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2,282 Posts
Discussion Starter · #1 ·

Venus: Planet of Love and Money

Venus is all about pleasure, especially pleasure shared with someone else. This Planet concerns itself with love, romance and harmony in our emotional attachments, marriages, friendships and other unions (like business partnerships). Venus is content to spread happiness and tenderness, all the while teaching us how to love and appreciate others and the things that we possess.

We appear attractive -- and we attract others -- thanks to Venus's energy. Socializing with and relating to others are important to this Planet.

Beauty is also strongly associated with Venus. The arts (music, dance, drama and literature, to name a few) and a sense of the aesthetic fall within the ream of Venus. Venus beseeches us to indulge our senses and revel in the beauty of our world. This Planet is inextricably linked to refinement, culture, charm and grace.

Venus also deals with the pleasure we derive from our possessions. Luxuries (jewelry, paintings, expensive cars), good food and drink, a beautiful home and a sense of refinement all please Venus's interests. This Planet asks us to appreciate the exquisite nature of things. It's a sensual -- though not necessarily sexual -- world as far as Venus is concerned.

Venus takes 225 days to complete its orbit of the zodiac; it is never more than 47 degrees from the Sun. It is a feminine energy and rules both Taurus and Libra and the Second and Seventh Houses.

2,282 Posts
Discussion Starter · #2 ·
How Sweet It Truly Is

Venus Williams Height: 6-foot-1½
Weight: 169 Plays: Right-handed
Career Titles: 20 Birthplace: Lynwood, Calif.
Birthdate: June 17, 1980

Career Highlights

Defended her title at New Haven by beating Justine Henin, Jennifer Capriati and Lindsay Davenport the week before the U.S. Open.

Successfully defended her Wimbledon title by defeating Belgian teenager Justine Henin 6-1, 3-6, 6-0 and predicted that Wimbledon would be a great place for her for years to come.

Won in Hamburg by defeating Meghann Shaughnessy, 6-3, 6-0 and in San Diego by defeating Monica Seles, 6-2, 6-3.

In the Ericsson Open final, came from behind to defeat Jennifer Capriati in a dramatic tiebreak in the final set, 4-6, 6-1, 7-6 (4).

Venus showed up at the Australian Open looking rusty on the court and in a new outfit that drew more attention at times than her playing. Venus fell to Martina Hingis 6-1, 6-1 in the semifinals as Hingis managed to beat the two Williams sisters back-to-back for the first time. The sisters got some revenge as Hingis and doubles partner Monica Seles lost to them in the doubles semifinal. The Williamses went on to win the doubles Grand Slam trophy, but both expressed disappointment in their singles performance.

Won ESPY award for Outstanding Women's Tennis Performer.

Won her first Grand Slam at Wimbledon by defeating Lindsay Davenport, 6-3, 7-6 (3) in the final after defeating her sister, Serena, in the semifinal. Davenport faced her again in the U.S. Open final and fell in straight sets, 6-4, 7-5 giving Venus her second Slam.

At the Sydney Olympics, she was the first woman to win a gold in singles and doubles (with sister Serena) since 1924.

Went on a 32-match win streak and won three other titles: Bank of the West Classic, Acura Tennis Classic, Pilot Pen. She also made the finals of the Generali Ladies Open, but this time Davenport was ready for her as Venus fell 6-4, 3-6, 6-2.

Defended Lipton title, defeating younger sister Serena in the final to become the first sisters to meet in a WTA Tour final. En route to the final, she beat No. 4 Jana Novotna and No. 7 Steffi Graf, ending Graf's 21-match Lipton winning streak.

Earned her career first clay court singles title at Hamburg, including wins over Top 10 players Arantxa Sanchez-Vicario in the semifinals and Mary Pierce in the final.

Won second clay court title in two weeks -- extending her red-clay winning streak to nine -- over Mary Pierce at the Italian Open.

Through the Australian Open, reached at least the quarterfinals at six Grand Slam tournaments out of eight career Grand Slam appearances, a more consistent start than all nine Grand Slam winners currently playing (Davenport, Graf, Hingis, Majoli, Martinez, Novotna, Pierce, Sanchez-Vicario, Seles).

Finalist at Hannover, including a three-set semifinal win over Steffi Graf where Williams served 12 aces, including one on match point, for her first win over Graf.

Won in Oklahoma City on February 28, the same day her sister, Serena, won the Paris Indoors, and they became the first sisters in professional tennis history to win singles titles in the same week.

On April 5 she and sister Serena became the first sisters to be ranked in the Top 10 simultaneously since April 22, 1991 (Manuela and Katerina Maleeva).

By winning the French Open doubles title with her sister Serena, became the first sisters to win a Grand Slam crown together in the 20th century.

In her Fed Cup debut, led the United States over Italy in the semifinals by winning both her singles matches and the doubles with sister Serena.

Through the U.S. Open, only two of her 10 losses in 1998 came to players ranked outside the Top 5.

Made the semifinals of the U.S. Open, losing to eventual champ Lindsay Davenport. Also advanced to the quarters at the Australian Open, French Open and Wimbledon.

Clocked a women's world record 127 mph serve in the quarterfinals of the Swisscom Challenge.

Won the Grand Slam Cup by defeating Patty Schnyder 6-2, 3-6, 6-2.

Won her second career singles title by beating Anna Kournikova in an all-teen final at the Lipton Championships.

Won her first singles title by topping South Africa's Joannette Kruger 6-3, 6-2 in the finals of the IGA Tennis Classic. Her WTA ranking jumped to No. 12.

The only unseeded player to reach the quarterfinals of 1998 Australian Open; won her second-round match over sister Serena; fell in quarterfinals in three sets to second seed Lindsay Davenport.

The bright young star in American tennis began the year ranked No. 211 in the world, but climbed up to No. 64.

She reached the quarterfinals of two tournaments.

At the Bausch & Lomb Championships, her serve was recorded at 108 mph, the ninth-fastest serve recorded on the tour that year.

Went 7-5 in her 12 matches after playing only seven matches since her professional debut in 1994.

Nearly upset Arantxa Sanchez Vicario in her professional debut at the Bank of the West Classic in Oakland. Williams held a 6-3, 3-0 lead over Sanchez Vicario, then ranked No. 2, but she couldn't hold on.

Went 7-5 in her 12 matches after playing only seven matches since her professional debut in 1994.

Won her first singles title, the IGA Tennis Classic, on March 1, 1998.

Managed and coached by her father, Richard.

Younger sister Serena is also a rising star on the women's tour.

2,282 Posts
Discussion Starter · #3 ·

Greetings All,

I've been searching for the words that would truly express how I feel about Ms. Venus Williams these days. I mean - I've never felt that she had to reach the number one ranking on the WTA tour in order to receive every superlative I could possible think about heaping on her and her tennis playing. But since she has reached number one - I am another one that wishes to congratulate her on this wonderful feat.

Venus is one of the wisest women on the planet - and she has always stated that she would reach number one when she deserved it. She and her business managers always knew what it would take for her to gain the number one ranking. Yet - she refused to compromise her beliefs in order to be molded by anyone other than by her own efforts and God's. She has never minded that some people would talk about her and describe her in a way that was pleasing to their point of view and other's ears. She has continued to listen to her own heartbeats - and she has refused to let anyone take one baby step for her. And needless to say - she walks to the beat of her own drum.

Of course, she has come a long, long way from the times when she would spray balls - hit way too many UEs, etc. I used to try to will her to ensure she got her first serve in rather than going for the ace when she served, and/or going for the fast serve. For the most part - she has cleaned up her play and the methods she uses in strategically trying to hang in points longer, and until she can go for out-right winners. She will continue to win many tournaments as long as she plays the sport of tennis - and IMO - she will go down as one of the greatest tennis players of all times.

Venus has the heart of a champion. A champion needs to have plenty of heart and will in order to excel in anything a champ takes on. When one shows excellence in accomplishing any goal in life - whether it's sports or whatever - then one should feel proud when the said goal was achieved. And nothing to include - prejudice - discrmination or hate - can upsurp excellence where excellence lives. Venus is far from being a perfect tennis player or human being - but she can try w/all her might and will to achieve excellence in everything she takes on in life. She should feel proud of herself now for all of the accomplishments she's achieved in her short life, to include the WTA number one player. And whether she stays at number one a short or long time, loses it and gets it back - she will never have to prove what she is made of again - as it pertains to the #1 ranking. And neither does any other tennis player - past and present. They were all excellent for a time and in the sport of their choosing.

