Supportive Venus: Serena (17-0) has 'great chance' for perfect year
BY MICHELLE KAUFMAN
April 3 2003
If Venus Williams is jealous of, or discouraged by, her sister Serena's success, she isn't saying.
The elder of the sisters sounded as supportive as ever Wednesday on a conference call to promote this weekend's JP Morgan Chase Tennis Challenge at the Naples Bath and Tennis Club, a benefit event for their mother Oracene's charity, the OWL Foundation.
Venus, who lost in the quarterfinals of the NASDAQ-100 Open last week and has lost to her sister in the finals of four straight Grand Slam events, said she wouldn't put it past Serena to go undefeated this season. Serena won the NASDAQ final Saturday, stretching her win streak to 17-0 this year. She is 60-4 since March 2002.
''I think Serena has a great chance to do it,'' Venus said. ``It's not easy to win every time, but other sports have had unbelievable records, so why not tennis?''
Both Williams sisters will play in the Naples charity event Saturday. Serena will play Monica Seles in a 1 p.m. singles match, followed by a doubles match between Serena- Jana Novotna and Venus-Seles. The players will also attend a $250-a-plate gala, at which Roberta **** will perform.
The OWL Foundation (short for Oracene Williams Learning Foundation) helps fund educational programs for children with learning disabilities.
Venus Williams insisted the NASDAQ defeat has not dampened her spirits.
''I just had a bad day,'' she said of her loss to Meghann Shaughnessy. ``It's just one tournament. I'm moving on and getting ready for the clay season and the French Open.''
The Davis Cup quarterfinals are this weekend, and Argentina is determined to avenge three straight losses to Russia, including a heartbreaker in last year's semifinals.
The Argentine team ( David Nalbandian, Gaston Gaudio, Mariano Zabaleta and Lucas Arnold) hopes to take advantage of the slow clay at Club Atletico River Plate at Buenos Aires. Russia's lineup is Marat Safin, Mikhail Youzhny, Yevgeny Kafelnikov and Nikolay Davydenko.
In other quarterfinals, Australia plays Sweden, France plays Switzerland and Spain plays Croatia without Goran Ivanisevic, who cut his heel on a seashell walking on Miami Beach two weeks ago.
EASTER BOWL UPDATE
South Florida will be well represented at the Easter Bowl junior tournament, April 11-19 at Palm Springs, Calif. Thirty-seven players from the area, including No. 3 seed Josh Cohen of Weston (18s) and No. 5 seed Lauren Sabacinski of Pembroke Pines (14s), are in the 768-player field. Thirteen-year-old Lauren Albenese (Coral Springs) is the youngest girl in the 18s.
USTA NAMES COACHES
Eight coaches, including three South Floridians, were named to the USTA's High Performance staff, which oversees young players at training centers in Key Biscayne and Carson, Calif. Dean Goldfine (Aventura), Francisco Montana (Miami) and Roger Smith (Fort Lauderdale) will be based at the Tennis Center at Crandon Park.
Goldfine's alumni include Todd Martin, Aaron Krickstein and Mary Joe Fern?ndez. Montana, a former pro, coached Alex Bogomolov. Smith competed at the 1996 Olympics for the Bahamas. Other coaches named were Steve DeVries, Ricardo Acuna, Kelly Jones, Mike Sell and Martin Van Daalen.
Next year's NASDAQ-100 will be played March 24 to April 4. The International Tennis Championships in Delray Beach are moving from early March to mid-September, just after the U.S. Open. The Open will end Sept. 12, 2004, and Delray will begin Sept. 13.
The new Delray date might be attractive to players who would rather stay in the United States than travel to the Bangkok or Bucharest events that typically follow the U.S. Open.