“Serena Williams and her sister Venus deserve more respect and we should cherish them while we can”
6:05PM GMT 27 Jan 2015
Much respect to Charlie Eccleshare for his insightful article in The Telegraph.
Permit me to share eight specific things I greatly appreciate about his piece.
#1: He begins with an acknowledgement that as a sport, tennis, is most unforgiving on the body. Indeed it is a remarkable feat that at 34 Serena Williams is again at the World #1 ranking and has remained at the top for 100 weeks and counting! And with the 2015 Australian Open Title she has moved on from the ‘Elite 18’ grand slam club.
Juxtapose that with her elder sister’s rise once again to the top echelon all while battling the debilitating fatigue effects of Sjögren’s syndrome – which cannot be cured – only managed.
#2: The media seems blind to the historical significance of the new ground the Williams sisters are forging into as their careers continue past age 30! All the while praising Roger Federer’s continuing achievements at this point in his 30s. Quite confounding is this fact, since Serena and Serena alone is the only player in the entire tennis world who continues to dominate past age 30! And if you missed her match in the quarters of the Australian Open, defeating Cibulkova 6-2, 62, you damn straight missed tennis played with finesse and greatness!
#3: All but ignored is that Venus’s renaissance is nothing short of amazing, as he points out that despite having seven majors, her desire is to keep playing; as she chooses to push past the pain and required sacrifice. Quoting the writer: “When it was Andre Agassi and Jimmy Connors doing similar things, the pundits were falling over themselves reaching for the superlatives.”
#4: He lays to rest the chatter that swirled nonstop about the “outside interests” of the Williams Sisters. Though many questioned their commitment, the records speak loudly in response: Serena wins the US Open to claim her 18th singles grand slam title 15 years after her first. And Venus won her 46th title in Auckland to begin the year.
#5: I join the author in his admiration of how for 17 years Venus and Serena remain positive, classy examples in how they handle the media and naysayers. Yet like him I too am disheartened by recent treatment at Grand Slams, with tournament schedulers showing a lack of respect due these champions. [My example: World #1 Serena was not scheduled on Centre Court for her first match at this year’s Australian Open. Un.Believe.Able.]
To highlight this point further he cites this fact: “…when Pete Sampras had to play just one match on Court Two in 2002, he complained of a lack of respect. At last year’s Wimbledon, Venus, who has won five singles titles and five doubles titles at SW19, was shunted to Court Two and then Court Three for her first two matches.”[Un.Believe.Able.]
#6: He challenges the double standard applied to the Williams sisters, who at the start of their careers, were described as bold and confrontational, it continues today especially for Serena. He mentions two incidents that detractors speak of ad nauseam, the disputes with US Open officials, first in 2009 and 2011. And he answers the double standard treatment with a question: “Didn’t John McEnroe and Connors use to do this sort of thing pretty often?” To which I’m adding this, it wasn’t just several incidents, they built their entire careers on being loud, angry and confrontational. And at the time were adored and revered for it, same is true to this very day.
#7: We are encouraged to value watching and enjoying them while we still can. A personal aside, it was most disappointing to hear the American tennis media, pundits and the new head of the USTA [who tweeted] immediately announcing a “changing of the guard” right after Madison Keys won a three-set victory over Venus in the quarters of the Australian Open.
Two things come to mind: it was disrespectful treatment of one of American’s top two players for almost two decades who soon will rise in world ranking to close to top 10( if not within); and questionable wisdom – putting such pressure on the talented Madison Keys, as I recall what happened when the same was done to Melanie Odum and Donald Young.
#8: When contemplating answering the question: “So why are the Williams sisters treated differently?” Readers are admonished to consider media coverage of Nick Kyrgios as he shares this example: “– I personally like the Aussie’s swagger; a friend who I normally agree with on such matters thinks he’s “a bit of a p—-“. [About this…I have only one word in response – WELP]
Obrigado Charlie Eccleshare, heartfelt thanks to you for bravely challenging readers to look beyond answers that include only gender (it’s inferior women’s tennis) and personality (double standard that only men accepted as bold and confrontational)!
It is, sadly, a continuing divide in this world – race and color – and at the same time it is undeniable that the Williams sisters, Venus and Serena, are ‘supremely talented athletes’ who happen to be Black!
Teaching as they go too… while it is certainly true that no one is forced to like them, it is only the whim of a fool who would continue denying their greatness as tennis players.
CLICK Below to read the full Article→http://www.telegraph.co.uk/sport/tennis/williamssisters/11372906/Serena-Williams-and-her-sister-Venus-deserve-more-respect-and-we-should-cherish-them-while-we-can.html
NOTE: To the Tennis Establishment, I became an avid fan of tennis via my adoration of the Williams Sisters and now enjoy watching the game no matter who is playing! Another contribution from Venus and Serena…expanding & diversifying the tennis fan base.
humbly submitted by guestBlogger and devoted fan of the Williams Sisters…@BlackPearlMoi (twitter account)