IMO - Venus has excellent brain power also, and she knows how to work it. It doesn't take a rocket scientist to understand and know that if one keeps winning tennis tourneys, and slams at that - then gaining the #1 ranking will not be far behind. Venus has always known this - and IMO - she has now truly proven it!

Take that you mealy (sp) mouth pundits and naysayers. Begone you haters and bashers. Ms. Venus Ebone Starr Williams is all up in the number one WTA tennis player's house, camp and throne. She is the Queen, and she will now take over the throne and sit her rumplestilskin on it. Begone all you other tennis subjects - because the Queen has arrived. And she ain't going nowhere and won't be turned around until she no longer deserves all the accolades, superlatives, shoutouts, praises, awards, trophys, endorsements and blessings that will and must be bestowed upon her as long as she stays very near the top in her chosen field. Long live and hopefully a long reign for the Queen VV! Lastly and in other words (IOW), I'm going to enjoy her presence on the tour - whilst I can!


DUBAI, 20 February, 2002
Venus Williams played her first match as the world number one even though it only takes effect officially on Monday.

For the second time in as many weeks in the second round of a tournament she defeated Anna Kournikova. Williams reached the quarterfinals of the Dubai Tennis Championships with a 6-3, 7-6 result and it was her sixth win from as many matches with the glamourous Russian.

"It's a good feeling to be number one but I am thinking of this week," said Williams. "This was a tough match and I didn't do all I wanted to. But with the number one, I want to give it my personal best and keep it as long as possible."

Ever since Venus and her sister Serena burst onto the scene their father Richard said they would be world number one. Serena beat Venus to the family's first Grand Slam title but now Venus is first to take number one, and Richard "was real excited and a little bit lost for words".

"I started believing I could do it when I was six and when I was six I also thought I could beat every player - John McEnroe, Pete Sampras, but my mother told me I could not play them," said Williams.

Kournikova meanwhile is starting to show the signs of a revival with her tennis after the injuries of 2001. She said when she started to play tournaments against late last year, she "didn't know which way to run", now it's a case of seeing things fall into place and "waiting for your chances". She realises it is not easy to come back and beat the top players straight away and expects it will take eight months to feel comfortable again.

"I need to get my match practice and not be afraid to go for my shots, it needs to come together," said Kournikova. "Physically I am well prepared and I can go a long time in a match and not get sore.

"You always want to come back as soon as possible but it's not that easy. I am improving my ranking every time, I have nothing to defend and I am looking forward to this year and hopefully being injury free."

Kournikova and Williams have both been impressed and surprised with Dubai. It's modern and vibrant and with both women enjoying shopping, the Amex has been taking a little bit of a beating. Kournikova said she consulted with last year's Dubai champion Martina Hingis before arriving in Dubai and revealed "she told me to go to the gold souk".

There was no horsing around for Monica Seles who joined Williams in the quarters however, she said she found it tough to control her returns in the windy conditions. Seles defeated Tathiana Garbin 6-2, 6-3 saying "there was so much going on on the court" that she had trouble getting into a rhythm, plus the Italian had taken an injury time out for blisters.

Seles says she has not had the time to really go sight seeing but has been impressed with what she has seen in Dubai.

"It's been great," she said. "The hotel is just amazing and I went to the (Sheikh's) stables. That was just beautiful and I have never seen anything like it, son it's been great so far and I hope I have a good week like last week in Doha."

The windy conditions also made it awkward for Amelie Mauresmo but overall she was pleased with her performance and was happy with the way she "adjusted" to it.

"I was a better player than her but she was dangerous at times and in the second set she had a few break points," said Mauresmo who is trying hard to shake off a heavy cold.

The Frenchwoman says her aim is to do well at the Grand Slams, in fact she is gearing herself up to win one, adding to that her goal is to be world number one, but that's a position Venus Williams has right now.

Williams now plays Anastasia Myskina, Seles faces Angeles Montolio and Mauresmo meets Tina Pisnik.

2,282 Posts
Discussion Starter · #4 ·
You Deserve A Break Today - Venus

Weary Venus brought down to earth by Testud

AFP [ FRIDAY, FEBRUARY 22, 2002 9:43:14 PM ]

UBAI: Venus Williams failed to reach the final of the Dubai Tennis Championships on Friday when she was beaten 1-6, 7-6 (7/5), 6-4 by fourth seed Sandrine Testud of France.

The top-seeded American made an impressive start and swept the first set in just 21 minutes despite suffering from the tendinitis in her left knee that has bothered her for some weeks.

It was no surprise when she called for medical attention after winning the set, and she was off court for 10 minutes before play resumed.

Unable to get the push-off she needed for her serve, the frustrated American eventually produced 14 double-faults.

Unable to maintain the momentum she had enjoyed in the first set, Williams struggled in the second.

But although Testud held a set point at 5-3 she had to wait until the tiebreak to level at one set all, and the deciding set also hung in the balance until the end.

Testud's best chance of victory came as she held three break points to lead 5-2, but instead she dropped her serve on her eighth double-fault and Williams went on to level at 4-4.

But Testud received another opening when Williams dropped her own serve on another double-fault, and she held off a break point to claim the match.

"Against Venus it's a little bit difficult because she hits the ball harder than anybody else, and you just try to hang in there and return as many balls as possible," said Testud, who had not won a set in their five previous meetings.

"But I took my chances today. I had a few opportunities in the second set when she didn't serve as well, and I had a few games on my serve that I played pretty good too," she added.

Williams was clearly disappointed by her defeat, and refused to discuss her injury. She also refused to concede that she had paid a heavy price for playing so many tournaments in recent weeks.

"I really don't want to talk about that at this point," she said of her injury.

"I feel really disappointed because I hate losing. She just played a lot better and there was nothing I could do about that. She played great tennis out there."

Testud will face either second seed Monica Seles or third seed Amelie Mauresmo in Saturday's final.

2,282 Posts
Discussion Starter · #5 ·
You've A Champion's Heart - Venus

Weary Williams struggles as Seles sparkles
By John Roberts in Dubai
22 February 2002
Venus Williams, hampered by a recurrence of tendinitis in her left knee and "mentally exhausted", looked anything but the world No 1 elect as she struggled to reach the semi-finals of the Dubai Duty Free Open last night.

After taking only 17 minutes to win the first set against the Russian Anastasia Myskina, 6-0, Williams became erratic and tottered for 71 minutes before edging through, 6-0, 3-6, 6-4. Myskina, ranked No 47, won the first three and last three games of the second set, and recovered from 1-5 to 4-5 in the third set.

Williams, serving for the match for the second time, having held two match points on her opponent's serve at 5-1, double-faulted to 0-30 in the 10th game before winning the concluding three points, Myskina netting a service return on the third match point.

"I'm doing my best to hold myself together," said Williams, who is due to play Sandrine Testud, of France, the fourth seed, today for a place in the final. "I can't comment about my knee at this stage," Williams added, "but I am wearing a tape and it has been sore. I was feeling drained, not exactly tired. I didn't feel I would lose the match. I felt I was losing my touch."

Monica Seles, seeded to meet Williams in tomorrow's final, has only dropped seven games in her two matches in advancing to the semi-finals, displaying the confidence that enabled her to win last week's tournament in Doha and the determination that wore down Venus Williams in the quarter-finals of last month's Australian Open.

Her opponent in yesterday's quarter-finals here, Angeles Montolio, is studying Arabic, but this did not help the Spanish seventh seed to read Seles's game. Seles won, 6-0, 6-2, after 47 minutes, and will now play Amelie Mauresmo, of France. Surprisingly, the two games that went Montolio's way were breaks of serve, at 0-2 and 1-5 in the second set. The problem for the short 26-year-old from Barcelona was that she could not cope with Seles's potent returns and aggressive play in the wind.

Montolio, who speaks six languages, though not all of them fluently, is studying Arabic as a hobby. Why Arabic? She pointed to script on a poster on the interview room and said: "I think it's like art to write like this."

Seles, aged 28, has experienced exhilaration and terror in her career, and we can only guess how long she would have reigned as the world No 1 but for being stabbed by a deranged spectator during the Hamburg tournament in 1993.

Enjoying her tennis, and still hopeful of adding to her nine Grand Slam singles titles, Seles was asked to comment on Williams' ascent to No 1 next Monday and the loneliness associated with being at the summit of the game.

"If Venus had played more tournaments she would have been No 1 before now," Seles said. "She plays terrific tennis and is a great athlete, which is a wonderful combination. I've always got on well with her sister Serena, and I've got to know Venus.

