was a couple of years ago. Now all she has to do is string those performances together at a grand slam event and anything can happen.

Not that Williams is going to get carried away. Self confidence has never been a problem for her but, on the other hand, life has proved to her that it is best to take nothing for granted.

"I always had the attitude that I only cared about what I cared about and what the next person thought of me was just not that important," she said. "To face criticism is not very easy, especially in the last year or so, especially when I was not really in the best situation, that's not that much fun. You definitely find out who you're real friends are and who your real fans are."

Venus has a number of non-sporting strings to her bow, with an interior design company to her name, as well as dabbling in fashion design, and publishising a book with her sister: "Venus and Serena: Serving from the Hip".

"I love tennis but obviously I can't do it my whole life," she added. "I definitely have to find out what I love. I can't wait until I'm 35 and finished with tennis and then find I don't know what's happening next - or find out I don't know what I love or who I am off the tennis court. My parents have never wanted that for us and I'm so happy that they were there to guide us and let us find out who we were off the court."

On court, Venus will have the chance to meet Serena at Wimbledon this year, in the fourth round of the ladies' singles. If they manage to negiotiate their first three rounds unscathed then it will be the fourth time the sisters will have played each other at The Championships - the other times being two final encounters in 2002 and 2003, and a semi-final in 2000.

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post #12 of 49 (permalink) Old Jun 21st, 2005, 08:20 PM Thread Starter
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V. Williams - Day 2
Tuesday, June 21, 2005


Q. What did you think of your match?

VENUS WILLIAMS: It was a good match. I got to hit a lot of balls. It was sunny. That was nice.

Q. Both you and your sister continually are judged against what you did a few years ago when you were winning Grand Slams. Do you feel any pressure to repeat that? Do you think people are making much to do about that, that they shouldn't?

VENUS WILLIAMS: Well, personally as a career goal, I'd like to win Grand Slams. Obviously, I'd like to win every title that I enter. This is my dream. As far as if there's too much going on, that could be an accurate statement. But it is what it is.

Q. So you're saying it could be an accurate statement?

VENUS WILLIAMS: Could be, yes.

Q. What things do you think is too much going on?

VENUS WILLIAMS: Too much, is what he was saying, are people just ‑ always just ‑ I don't know. What were you saying? You explain it to him.

Q. The fact that you won and you haven't won lately. People say why aren't you winning because you were both champions.

VENUS WILLIAMS: That's what he meant.

Q. Is tennis as important to you now as it was five years ago?

VENUS WILLIAMS: Sure, absolutely.

Q. Number one still?

VENUS WILLIAMS: Yeah.

Q. What do you think is the key to a good run here?

VENUS WILLIAMS: I don't think it gets much more simpler than playing well. That's what it's all about.

It's getting out there and playing well. That's all.

Q. Do you plan to get to the net?

VENUS WILLIAMS: Yeah, for sure. Today was a little strange because she was always playing me up the middle. Then the ball's kind of bouncing strange. I have long arms and legs. When it gets close to me, you know, I'm not able to move forward because I have to get out of my own way. So I felt like that a lot today. I was kind of getting out of my way.

Q. When you come back to Wimbledon, do you remember the good times, remember The Championships when you step on the court the first time each year?

VENUS WILLIAMS: Yeah. But the thing is I always have a good time whether I win or lose. I always have good memories. I think that's the most important thing that Team Williams does. We always have fun. We always have our laughs.

Q. Are both of your parents here with you?

VENUS WILLIAMS: No. My dad is here right now.

Q. I heard you're going to the Nordic Lights Open. Is that true?

VENUS WILLIAMS: Yes.

Q. How come you chose to attend that competition?

VENUS WILLIAMS: Because I had the opportunity, so I went. I'm going.

Q. It isn't that really big.

VENUS WILLIAMS: I'm very excited. I've never been. For every year since I've been playing, my schedule has been the same every summer. So I'm glad to flip the script.