"I think things have changed. When I came on the Tour, I thought the isolation thing was the way to go. Steffi [Graf] went through it. And the year I pulled out of Wimbledon at 17 [in 1991] was particularly difficult for me. That year I had no friends, or maybe only 10 per cent.

"The early 90s were different, because two players were so dominant. Now there are five players fighting for No 1, and it's just terrific for the game. It makes things more exciting and less predictable. There was a time when the top player might lose one game in a year. When you lose 10 games in a year instead of one, it brings you down to earth.

"I was very impressed how Martina [Hingis] dealt with being No 1. She was so nice, so normal, for No 1. I have many friends in tennis now. Mary Joe Fernandez is a particularly good friend. There are at least 10 to 15 players I know I will be friends with even when we finish playing."

2,282 Posts
Discussion Starter · #6 ·
Here's Hoping We C U Soon - Venus

Williams, Seles bow out of the show
Gulf News; Feb 23, 2002

Venus (Williams) was eclipsed from the Dubai Duty Free Women's Open by Sandrine Testud, while Amelie Mauresmo ended Monica Seles's hopes of adding another Gulf crown, to set up an all French final today.

Both the Sanex WTA Tour semifinals yesterday at the Dubai Tennis Stadium were as different as weather during the first and second match. Testud's come-from-behind 1-6, 7-6 (7-5), 6-4 win in an error-filled match against top-seed Williams came under blazing sun and slightly high temperature.

In cooler conditions late in the evening, Mauresmo and Seles were engaged in a tight battle that last just 62 minutes with the French girl winning 6-4, 6-3.

Williams was treated off court for nine minutes after her 21-minute first set 6-1 win. But restrained Williams later refused to delve on her injury instead paid tribute to her rival Testud saying the French woman played better than her.

"If you miss every shot, no way you can win a match," felt Williams. And, Williams did make errors galore even as Testud played unconvincingly, failing to grab her chances. Testud, perhaps, made less mistakes compared to Williams, who hit 14 double faults. The French veteran hit only eight in the match that last for two hours and ten minutes.

There were some shockingly hilarious services by Williams, known for her big services. Once she hit directly over the centre line judge and on another occasion the ball fell near her own feet after she completed her service.

Not that her trademark 187km/h aces were missing. She hit eight aces in the match. But it was lack of consistency that cost her the match. She broke Testud in the second and fourth games to win the first set that lasted only 21 minutes.

Interestingly, the only game that Testud won was a service break when Williams had two double faults.

Williams began the second set with a break in the first game, giving indications that she was in a hurry to finish the match. But that was not to be as five service breaks marked the second set which Testud won in tie breaker.

As if dispossessed of her powers (service), Williams struggled to put her first serve across the court or inside the service box. Thus she was broken thrice and Williams's big service deserted her in the tie breaker.

Probably sensing Williams's troubles with her injury and her struggle to get game going, Testud began to play better tennis and broke her rival in the third and ninth game but she her self made two double faults to drop the eighth. Testud had her chance to go 5-2 clear but Williams held her off.

The American saved two match points before Testud drove across a net cord from Williams to seal off her victory.

Mauresmo also hit a powerful cross court backhand to hit the final nail to complete her 62-minute demolition of second seed Seles. They played a tight first set until Mauresmo broke Seles in the tenth, which was more due to unforced errors by Seles.

The nine-time Grand Slam winner first hit the net and then slammed an easy volley out to hand the 32-minute set to the big-hitting French girl.

Packing a lot of power behind her flowing backhand shots, Mauresmo gradually took command with Seles finding hard to hit her first serve in. Seles had earned an early break in the first game but Mauresmo hit back with a break in the second game. A net cord in her favour saw Mauresmo break Seles again in the fifth game, which she held on to win the second set 6-3 in 30 minutes.

It was power and precision tennis at its best. There were a few opportunities which Mauresmo grabbed. "The first set was like a point here and there," Seles said later. She felt that Mauresmo was serving better. "I did my best and I am happy with it," Seles said.

"She (Seles) was hitting it hard and taking the ball early," felt Mauresmo. She pointed out: "I took occasions (read chances) though didn't have a lot of that."

And, the all-French final today would also go to the one who grabs her chances and holds service.


Singles Semifinal: Sandrine Testud (4), France, def. Venus Williams (1), United States, 1-6, 7-6 (5), 6-4. Amelie Mauresmo (4), France, def. Monica Seles (2), United States, 6-4, 6-3. Doubles: B Rittner and Mario Vento Kabchi bt A Widjaja and Su-Wei Hsieh 5-7, 6-3, 6-2; S Testud and R Vinci bt T Gabin and R Grande 6-3, 6-3

Womens' singles final: 7pm: Sandrine Testud v Amelie Mauresmo; followed by doubles final

2,282 Posts
Discussion Starter · #7 ·
Me 2 - Venus


Venus Williams says she never doubted she would one day become World number one.

The 21-year-old American will succeed compatriot Jennifer Capriati in the WTA World rankings on Monday after winning six titles in 15 tournaments, including the US Open and Wimbledon for the second straight year.

Williams is the 10th player to top the World rankings since they began in 1975.

"I've known I could be number one since the age of six," she said in L'Equipe on Thursday.

"I heard my parents telling me so many times that I would become the world's best one day and that I would write my name in every Grand Slam's records, that I ended up believing in it.

"At that time I even thought I would be able to beat John McEnroe.

"I knew I would make it, and I am very happy to have reached that level. I am glad for my father who always told me I would make it.

"I could have been crowned number one last year if I had beaten Capriati in the finals of the Miami event,"

"And also if I had not been knocked out of the French Open in the first round.

"I am aware I can lose the first place very fast but this is not a problem.

"I built a programme which pushed me to play a lot at the start of the season. I did not do that to become number one but just because I know that I can easily concentrate on my tennis at the start of the year.

"I also wanted to visit more cities in the world, I had never been to Belgium for example neither to the Emirates."

She has decided to take a break in order to be fully fit for the French Open in June, Wimbledon a month later and the US Open in August.

"I want to hold on to that top place but my priority is to be in top form for the Grand Slams.

"If I keep playing every week to keep my number one position I risk being knackered by the time I arrive in Paris.

"But if I concentrate on the last three Grand Slams of the year and win them all I will probably end up World number one again at the end of the season anyway."

2,282 Posts
Discussion Starter · #8 ·
Keep On Doing It Your Way - Venus


Williams to Become No. 1 Player

By Teresa M. Walker
AP Sports Writer
Saturday, February 23, 2002; 5:46 PM

Venus Williams is happy to say she did it her way.

She'll become No. 1 for the first time Monday, the first black player to hold that spot in the WTA computer rankings, and she's proud that tennis is not her only pursuit.

"I've enjoyed myself along the way," Williams said Saturday, "and I haven't limited myself just to playing tennis or made myself believe that was the only thing in life."

Williams' father, Richard, often has said that either Venus or sister Serena could have reached the top spot before now if that had been their top priority.

Instead, Venus has been busy taking college courses, enjoying life and scheduling her tennis around the Grand Slam tournaments.

"I just feel like I deserve it," she said.

"Being No. 1 and winning Grand Slams and winning titles, it's all about having a successful career. I've worked hard. I also deserve a few perks now and then."

The approach has worked.

Williams has 24 career titles, including four at majors – Wimbledon and the U.S. Open in 2000-01. She also won a gold medal at the 2000 Olympics.

Lindsay Davenport finished last year as the WTA's top-ranked player, despite not winning a Grand Slam event in 2001. That prompted the WTA to change its ranking system to assign more points to Grand Slam events and a handful of other top tourneys.

Williams will become only the 10th woman to hold the top spot since the WTA rankings began in November 1975, replacing Jennifer Capriati in a system that includes the past 52 weeks.

Williams becomes the first black tennis player at No. 1 since Arthur Ashe reached the top of the men's rankings in 1975.

"It would be foolish to forget Althea Gibson, also. She was the first," Williams said, referring to the first black woman to win Wimbledon, in 1957-58. "And more than anything, I just feel proud to represent America in my sport."

Williams already has won three tournaments in 2002, at Gold Coast, Paris, and Antwerp before losing in the semifinals at Dubai on Friday.

"I have had a long time on the road," she said. "I'm just looking forward to getting home and getting some rest with our family."

She'll take a three-week break, meaning she'll skip the tournament in Indian Wells, Calif., where she pulled out of a semifinal last year against Serena, citing tendinitis. The crowd booed the family and Richard Williams said some of the jeers were racially motivated.

Venus Williams returns to action next month at the Nasdaq 100 in Miami, where she is the defending champion.

"You don't aspire to be No. 2 or No. 3. Normally, you do your best to become the best," she said. "At this point, I am the best player in the world. That's exciting, and it's going to be mine at least a week."

2,282 Posts
Discussion Starter · #9 ·
You Go - Go - Go - Girl


Venus Williams No. 1 Teleconference
February 24, 2002


JIM FUHSE: Venus, congratulations on turning No. 1 on Monday. Has it had a chance to sink in yet, and do you have any special plans for celebrating it on Monday?

VENUS WILLIAMS: I think my special plan would be just to get home, finally. It's been a long time on the road. I think I'm just looking forward to getting home and getting some rest with my family.

Q. I saw in your comment earlier this week that reaching No. 1 is a dream that started with your parents and then you took it over. How long have you wanted to be No. 1; and the way you've been playing lately, was it just a matter of time?

VENUS WILLIAMS: Well, you know, obviously, when you're on a professional tour, you don't aspire to be No. 3 or No. 2. Normally you do your best to become the best. At this point, I am the best player in the world, so that's exciting and it's going to be mine at least a week.

Q. The way you've been playing, has have you been in this kind of a zone in a while? The streak you had going in through the Open, and then winning the tournaments in the last month or so, have you been at this level in a while and how much more do you think you've got to go?

VENUS WILLIAMS: Well, more and more I've learned tennis is just mental and technical. As long as you have the mental game down, your techniques are solid, physically all you need is just your body to be there with you.

And physically has been one of my problems in the past. The past two months I have been able to play without pain and that's done a lot for me.

Q. A lot of people have talked about how you are the best player and you have been the last two years; yet, you have not really played a schedule maybe to make yourself in the No. 1 spot by not playing as much and going to school and everything. Has it really been that important and a focal point to you, or maybe winning the titles at Wimbledon and US Open take precedence; is that driving you?

VENUS WILLIAMS: Really, I think that if I had been No. 1 in the world and had not won any Grand Slams, it would be less of a significance. But having won Grand Slams, that really just makes it a lot more enjoyable, and I just feel like I deserve it. You know, being No. 1 and winning Grand Slams and winning titles, that's just all a part of having a successful career. I've worked hard; so I feel like I deserve a few perks there.

Q. A lot of us who live down in south Florida have known you from since when you were a kid have heard your father say you and Serena would be No. 1. Now that it has happened, what has his reaction been?

VENUS WILLIAMS: I just think that he's head over heels. He's going to give me a few pointers to try to stay on top.

Q. How important is staying on top? You just said you'll be there for one week, but how important is it for you to keep it going?

VENUS WILLIAMS: Well, right now, it's just been great getting there, but it's another thing staying there. So I just have to be dedicated and more than anything, keep enjoying the game, because at any point it becomes a burden, at least to me, that's when it's a problem.

Q. Your dad's prediction years ago that you would be No. 1, certainly, one of thee boldest predictions that has ever been made in tennis history. Did you ever think -- did you ever think, 'Gee, I wish he had not done that, to just let me play'?

VENUS WILLIAMS: No, I never thought that. I thought he was telling the truth. I was just being the daughter of a proud father. And more than anything, I think he knew he put the work in and that he had -- we were listening to him, and I think that's why he had that confidence to say that myself and Serena would be Grand Slam Champions.

Right now, we are some of the best players in the game, I guess, in history, and I just think that I give a lot of credit to my dad for that.

Q. You obviously did not play a lot of Junior tournaments. You skipped a bunch of other tournaments and never altered from having your parents being your prime coaches. Is there an aspect of your career that you are most proud of, venus?

VENUS WILLIAMS: I think the best part is that I've enjoyed myself along the way and that I have not limited myself just to playing tennis or made myself believe that that's the only thing in life. I've always been doing things at the same time and having a career; for me that's the best part.

Q. You and Serena obviously had a rough time in the desert last year. Can you sort of get real with us and tell us why you're not playing Indian Wells, a major tournament in a month or so?

VENUS WILLIAMS: Well, that was a year ago and a lot of things have happened since then. I think that myself, winning two Grand Slams, and the US Open Finals with Serena and I, and also, just being No. 1. So a lot of great things have happened since then.

Q. You did get pretty rough treatment there, is that the reason you're not playing?

VENUS WILLIAMS: Well, all in all, it was just basically an incredible scene last year in Indian Wells, but that's part of sports, playing with the good and the bad.

Q. I know you're not playing Indian Wells this year, but will you play Indian Wells again in the future?

VENUS WILLIAMS: I've always liked that tournament, and basically I had my first big break there in the desert; so some of my best memories are there . Actually, the first time I ever got in the quarter finals, I was like 200 in the world. I have a lot of great memories there.

Q. Also, with Indian Wells, you are not the only one who is missing. There are a few other top players who are going to be missing. This year, with adding more points toward Indian Wells, do you have any recommendations on what the Tour can do to attract more of the top players to their top events?

VENUS WILLIAMS: I think normally Indian Wells has gotten a really great turn out. Most of the players love it, playing in the desert, with the great weather. And also, it's a combined event, which makes it more exciting for the fans, too. I haven't really seen the entries at Indian Wells at this point, but I don't think it's anything to worry about.

Q. Just would like to know what it means to you to be the first African American to be ranked No. 1 in the world.

VENUS WILLIAMS: Well, it would be foolish to forget Althea Gibson, also. She was the first. And more than anything, I just feel proud to represent America in my sport.

Q. As Wimbledon Champion and US Open Champion, it's a tremendous achievement to get to No. 1 in the world, as well. Monica Seles was saying this week that it's a very exciting time for women's tennis, because the No. 1 position is being handed around; it's not being kept by one person for a long time as it used to be. Do you feel that? Do you feel this is a very exciting time for women's tennis and that new players are coming to the No. 1 ranking all the time?

VENUS WILLIAMS: I think it's a very exciting time. I really thought I had a chance to win in the quarterfinal, but Jennifer was able to hang on. Because of the points race, at this point, it's really just a coin toss. At this point, I'm just happy about my position.

Q. What would be your kind of one little expert piece of advice to anyone who aspires to achieve what you've achieved?

VENUS WILLIAMS: That would be to enjoy the day and enjoy the competition, because a lot of times, it's really tight. My second suggestion would be you'd better have good techniques; in the crunch, so you can rely on your techniques.

Q. Can you talk about how difficult it's been being away from home for so long, and what you've missed the most; and did you intend to be on the road since late December?

VENUS WILLIAMS: Yeah, I did intend to be on the road. I gave my full commitment for the first two months of the year. I knew it would be really tough, and mentally I've prepared to not be at home. But I really miss my dog and I miss my family and I miss Serena, too. I miss the States more than anything. I did not get to go to the Winter Olympics; so I missed out on a few things, but in the end, it did help me out a lot.

Q. What's the first thing you'll do when you get home?

VENUS WILLIAMS: Eat some candy.

Q. I want to ask you, after Wimbledon, you said you were going to buy yourself a watch to celebrate. What are you going to get celebrate being No. 1?

VENUS WILLIAMS: I never got that watch.

Q. You never got that watch?

VENUS WILLIAMS: It was much more -- at this point, really, I will just kind of give a little pat on the back.

Q. And I want to talk a little bit what role the god, Jehovah, has had in reaching your goals?

VENUS WILLIAMS: I think more than anything just help me keep things in perspective and knowing that tennis, it's not the only thing, the only hope I have in life. So that's really helped me a lot, to realize this is just for now and that there's always a later.

Q. And do you want to give a shout out to anybody at home?

VENUS WILLIAMS: Everybody in south Florida and thanks for supporting me.

Q. Are you playing the NASDAQ 100 Open?

VENUS WILLIAMS: I am and I can't wait to get there. Last year I had an incredible time and an incredible finals match against Capriatti. That was one of my most favorite matches I've ever played. I'm hoping to return there and get a chance for the title again.

JIM FUHSE: Venus' next event will be the NASDAQ 100 where she will be the defending champion. And Jennifer Capriatti, the runner-up, has also entered, so they will likely be 1 and 2 in the event. So, we will look forward to that.

Venus, thank you for participating and congratulations on No. 1.

2,282 Posts
Discussion Starter · #10 ·
You Are A Badd Girl For Life - Venus

February 25, 2002

Lisa Dillman:
On Tennis
Minority of One
Her ascent to No. 1 finally realized, Venus Williams definitely followed her own path.

Computer wisdom finally caught up with conventional wisdom in women's tennis today.