Q. Have you been to Stockholm before?

VENUS WILLIAMS: No.

Q. What do you expect?

VENUS WILLIAMS: Good time and some wins.

Q. Is tennis the top priority in your life?

VENUS WILLIAMS: Yeah, I just said that. Yeah, for sure.

Q. Is this the first time you and your sister have played on Court 2 on the same day?

VENUS WILLIAMS: Probably. Probably. You know, I don't know, unless you count the doubles (laughter).

Q. How did that feel, not being the quite the main show today, Maria being up first, without being too harsh, the side issue today?

VENUS WILLIAMS: What's important is to be in the draw. For me, that's very important.

Q. Is the fourth round looming large, when you play Serena hopefully?

VENUS WILLIAMS: No. Couple matches away still.

Q. Do you think at all about what happened last year, the odd circumstances of the way you left? Bitter taste in your mouth still?

VENUS WILLIAMS: No, because I don't think about it till someone mentions it. It's kind of like didn't ruin my life at all. I'm fine.

Q. You always accepted adversity very well. A lot of people would get upset about a situation. Have you always been like that?

VENUS WILLIAMS: Yeah, I've always been like that. And I believe that you can't change the past. You can just try to learn from it.

Q. Do your spirits really rise coming back to Wimbledon, really the best of memories?

VENUS WILLIAMS: Yeah, for sure. But my spirits always rise playing every tournament because I really like playing tennis. It's my career. I enjoy being out there. It's all good.

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post #13 of 49 (permalink) Old Jun 21st, 2005, 10:20 PM Thread Starter
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S. Williams - Day 2
Tuesday, June 21, 2005

Q. How do you think Angela played?

SERENA WILLIAMS: I think Angela played extremely well. I think she was serving really good. She was really focused. I think she played actually unbelievable.

Q. What were your expectations of playing her coming in, someone you knew?

SERENA WILLIAMS: Well, honestly I expected a tough match because, especially playing against me, she obviously wanted to win. It would be probably the first big match of her career. She had nothing to lose. So I felt that I really needed to be focused and I felt it was going to be a tough match going into it.

Q. During the match, were you focused entirely throughout?

SERENA WILLIAMS: There was a point where I was disappointed where I did lose my focus a little bit, especially in the first set. I kind of got a little off track. But it was good 'cause I was kind of feeling my way through and I was able to come up with the win.

Q. She said she heard a spectator yell, "Turn up the heat, Serena." She said just about that time you did.

SERENA WILLIAMS: Yeah, I heard him, too, actually. Yeah, so I did. It was accurate. I had to because she was playing really well. If I hit a little bit harder, she had a little bit tougher time getting the balls back.

Q. You had a lot of fight backs in your career. During a match like that, are you drawing on that mentally?

SERENA WILLIAMS: I'm definitely drawing on that mental and the fact that I just didn't want to lose this match today. It just made me work a little bit harder and go a little bit harder.

Q. I know it's been a while since you played a match. How were you feeling out there today in terms of fatigue or overall fitness, the ankle?

SERENA WILLIAMS: I felt really rusty, you know, especially I just kind of felt like I was feeling my way around. I felt that I made some errors that shouldn't have been made, but it was just kind of getting back in the rhythm of things. I felt really kind of rusty out there.

But towards the ‑‑ as the match went on, I got a little bit better with everything.

Q. Was your ankle bothering you at all?

SERENA WILLIAMS: I kind of twisted it in the second set maybe. But I was able to walk it off.

Q. How do you rate your fitness level right now?

SERENA WILLIAMS: I got a second wind in the third set. First set ‑‑ the second set I got a little fatigued, but then all of a sudden I just was like, "Okay, Serena, you have a six‑hour limit and you're only at two hours. Let's go."

Q. You haven't seen a lot of Court 2 over the years, have you?

SERENA WILLIAMS: No, I haven't.

Q. When did you last play on that court in singles?

SERENA WILLIAMS: I remember playing Els Callens on that court.