This is why the news that Venus Williams officially became No. 1 isn't more of a blockbuster announcement. If you walked into any sports bar last week--managing to pull fans away from curling and hockey--and quizzed people about the top-ranked player in the world, undoubtedly, the answer would have been Williams, not Jennifer Capriati.

Surely, hadn't Williams been No. 1 already after winning Wimbledon and the U.S. Open the last two years? And, if not, why had it taken so long? The computer is the partial culprit, much-maligned and all, but of course, not as much as Olympic figure skating judges or the bowl championship series. It artificially propped up Martina Hingis, who benefited by playing more and winning smaller, less prestigious events. Even Lindsay Davenport seemed slightly embarrassed by finishing last year ranked No. 1, admitting Williams was the true top player.

Williams, too, had something to do with the strangeness. She played a limited schedule last year, and no events after the U.S. Open because of the terrorist attacks and an injured wrist.

Just as quixotically, she took a different approach in 2002. Having been criticized for playing too little, she flipped that notion and has been in five tournaments the first eight weeks of the year.

Williams left her Florida home on Dec. 27 for Australia and has been on the road since, starting at Gold Coast, Queensland, winding through Paris and Antwerp, Belgium, and finishing in Dubai.

Call it coincidence or providence, but, in a larger sense, the timing couldn't have worked out better. Williams has become the first African-American, male or female, to be ranked No. 1 by their professional tennis association. Arthur Ashe reached No. 2 on the ATP's computer rankings in 1975, and Althea Gibson was ranked No. 1 in 1957 by a world panel, long before the WTA computer rankings started in 1975.

The historic moment arrived near the end of February, Black History Month. It came two days after another African-American player, Alexandra Stevenson--a childhood friend of Williams from their Southern California days--reached the tour final in Memphis, losing to Lisa Raymond. And it dawned only a day after another African-American, James Blake, played in the Memphis final against his Davis Cup teammate, Andy Roddick, also losing.

There were more than thoughts of Ashe and Gibson when Williams spoke about her latest accomplishment on a ragged phone line on Saturday from Dubai. An associate of Gibson's got on the conference call, warmly congratulated Williams, and said that Gibson wanted to personally offer kudos but was unable to do so.

"It would be foolish to forget Althea Gibson," Williams said. "She was the first. And more than anything, I just feel proud to represent America in my sport."

The dream--of winning Grand Slams and reaching No. 1--was not hers at the start. Richard Williams, her father, had the notion first when Venus and her younger sister Serena were growing up in Compton. He boldly predicted Venus would become No. 1. He even said Serena would be better than Venus, which did happen, briefly, when Serena won the U.S. Open in 1999.

"I thought he was telling the truth," Venus said of the No. 1 prediction. "I was just being the daughter of a proud father. And more than anything, I think he knew he put the work in and that we were listening to him, and I think that's why he had that confidence to say that myself and Serena would be Grand Slam champions.

"Right now, we are some of the best players in the game, I guess, in history, and I just think that I give a lot of credit to my dad for that."

Her mother and coach, Oracene, should receive just as much credit. She has been with her daughter since the start of this final determined charge toward No. 1. Increasingly, Williams has taken charge of her career as she has matured. At the Australian Open, she played through the pain of an injured knee, hinting she didn't consult her parents, and fought her way to the quarterfinals though hampered, losing to a resurgent Monica Seles.

Behind the scenes, she found support from her Italian boyfriend, Davide, who was with her in Australia as well as the European stretch and final stop in Dubai. It hasn't been easy. She played three consecutive weeks, the first time she had done so since October 1998.

In the Paris final, Williams defeated local favorite Amelie Mauresmo and took on another local favorite, Justine Henin, a week later in the Antwerp final. Williams has won three titles this year and lost in the semifinals to Sandrine Testud of France on Friday in Dubai.

"I did intend to be on the road," said Williams, who added the Antwerp tournament when she realized how close she was to No. 1. "I gave my full commitment for the first two months of the year. I knew it would be really tough, and mentally I've prepared to not be at home. But I really miss my dog ... and I miss Serena too. I miss the States more than anything. I haven't really had a chance to watch the Olympics, so I missed out on a few things."

Lately, the reigns at No. 1 have been short. Williams is the fourth player in the last five months to reach No. 1. Capriati, Davenport and Hingis are the others. Williams and her sister Serena will not be playing at Indian Wells next week, not surprising after last year's controversy, in which they were booed by the crowd. Venus pulled out of a scheduled semifinal against Serena because of an injury.

"Well, all in all, it was just basically an incredible scene last year in Indian Wells, but that's part of sports, playing with the good and the bad," Venus said.

Whether she is passed by Capriati this week in Scottsdale or by not playing at Indian Wells, Williams doesn't appear overly concerned. She reached No. 1 her special way, and why be any different now?

"I think the best part is that I've enjoyed myself along the way and that I have not limited myself just to playing tennis or made myself believe that that's the only thing in life," she said. "I've always been doing things at the same time and having a career; for me that's the best part."

2,282 Posts
Discussion Starter · #11 ·
They Just Can't Touch This - Venus

Williams looks back from the summit
In an exclusive interview, the Wimbledon champion and new world No 1 reflects on her predecessors at the pinnacle of the game
By John Roberts in Dubai
25 February 2002
Venus Williams may be the world No 1 today, but enough is enough. It was time to confront her with the injustice of there being two great tennis players in the same house in America, Venus and her younger sister, Serena, when there is not a single female contender to write home about in the whole of Britain. There ought to be a law against it. Two-player families should be banned.

She responded with a hearty laugh, prompting a change of tack in an attempt to dig up evidence of normality in the lives of the multi-millionaire superstar siblings. For example, do they, back home in Palm Beach Gardens, Florida, have a rota for the household chores or do they play it by ear? ("It's your turn for the dishes, Serena, and I did the vacuum cleaning yesterday...").

Venus shook her head. "No, we don't clean. Using a vacuum cleaner gives me a sore back. We do tidying. We keep our closets clean and all that kind of thing. But as far as dishes, I won't wash a dish. And Serena doesn't vacuum. We have a dishwashing machine, but I don't like those things."

Surely there must be points of contention off the court as well as on it? "Serena never buys groceries," Venus said. "I think I've spoiled her. I'll go to the store and I'll buy them, and I'll make sure the house is stocked with eats and drinks, everything. And I'll look in the fridge and say: 'I just bought three bottles of orange juice, where are they?' And I just bite my lip and buy more."

Serena may find the cupboards bare for the next week or so. Venus would like to "go into a little coma" on returning from the Dubai Duty Free Open to help her recover from "mental exhaustion", tendinitis and muscle strains after an early-season campaign which has enabled her to climb to the summit of the game, adding prestige to her $9.6m (£6.7m) prize-money, plus further millions from endorsements.

Venus Williams is the first African-American player to be ranked No 1 by the computer. Not even Arthur Ashe achieved that. So how old was she when she first thought about becoming No 1? "About six," she said softly, smiling mischievously and recalling her childhood on the park courts of Compton, California.

"When I was young I thought I could beat any player, I really did. I thought I could beat John McEnroe. I thought I was the tops. I thought I was everything. I found out I wasn't, but it was nice. My Mum and Dad said: 'So you think you can beat John McEnroe? Well, maybe you can do it'."

Asked to discuss the nine world No 1s who have preceded her since the computer rankings were introduced to the women's game in 1975 (five years before Williams was born), she said her knowledge of some was sketchy, starting with Chris Evert, the cool blonde from Florida who won 18 Grand Slam singles titles and spawned a generation of American baseliners.

"I only remember her last major match in her career [a loss to Zina Garrison in the quarter-finals of the 1989 US Open]. I was nine. That's when I first remember tennis. Really all I know about her is pretty much what I've heard, because I've never seen her play except in television clips."

Martina Navratilova, the nine-times Wimbledon champion, presents a sharper image. "She revolutionised the game, for sure, made people work harder. She was the forerunner of power tennis."

Navratilova said in her day people used to remark about her fitness, power and athleticism, but the 6ft 1in Williams has taken the game to a new level. "It is definitely a different game," Williams agreed. "I think it would be a shame if tennis had regrets, but just like everything else in this world, technology and all that kind of thing, everything's moving forward. So that's what's going to happen. After me there will be better girls, and I'll just sit back and watch it."

Tracy Austin, a teenage wonder with bunches in her hair and braces on her teeth, won the US Open singles title in 1979 and 1981. "I only know what I've heard about her," Williams said. "I've never really seen her play, except for one match on Classic Sports on television. Tennis has changed a lot since then. At that time she was the cream of the crop."

There is no doubt in Williams' mind about Steffi Graf, who in 1988 won a "golden Grand Slam" of the four major championships plus the Olympic Games singles title in Seoul. "She was really a great champion. Twenty-two Grand Slams. I've got four," she said in a mock whimper. "I was hoping to get a few more. I'm not sure if I'll ever get that achievement, but I've done well for myself. More than anything, I think Steffi really had the mental game down pat."

Williams also admires Monica Seles, the winner of nine Grand Slam singles titles, whose career was all but wrecked by a stabbing in the back by a deranged spectator. Seles remains a rival at the age of 28. "I really think she was one of the only ones to challenge Steffi Graf, because Steffi Graf was dominating the game and Navratilova and Evert and all the other players couldn't touch her. But Monica came along and offered the first challenge. So she did a lot for the game."

Arantxa Sanchez-Vicario, the Barcelona retriever, a winner of four Grand Slam singles titles and twice a runner-up at Wimbledon, "made the best of her game and her abilities, and she gave it her all. When she gets to the end of her career she will know that she did everything that she could do."

Martina Hingis, unlike the Williams sisters, came through the junior ranks – she was 12 when she won the girls' title at French Open – and became the youngest player to win a Grand Slam singles championship (16 years, three months, 26 days at the 1997 Australian Open) since the 15-year-old Lottie Dod at Wimbledon in 1887. Hingis last won a Grand Slam singles title, her fifth, at the 1999 Australian Open. In spite of her clever game, she has struggled to overcome the bigger hitters.

"When Martina came on the scene people had a tough time figuring out her game, and that gave her a lot of success," Williams said. "More than anything, you can see that she loves winning, she hates losing, and that contributed a lot to her success. I think she came in at a great time. Steffi was injured, and the top player at that point was maybe Arantxa. Lindsay [Davenport] was still developing. I was in high school. But I think when Martina capitalised on her game that was a great time."

Lindsay Davenport, tall and powerful, worked hard to trim her figure and improve her mobility. She has been rewarded with three Grand Slam singles titles: the United States Open, Wimbledon and the Australian Open. "The thing about Lindsay is that she's always hit the ball, win, lose or draw. That's really the sign of a champion, someone who's going to go for it all the way. Eventually it paid off."

Jennifer Capriati, the troubled teenager who redeemed herself in her mid-twenties by winning the Australian Open and French Open singles titles last year, successfully defended the Australian championship last month, defeating Hingis in the final for the second consecutive time.

"Jennifer came back and made it happen at one of the most competitive points in women's tennis history," Williams said. "So that's no fluke at all. She's probably making a lot more of her decisions and doing things that make her comfortable."

Before the advent of computer rankings, generations of women players were acknowledged to be the best of their time. Among these was Althea Gibson, an African-American who learned the game on the public courts of Harlem, New York, and had to overcome racial prejudice before she could make her mark in the major championships.

The athletic Gibson was aged 28 when her breakthrough came at the French Championships in 1956. She went on to win singles titles at Wimbledon and the US Championships in both 1957 and 1958. Williams, who has talked with Gibson, is aware of the debt today's multi-milllionaires owe the pioneers, not least Billie Jean King, winner of a record 20 Wimbledon titles between 1961 and 1979 (six singles, 10 women's doubles and four mixed doubles), and a driving force in the campaign for equal prize-money.

"Tennis has a great history," Williams said. "I actually read Billie Jean's book [You've Come a Long Way, Baby]. I liked it a lot. I stayed up late reading it to finish it."

King's influence now extends to the United States Fed Cup and Olympic teams. "She's a great captain," said Williams. "I've never seen anyone who loves the game as much as Billie Jean King. I couldn't come close."

Williams' next major goal is to add the French Open to her roll of honour. "I've just had bad luck there," she said, "and I've made bad decisions. In '97 I just didn't know how to win. In '98 I tried to hit the ball too hard, because the previous time I played on clay I hit it too soft. In '99 I got over-confident. I had three match points. In 2000 I was just coming back from injury. My mind was there, but I just couldn't get my game to do what I wanted. I could visualise it, but I just couldn't do it."

Last year she lost in the first round to Barbara Schett, of Austria, 6-4, 6-4. "I had one bad day – finished. I couldn't hit a ball in that day. Grass, or hard court, or indoors, I wouldn't have won that day. I've just got to get myself together."

Like at Wimbledon. "Wimbledon's my first love. You could end your career after you win Wimbledon. A good result, semi-finals, is just not enough once you've won. I'm hoping to garner it for the next 10 or 15 years, just hold on to it, if I could," she said, hugging herself as if the Venus Rosewater Dish was right there in the clutches of Venus Ebone Starr Williams.

2,282 Posts
Discussion Starter · #14 ·
And The Clock Struck Twelve


Tuesday, 26 February, 2002, 14:47 GMT
Rankings recognise Venus rising

Venus Williams can blow her opponents off court
By BBC Sport Online's James Standley
So the WTA rankings finally confirm what everyone has known for a while: Venus Williams is the finest female tennis player in the world.

Tall, powerful, intelligent and stunningly athletic, Williams' all-court game has long threatened to redefine women's tennis.

Williams is the first black woman to claim the number one spot since the rankings were introduced in 1975.

Along with Althea Gibson, who Williams name-checked on being awarded the number one accolade, Arthur Ashe was the first black tennis player to break through.

Number ones since 75
Steffi Graf 378 weeks
Martina Navratilova 331
Chris Evert 262
Martina Hingis 209
Monica Seles 178
Lindsay Davenport 37
Tracy Austin 22
Arantxa Sanchez-Vicario 11
Jennifer Capriati 9
Venus Williams 1 (and counting)
Ashe - an individual respected far beyond the confines of the tramlines - wrote in his book A Hard Road to Glory: "In every sport we (African-Americans) enter in large numbers, we change how it's played and coached."

Watching Williams jump on a half-court ball and dispatch it with immense power and unerring precision, it is hard not to agree.

Ever since a generation ago, when Martina Navratilova revolutionised women's tennis with her own brand of speed and power, the game has been changing.

The traditional virtues of placement and subtlety, embodied by the likes of Martina Hingis and Justine Henin in the modern game, still have their place.

But increasingly they are not enough against the very best.

Lindsay Davenport and Jennifer Capriati, along with Hingis the two women who held the number one ranking before Williams, both have power in abundance.

Williams beat sister Serena to win the 2001 USA Open

But increasingly Williams looks to be taking the game into a different realm.

Four Grand Slam titles in the last two years, plus double gold at the 2000 Olympics, suggest Williams has been the dominant player over the last couple of seasons.

So why has it taken her so long to ascend to the number one spot?

The reason is simple - she has played so little tennis compared to her rivals.

Williams competed in just 12 events in 2001, winning six, but compatriot and former world number one Lindsay Davenport played in 17 - and that despite missing two-and-a-half months with a knee injury.

Williams' frequent absence from the court enabled Martina Hingis to rack up 209 weeks at the top of the tree, even though she was invariably overpowered by the American whenever the two met.

The past two months I have been able to play without pain and that's done a lot for me

World number one

Venus Williams

But whereas Hingis, who has not won a Grand Slam since the 1999 Australian Open, is the ultimate tennis junkie, traipsing round the world in search of points, Williams has been content to play as and when she feels like it.

Many in the game have questioned her dedication to the sport, and she has spoken of her desire to quit the game entirely once she stops playing.

But she claims that she has not played more because her body has not been up to it.

"Physically has been one of my problems in the past," she said on assuming the No.1 position.

"The past two months I have been able to play without pain and that's done a lot for me."

If the willowy Williams is now physically strong enough to play more regularly, and shows the desire to do so, then Venus can eclipse her rivals for many years to come.

2,282 Posts
Discussion Starter · #15 · (Edited)
Trunk & Truck On - Venus

New World No. 1: Venus Takes Top Spot

Venus Williams By Richard Pagliaro

Venus Williams woke up on top of the world today. The 21-year-old Williams surpassed Jennifer Capriati to officially take over the top spot in the WTA Tour rankings. Williams is the first African-American player since Arthur Ashe in 1975 to hold the No. 1 ranking and joins Althea Gibson as the second African-American woman to rise to No. 1. Both Gibson and Ashe rose to No. 1 before the advent of the computer rankings.

"When you're on a professional tour, you don't aspire to be No. 3 or No. 2," said Williams, who is the fourth woman in the last five months to earn the No. 1 ranking. "Normally you do your best to become the best. At this point, I am the best player in the world, so that's exciting and it's going to be mine at least a week."