Q. Did "The Graveyard" thing enter your mind out there today?

SERENA WILLIAMS: Not when I was walking out there. No, it didn't enter my mind 'cause I just felt that I had to be better than them, the myths.

Q. Justine lost today. You're the last one who has won the French and Wimbledon back to back. How hard is it to win those two tournaments in a row?

SERENA WILLIAMS: I think you just have to be fit to do it. I was fit. I was fine. I think you just have to be ready mentally. I wanted to win Wimbledon really bad. I was ready. You have to definitely be mentally prepared because at the end of the fortnight you do get tired. The first round is usually like, "Okay, I'm back at it again." Because it's so close, the French and Wimbledon are really, really close.

I think it's important to take some time off after the French, even though it's kind of weird because you have to workout. But I think it's important to take like a couple days off and then come back.

Q. After a tiebreaker like that, that goes so long, you have four set points, how do you not have a major letdown?

SERENA WILLIAMS: I did have a major letdown because I felt I should have won the tiebreak, and I felt she hit a ball that was clearly out that was on one of my set points that no one called. So I did definitely have a major letdown. But I was just so angry that I felt that I must go to a third set.

Q. The racquet, did that help sort of release that anger?

SERENA WILLIAMS: You could say so (smiling).

Q. How hard is it to break a racquet on grass?

SERENA WILLIAMS: You have to be real strong.

Q. Have you broken a lot?

SERENA WILLIAMS: Just two this week, which is good for me. Usually I'm at five. I have a really short temper. But it makes the game exciting, I like to say.

Q. Did you give the spectator the broken racquet or the new one?

SERENA WILLIAMS: I gave them the broken racquet because I couldn't do anything with it. I have one at home, just sitting, upset.

Q. Do you usually give your racquets away?

SERENA WILLIAMS: If I break it, I give it away.

Q. Angela talked about having grown up near you in Compton. What are your recollections of her and your family at that time of your life?

SERENA WILLIAMS: I remember hitting next to her a few times because we used to practice at the same park, the public park. I remember hitting next to her, actually all the time. She was so little at the time. She was so small. She would always move her feet. She would never stop. She'd hit a lot of angles. So that's what I remember. She was just always out there, just like us. We were out there a lot.

Q. Do you remember playing her brother?

SERENA WILLIAMS: I remember playing her sister. I remember playing doubles with her brother. I don't quite remember playing him.

Q. She said you used to play her brother a lot more.

SERENA WILLIAMS: Oh. Probably got a win over the whole family. Now I just got to get the dad and the mom.

Q. With all the injuries and everything, has this been a low mark in your career this season, do you feel, even though you won the Australian?

SERENA WILLIAMS: Just in general, I'm here at Wimbledon, so...

I can't say it's been a low this year.

Q. How high on the list of your priorities is the Federation Cup? Are you planning to go to Moscow for the semifinal?

SERENA WILLIAMS: I ‑‑ well, I want to see the Cup come home. When I was in Delray, I vowed to go to Moscow, so I like to keep my word, unless something happens where I can't go. But it's tough definitely to go to Moscow after this. But I would love to see ‑‑ I think we have the best players, although a lot of people think otherwise. I think we still have the best talent. I think as of right now with Lindsay and Venus and myself, we could bring the Cup home. I plan on going to Moscow.

Q. There are thousands of public courts in America. Why do you think you and Venus and Angela were all able to come out of those public courts in Compton and make it to Wimbledon?

SERENA WILLIAMS: It's an amazing story, it really is. I mean, who would have thought that these people from Compton are playing Wimbledon. It really is, if you think about it, amazing to be that young. I just remember all those days we would be out there, and they would be out there as well, just training and training and training, still struggling, just trying to make it.

Why do I think? I just think it boils down to ‑‑ she has a great father and a great mother who always pushed her, but at the right tempo, I guess. And myself, I have a great mom and dad who always knew how to push us, even if we didn't want to be out there some days. You have to go out there. That's the only way to do it.

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Serena Williams escapes against childhood neighbor Haynes


By Howard Fendrich
ASSOCIATED PRESS


4:01 p.m. June 21, 2005


WIMBLEDON, England – The asphalt courts at the public park where Serena Williams and Angela Haynes learned to swing a racket and the patch of grass where they engaged in a riveting Grand Slam match Tuesday are separated by thousands of miles and so much more.

Yet there they were, the seven-time major champion Williams and the unheralded Haynes, trading powerful groundstrokes and grunts. Haynes practiced beside Williams in Compton in the 1980s, looked up to her in recent years, and led her for the better part of two hours in the first round at Wimbledon.

Advertisement Eventually, Williams' experience and knack for coming back – not to mention her shotmaking – were too much for the 104th-ranked Haynes in her All England Club debut. So reigning Australian Open champion Williams squeaked by with a 6-7 (12), 6-4, 6-2 victory, avoiding the sort of upset that befell French Open champion Justine Henin-Hardenne earlier in the day.

Just as accustomed as Williams is to rallying from big deficits in big matches, Henin-Hardenne couldn't manage it this time, losing 7-6 (8), 2-6, 7-5 to 76th-ranked Eleni Daniilidou. That made her the first French Open women's champion in 43 years to drop her opening match at Wimbledon. It also ended her 24-match winning streak, all on clay.

"Playing on clay and then coming here, it's so different," the seventh-seeded Henin-Hardenne said. "You change everything."

Williams skipped the French Open with a left ankle sprain that has sidelined her since May 11. She called her play against Haynes "rusty," adding that she "kind of felt like I was feeling my way around."

It sure looked that way in the tense tiebreaker, when each player had four set points. Williams let three slip away with backhand errors, and Haynes finally grabbed the set when Williams sailed a forehand long.

Williams reacted by driving her racket into the ground and cracking the frame, drawing a warning from the chair umpire. Perhaps that moment of release helped. Or perhaps what helped was when a fan yelled, "Turn up the heat, Serena!"

Both players heard the cry, and Williams heeded it. Haynes faced a break point while serving at 4-4 in the second set, and Williams' shot was called out by a line judge, who was overruled by the chair umpire. Haynes went from thinking she was out of a jam to right back into one, and when they replayed the point, Williams hit a backhand that clipped the net and fell in for the key break. Then it was Haynes who showed frustration, picking up the ball and flinging it over the net.

Williams held serve to close that set, then broke a tiring Haynes for a 3-2 edge in the third, part of a closing five-game run.

"If I won, it could have changed my whole life," Haynes said.

Her most promising previous taste of top-tier tennis came at last year's U.S. Open, when she reached the third round as a wild card. As a toddler, Haynes would hang around while her father, Fred, taught her older siblings how to play tennis at Lynwood Park, where Richard Williams instructed his girls.

"Sometimes, we would do six, seven hours on the court, and Richard would be there before us," Fred Haynes said. "And when we got off the court, we would have to go grocery shopping, and they would still be on the court, and I'm like: Look at that."

That's when they all were dads and daughters with dreams. Nowadays, Venus is 25, Serena 23, Angela 20 – and all played on the same Wimbledon court Tuesday.

"It says a lot for Compton," Richard Williams said.

"Just to see my kid walk on Wimbledon grass courts, it's like: Wow, we're here. Not satisfied, but we're here," Fred Haynes said.

Back when the Williams sisters were playing final after final against each other in the majors, it would have been a bit out of the ordinary to see them play on Court 2 at the All England Club, a step below the more prestigious Centre Court and Court 1.

Venus – the 2000-01 Wimbledon champion but seeded merely 14th this year – had a much easier time, defeating Eva Birnerova 6-2, 6-4. The court has become known as "The Graveyard of Champions" because of a litany of upsets; Pete Sampras lost his last Wimbledon match there in 2002's second round, for example.

"It didn't enter my mind," Serena said, "because I just felt that I had to be better than the myths."