The two-time Wimbledon winner is the 10th woman in the history of the WTA Tour rankings to hold the No. 1 ranking. She joins a distinguished list of champions that includes Steffi Graf (No. 1 for 378 weeks), Martina Navratilova (No. 1 for 331 weeks), Chris Evert (No. 1 for 262 weeks), Martina Hingis (No. 1 for 209 weeks), Monica Seles (No. 1 for 178 weeks), Lindsay Davenport (No. 1 for 37 weeks), Tracy Austin (No. 1 for 22 weeks), Arantxa Sanchez-Vicario (No. 1 for 11 weeks) and Jennifer Capriati (No. 1 for 9 weeks).

The trip to the top of tennis has been an enjoyable journey for Williams, who now faces the challenge of trying to maintain her prominent place at the summit of the sport.

"Right now, it's just been great getting there, but it's another thing staying there, Williams said. "So I just have to be dedicated and more than anything, keep enjoying the game, because at any point it becomes a burden, at least to me, that's when it's a problem."

The Tour leader with three tournament titles this season — Gold Coast, Antwerp and Paris — Williams returned home to Florida to celebrate with her family and conclude a two-month road trip that took her to the top of tennis.

"My special plan would be just to get home, finally," Williams said. "It's been a long time on the road. I think I'm just looking forward to getting home and getting some rest with my family."

Prior to her turning pro on October 31st, 1994, Venus's father and coach, Richard Williams, boldly predicted that Venus and Serena Williams would someday be the top two ranked players in the world. Venus, who was lovingly characterized as a "Ghetto Cinderella" by Richard Williams, said she never felt burdened by trying to live up to her father's prediction. Her rise to the top is the fulfillment of a family dream that completes a remarkable journey from the cracked public courts of Compton, California to Centre Court at Wimbledon.

"I thought he was telling the truth," Venus said of her father. "I was just being the daughter of a proud father. And more than anything, I think he knew he put the work in and that we were listening to him, and I think that's why he had that confidence to say that myself and Serena would be Grand Slam champions. Right now, we are some of the best players in the game, I guess, in history, and I just think that I give a lot of credit to my dad for that. I just think that he's head over heels. He's going to give me a few pointers to try to stay on top."

Though she has trained to become the best in the game since she was a child, Venus has often appeared ambivalent about assuming the top spot. While she is unquestionably one of the most talented players on the Sanex WTA Tour, Williams has been reluctant to commit to a complete schedule. Her reluctance to play more frequently has prevented her from accumulating enough ranking points to seize the top spot. But her strong start to the 2002 season may signal a renewed commitment to playing more regularly.

The two-time U.S. Open champion has been a powerful presence in most major tournaments over the past two years, but her career has also been marked by prolonged periods of inactivity. While she is aiming to play 15 tournaments this year, Williams readily admits that she feels playing too much tennis is monotonous and that her time away from the game is equally important as success on the court.

"That's the way I am," Williams said. "I get bored very easily and if I spent all my time playing tennis it would start to bore me. I have a great job and most of the time I enjoy it, but I need to do other things in my life. I would like to win the French Open and I would like to be No. 1. But I realize I need to play more to achieve that and I don't know if I'm determined enough to do that."

2,282 Posts
Discussion Starter · #16 ·
See You Soon In Florida - Venus

Venus - on top of the world.

By Andy Schooler,

It's finally over.

One of the great anomalies of tennis has ben put right - Venus Williams is officially on top of the world.

Most fans of the women's game have known for some time that Williams was indeed the best player on the WTA circuit.

In fact few doubted it from the time she won her first Grand Slam title at Wimbledon in 2000 and then went off on an amazing run which saw her dominate the sport for the next six months.

It was a similar tale at the end of last season as the elder of sport's most famous sisters retained her Wimbledon and US Open titles in fine fashion.

But the rankings did not reflect that view.

Instead we had Martina Hingis' reign as number one stretched out for an all-too-long period, despite her constant failure to add to her Grand Slam title tally.

Williams made out she wasn't bothered about playing second, third or even fourth fiddle in the ranking list, but I don't buy that.

Now she will be recognised the world over as officially the best and that recognition in fans' eyes is something a little special.

For some time, I for one have championed Williams, saying she can go on to dominate the game if she so chooses.

If Hingis ruled the roost as number one for four years (209 weeks in all), Williams was all the weapons to more than match that, even in this much more competitive age.

The question remains, does she want to?

The main reason she has not reached number one before now is her refusal to play as busy a schedule as her peers such as Jennifer Capriati and Lindsay Davenport, both of whom have tasted the top slot in recent months.

Davenport finished 2001 as number one and rightly so - she had won more matches on the tour than any other player and was consistent to the hilt.

But was she the best player? Not in my opinion.

Had Williams have played more often, she would have toppled her fellow American, no question.

However, the signs for Williams fans are good for 2002, at least so far.

No-one can doubt her commitment over first two months of the tour when her schedule has been jam-packed.

Already three tournament victories have been achieved and the only factor that has prevented total dominance has been her quarter-final defeat to Monica Seles at the Australian Open.

But even that was surrounded by injury doubts.

It would be brilliant for fans the world over if Williams keeps this up.

But given what has gone before, you have to wonder.

Williams has tended to skip tournaments sister Serena plays in and it is interesting to note that the younger Williams has been injured over the past month as Venus added two more titles to her collection.

And one of those came in Brussels - an event she only entered after Serena withdrew.

One bi-product of both Williamses light schedule has been a highly competitive tour with Capriati and Davenport among those benefiting.

And when Venus could not deal with Seles, for whatever reason, in Melbourne, Capriati was there to capitalise.

It is perhaps a little harsh on Capriati, a player with great fighting ability, to suggest she is clearly second best to Williams.

After all, she has won three of the last five Slams to Williams' two.

But put Williams on the tour week in, week out and you'd soon see who's best.

Capriati has yet to beat Williams in her career and would undoubtedly suffer if such defeats were coming every couple of months around the globe.

And it's not just Capriati she holds the Indian sign over. There is hardly a player on the tour who holds a winning record over Williams.

So, Venus it's up to you.

2,282 Posts
Discussion Starter · #17 ·
You're So Coooool - Venus

Venus To Host Clinic For Kids On Wednesday

Venus Williams By Richard Pagliaro

Newly-crowned No. 1 Venus Williams is preparing to defend her Nasdaq 100 title with an educational experience on Wednesday. The fashion-school student will take her turn as teacher when she hosts a clinic for kids at Wolk Park in Lauderhill, Florida.

The two-time Wimbledon winner will conduct the clinic from 11:45 a.m. to 1 p.m. Wolk Park is located at 1080 42nd Way in Lauderhill. In addition to hitting with the children who attend, Williams will discuss the importance of education with the 150 boys and girls representing the South Florida Youth Tennis Program, Smart School Charter Middle, Lauderhill Middle School, and Phyl's Academy Preparatory School, as well as adults from the Sadkin Senior Center. The South Florida Youth Tennis Program was named one of the top 10 Community Tennis Associations in the United States by Tennis Week.

Her stop at Wolk Park is the first of several planned for this year where Venus will travel across the world to visit with children to share her insight on education and athletics. She is scheduled to visit the Southeast Tennis and Learning Center in Washington, D.C. next month.

2,282 Posts
Discussion Starter · #18 ·
Venus' Last Year's Interview - The One Where She Saved 8 Match Points

IMO - Venus sounded a little tired after this interview. Bless her heart. She had been thru sooooooo much to finally see it done.

That's our girl - though. What a trooper. Hopefully, Venus will win it for the fourth time. Yet - if she stumbles, I wonder who will topple her. God forbid. But - one just can't win it all - all the time. And until Venus is replaced, they "Just Can't Touch This."




V. WILLIAMS/J. Capriati
4-6, 6-1, 7-6
An Interview With:

THE MODERATOR: First question, please.

Q. Did you ever win a match saving 8 matchpoints?

VENUS WILLIAMS: No, I haven't. This-- I guess there is a first for everything. She missed a few shots. I was able to stay in there.

Q. When she hit that passing shot on one of the matchpoints, when you let it go, you were thinking it could go in or --

VENUS WILLIAMS: Well I don't think I really had a really great play on it. I had some play on it but not all the best and it went long, so, I was back in it again. I just kept getting back in it some way or another. Then, I had breakpoints and kind of ruined those, but I was just really trying to just take advantage of my opportunities and eventually I was able to.