She showed the determination she has many times, including comebacks at the Australian Open in the semifinals against Maria Sharapova (a straight-set winner Tuesday) and in the final against Lindsay Davenport.

It was something Angela Haynes came to expect and admire back when she and the Williams family lived 15 minutes apart and her brother, now a tennis player at San Diego State, played with Serena.

"She did not want to lose. She doesn't care who you were," Haynes said.

Henin-Hardenne didn't play a match between claiming her fourth Slam title at Roland Garros and coming to Wimbledon, in part because of a right hamstring injury, and in part because she's committed to taking extra rest after a virus sidelined her in 2004.

Henin-Hardenne double-faulted 11 times, twice in the final game.

"Everyone is a little shaky at times during a match," Daniilidou said. "Today, I was a little bit better with that."

Much is made of the tough transition from clay to grass, with a two-week turnaround between the French Open and Wimbledon. Balls skid on grass, and strategic decisions must be made in a snap. On clay, there's more time to react.

"Everything that you see on clay, you take the opposite of it, and that's what you get on grass," said Andy Roddick, who eliminated Jiri Vanek 6-1, 7-6 (4), 6-2. Rafael Nadal, the 19-year-old Spaniard who won the French Open in his debut, got off to a solid start at Wimbledon, a 6-4, 6-3, 6-0 victory over Vince Spadea, whose bothersome back was massaged twice by a trainer during the second set.

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Venus struggles for form that made a goddess

By Nick Harris at Wimbledon


22 June 2005 Venus Williams' most graceful, expressive sequence yesterday was her victory pirouette. One moment she was scrapping, dour-faced, even slightly weary, which is how she looked through much of her 6-2, 6-4 first-round win over Eva Birnerova. The next, after the 20-year-old Czech plonked another shot long, she was a ballerina on a jewellery box, a twirling smile. The only thing missing was a tinkly "Fur Elise".

The concern for Venus - the queen of the lawns here in 2000 and 2001, before her younger sister, Serena, reigned in 2002 and 2003 - is that her game, if not quite out of tune, is far from hitting the high notes. Her serve was hard (rising to 118mph) and functional (she won 67 per cent of service points). But it fell short of the brutality of old.

Her movement was fine, by most players' standards. But by the heights of her own, it looked somewhat slow, lacking fluidity.

"Today was a little strange because she was always playing me up the middle," she explained.

"Then the ball's bouncing strange. I have long arms and legs. When the ball gets close to me, I'm not able to move forward because I have to get out of my own way."

That might be true, but it was not the kind of thing she was saying often, if at all, five years ago. Nor, then, was she making so many errors. There were plenty yesterday, 10 unforced, including several overhit drives, a couple of routine volleys that ended up in the net and one shank that propelled the ball towards the Court 2 crowd.

Venus won in the end, however, because she was still simply better than her opponent, the world No 111 who secured a main-draw place as a lucky loser from the qualifying tournament at Roehampton.

The first set was seized through superior power. The second was wrestled from Birnerova, who even threatened a comeback after breaking Williams in the ninth game to trail only 4-5 before throwing away her serve and the match.

A win is a win. That was the subtext of Venus's post-match analysis.

"Everything went well," she said. "That felt good to me. I got to hit a lot of balls. It was sunny. That was nice."

But there was little spark, and when she was asked about a potential fourth-round meeting with her sister, the tone of her response indicated that she was not counting her chickens.

"Is that match looming large?" she was asked. "No," she said. "Couple of matches away still."

Last year Venus made a controversial second-round exit to Karolina Sprem after a match including an umpiring error that handed Sprem an unwarranted point. Venus, who next faces Nicole Pratt of Australia, insisted yesterday that she had not dwelt on that.

"You can't change the past," she said. "You can just try to learn from it."

As she was talking, Serena was waiting to start her own first-round match, against another minnow, her compatriot Angela Haynes. Venus last played Serena in March, in Miami, beating her for the first time in four years.







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