Q. Earlier in the tournament, Venus, you said I think we have learned a lesson how people can be. Two days ago you were jeered by most of the stadium. Today you got tremendous applause and held up the winner's trophy. What lesson can we learn or you learn from the two different days?

VENUS WILLIAMS: I think both Saturdays are exact opposites. But I don't think there is anything to learned to be honest. Just a nice match.

Q. But it felt good after all you went through before to emerge the victory here today?

VENUS WILLIAMS: No, I don't think it had anything to do with it. That was two weeks ago in Indian Wells. It was a different crowd and I can't expect people to like me just because I am a good person. They don't know that. They don't know me. And most of them will never have the opportunity to even meet me. So I have got to like myself, that is how I feel.

Q. Can you remember the last time you played Jennifer in 1997, how do you think she has changed and how do you think you have changed?

VENUS WILLIAMS: I play a lot smarter. I played more percentages I think. But even then it was nice not even to play smart because you go for broke and that kind of makes you even a greater player. I think she is playing a lot better. She adds a lot more spin on the ball. She has always moved very well and she has even stepped that up some. So I think most of all mentally she is a lot tougher.

Q. How physically and emotionally draining is a match that long? I am sure you get a little perky when you win -- but...


Q. Talk about that process.

VENUS WILLIAMS: I just think the heat was a major factor today because it was so hot that I think it took a lot out of both of us. If it had been a cooler day it probably would have been much easier to go out there and run, run, run. I think most of all it was the heat but we both pushed each other to the limit.

Q. Was there ever a point you thought you were going to lose?

VENUS WILLIAMS: Not really, no. I just didn't feel like that. I just-when I was facing my matchpoints I just kept telling myself what to do at the right time, everything that my dad had told me to do, that is what I tried to do. And I never really felt like I was going to lose. I felt disappointed when I lost serve those two times to go down 5-4 and 6-5. That is the only time I felt badly.

Q. What sort of things has your dad told you to do when you are matchpoint down?

VENUS WILLIAMS: Really just the basics, look at the ball, stay down, hit your topspin, turn your hips, all those little things that are really important under pressure.

Q. The dropshots seemed to keep her a little off balance as well. Then she tried to hit you with a couple of them. How much did that help to get you past those match points?

VENUS WILLIAMS: I have a really good drop shot especially off the forehand side and really I had her on the run and on the rope and she was far behind the baseline. It just seemed like a good idea when I hit them to hit the dropshots because she was far away, and she really -- she ran most of them down. I actually had to hit a shot afterwards, so.....

Q. You have had a quite a bit of success here. Is there an advantage -- have you ever been sleeping at home first of all?


Q. Do you consider this your home tournament; is that why you feel so good here?

VENUS WILLIAMS: I feel good here because I feel like I have all the conveniences of home even though I am not exactly at home. I do stay in the hotel because it means about hour an 45 minute drive for me. It is too far. It is too exhausting to drive so far. Plus if you run into traffic it could be longer. The way Miami is, normally I take the turnpike because I95 is not just reliable anymore.

Q. Serena was asked to summarize last week's tournament in terms of just one term or phrase and she did a good job. If you had to summarize this week and the results here in just a word or a phrase what would that word or that phrase be?

VENUS WILLIAMS: I just think I was just able to hang in there through it all, through all my tough matches, through any ridiculous comments or questions that I had to face and things move on. Time moves on, things pass. So that is how I feel.

Q. What is your schedule look like in the next couple of weeks?

VENUS WILLIAMS: Home. I am a little tired, little broken. (Laughs) I am tired of taping because it really pulls your skin off. It is irritating and it is tough to get the spray off and I am -- I don't like the tape. So I am going to go home and train so hopefully when I am playing my next tournaments I won't have to -- I don't really like have to go out there and rely on my tape to get me through the matches. So I am really happy that this has been the last day of my competitions.

2,282 Posts
Discussion Starter · #19 ·
It's Your Thing - Venus

Tennis in perspective
The game is just part of Venus Williams' world
[email protected]

She has tennis to thank for the stunning triangular pendant depicting a phoenix that rests on the base of her neck. For the television crews taking numbers and waiting to record her words. For unbelieving bystanders digging for their disposable cameras while professional photographers point foot-long lenses at her.

Observe Venus Williams in just about any setting and the riches, fame and celebrity her sport has brought her is evident. Though not as outwardly apparent, but perhaps more impressive, are the things she has refused to let tennis take away.

Williams, the defending Nasdaq-100 champion, concludes her first stretch atop the WTA Tour rankings today. Unlike many players, she got there without giving up more than she wanted.

''It's something my parents taught us before playing great tennis,'' said Williams, who begins this week trying for a fourth title in five years at the Tennis Center at Crandon Park. ``They taught us the values of life, and I realized tennis isn't the only life I'll have, or the most important thing in my life. More important is for me to be happy, and right now I am happy with what I'm doing.''

Though neither Williams nor Jennifer Capriati played this week's Pacific Life Open, Capriati will regain the No. 1 spot based on Williams losing the points she earned reaching the 2001 semifinals. Many felt Williams was the world's best player long before the computer concurred last month. But Williams won't feel pressed to prove it.

She'll continue playing what she considers a manageable amount of tennis, leaving ample time for other pursuits. On April 6, she'll take part in the second annual JP Morgan Chase Tennis Challenge at the Delray Beach Tennis Center to raise money for mother Oracene's learning foundation. Wednesday, she will visit with kids from the South Florida Youth Tennis Program and several Lauderhill schools to speak about her commitment to education.

Venus and younger sister Serena can't give you a graduation date, but they're chipping away at associates' degrees from the Art Institute of Fort Lauderdale.

Venus is 13 classes (26 credits) away. Serena Williams joked the two-year program might take closer to 20 years, but come this fall chances are one or both will take tennis sabbaticals to concentrate on the books.

If the elder Williams had regularly played a full compliment of post-U.S. Open events, she would have long since become No. 1.

''From watching her and seeing her schedule, while the No. 1 thing was certainly a goal, she didn't need to accomplish it while changing her schedule before she was ready to make those adjustments,'' ESPN tennis analyst and 2002 Tennis Hall of Fame inductee Pam Shriver said. ``It came at the right time for her. I really admire the way she's gone about it, almost systematically. She didn't need to chase No. 1. She felt like it would happen in its correct time. It was there waiting for her if she wanted to do it sooner. She could have reached it by playing a few more tournaments.''

Added Oracene Williams: ``It paves the way for others. It's important because even though sports takes up a certain amount of time, what's the rest of your life like? That's what that is, to be able to transcend into that next life outside of sports. [Venus and Serena] are working very hard to go to schools and talk to kids.''

Venus Williams admires Pete Sampras. She named a dog after him and conceivably could one day match his Grand Slam title total (13), but she's only willing to emulate him to a certain degree. Sampras has talked about tennis dominating his life the six years he spent at No. 1 (1993-98).

Don't look for Williams to boost her tournament schedule for the sake of remaining atop the rankings. She can only take the sport in set doses without her interest waning.

Following the Australian Open, Williams played events in consecutive weeks in Paris, Antwerp and Dubai, winning two of them. She spent almost two months away from her Palm Beach Gardens home, an exhausting stretch she's in no rush to repeat.

''It's been great getting [to No. 1], but it's another thing staying there,'' said Williams, the Nasdaq-100's second seed behind Capriati. ``I just have to be dedicated and more than anything keep enjoying the game, because at any point it becomes a burden. At least to me, that's when it's a problem.

``Tennis never got boring. For me and for my personality, I have to keep it exciting and mix it up. If I play too much I feel exhausted. I feel like I need to be doing other things. . . . I'd love to stay [No. 1], but I don't know if I would be able to play 22 events in a year to stay there. I'd like to stay at a comfortable level. Seventeen or 18 events is great.''

Williams also has an injury history to consider. If she heeded the critics and tried playing additional events, maybe her body would have broken down more than it already has. Her fall layoffs also might have something to do with why Williams has not dominated early in seasons like she does in the summer at Wimbledon and the U.S. Open.

With four majors and almost $10 million in career tennis earnings, nobody is accusing Williams of not doing enough. Shriver hasn't come across any philosophies that propose tennis tunnel-vision as the best way to remain on top.

''If people believe there's not time for anything else in your life but tennis, they're wrong,'' Shriver said. ``There definitely is time to have other activities to balance out your life.

'In [Williams'] case, the school bit, she has to be off the road if she attends class. It's a great balance to make her life more fulfilling, more round in a way, and maybe even takes a little bit of pressure off the tennis. The way [Venus and Serena] have done it can be a real case study on how to do it right.''

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