“Thank Heaven for little girls, they grow up in the most delightful ways,” sings Maurice Chevalier in the classic movie ‘Gigi’. A most appropriate tribute song for tennis sisters Venus and Serena, only that refrain is best edited to…”they grow up in the most ‘winning’ ways.”
(Video of the song can be found at the bottom of this post.)
This story is about the time a man with a vision who saw it through to total fulfilment‼ Richard Williams, the father of tennis phenoms Venus and Serena, made the successful journey from a man who self-taught himself tennis fundamentals and then developed two Tennis Champions who changed the women’s game.
While only youngsters, the tennis world was swirling with rumblings about their athletic ability…
but only Father knew best about their champion acumen.
Early on Richards describes Venus as a Champion-To-Be, he said: “…she possesses the four qualities all champions have naturally – Rough, Tough, Strong; and mentally, unbelievably Sound.”
Yet he reserved speaking of greatness for his comments about Serena. Father Richard predicted her tenacity would enable her to soar: “…so strong, once she gets a hold of you she never let’s go and plays with anger better than any athlete‼
Watch and listen to the Williams Sisters, though adolescents, speak boldly and clearly of their dreams. Venus at the time only 12 had won all 63 of her junior tennis matches.
And not to be outdone in accomplishments 11-year-old little sister Serena had claimed victory in all but two of her 52 matches.
Let’s speak of dreams…the dream of Venus then was to win the title on the hallowed grounds of Wimbledon; and, for Serena, the desire to lift the trophy at the grand slam of her home country, the US Open.
The rest is a kind of amazing history, the achievement of both an America Dream along with a father’s belief he had champions-in-the making…still being played out, before our very delightful eyes. The sisters now in their 30s, continue to stun the tennis establishment and fans the world over.
For now…let’s go back to the time of the beginning of the careers of Venus and Serena Williams – two little girls from Compton – and their musings as they look to the future:
AND THANK HEAVEN FOR VENUS AND SERENA WILLIAMS…
and all joy they’ve given to us on court, bringing excellence in every match, and a reality that dreams matched with drive do come true‼ Now time to share that musical moment from one of my favorite movies – ‘Gigi’:
Business Insider lists Venus, a seven time Grand Slam Title holder and former World #1, along with seven other athletes as winning entrepreneurs. Athletes who brought their competitive drive and get-it-done mindset to the world of business, and succeeded in winning on a different kind of turf.
Along with climbing back to top 20 in Tennis World Rankings, Venus is founder and CEO of the clothing line, EleVen,
Since turning pro in 1995, Serena Williams has a jaw-dropping career total 19 Grand Slam titles, in the Open Era, second only to Steffi Graf (22). How did she get here…
For beginners, ‘stunned’ best describes the white establishment’s quintessential country-club sport when the Williams sisters first exploded on the tennis scene as young teens. When they were even younger someone commented to their father, Richard Williams, that he had the next Michael Jordan on his hands; Richard, who self-taught himself the fundamentals of tennis, famously commented:
” No brother man…I got the next ‘two’! ”
The tennis world marveled when on February 25, 2002 Venus became the first African American to become
World Number One.
About this historical achievement, Dad is on record saying words to this effect – while Venus is very good, her little sister is greatness personified.
The sisters really were dismissed and denigrated by many in the all-white tennis establishment, and when he forecast that Venus and Serena would become the top two players in the game, so was their father.
Yet to be acknowledged for his genius as a coach, Richard Williams was scoffed and laughed at, but as the famous quote goes:
“He who laughs last, laughs longest.”
SERENA…IN THE BEGINNING
Serena Williams was only 4 years old when she and sister, Venus, started hitting tennis balls. And at age 10 her record was 46-3 on the Junior USA Tour and her ranking – Number One – in her age division.
Turning pro in 1995 her determination was on full display as her ranking soared from number 304 to number 99.
Remember what transpired on that ranking climb, Serena defeated two top ten players on the way up, Monica Seles and Mary Pierce.
Amazingly only four years later, Serena followed up Althea Gibson’s feat of 1956, by becoming only the second African American to secure a grand slam women’s singles title. Winning at Flushing Meadows in 1999, the US Open – defeating Switzerland’s Martina Hingis in the women’s finals 6-3, 7-6 (7-4).
Backdrop to the story…as to why Serena winning her first grand slam title ‘here’ was so astounding to the lily-white tennis world: in 1997 her elder sister Venus at age 17 became the US Open’s first ‘unseeded’ women’s finalist in the Open Era. Well documented is the ‘open resentment’ Venus encountered during that tournament. (Check the cover of Sports Illustrated below) Venus was asked if she was tennis’ next Tiger Woods, her response is bold and true to factual reality:
“I would hope so,” Venus said. “He’s different from the mainstream, and in tennis I also am. I’m tall. I’m black. Everything’s different about me. Just face the facts.”
And the tennis world, if overwhelmed then, was much like the chorus of that song “You Ain’t Seen Nothing Yet”…when in 2002 Serena Jamika Williams followed up her Sister’s Act –
by becoming the World Number One too.
A magazine cover I favor very much features the most celebrated siblings ever in tennis history on its cover and reads: “Venus and Serena Serving From the Hip.” The story has since grown much deeper than that when it comes to closer inspection of the individual dispositions of these two
Being the baby sister myself, I appreciate and admire much Venus’s generosity of spirit, support and protectiveness of her younger sister. But these characteristics have been enormous factors in their face-offs on court, particularly early in their careers.
The primary distinction is that while younger sister has vocalized a preference for not having to face Venus, Serena has never seemed as conflicted about beating Venus – as Venus has demonstrated for her baby sister.
Remember the first Prime-Time Televised women’s final in US Open history, when she beat Serena, Venus slung her arms around her kid sister’s shoulders when it was over and whispered in her ear, “Let’s get out of here.”
Serena and Destiny
Also admirable is that without hesitation, and from the beginning, Serena embraced her own individual destiny. And for the record, Champion Serena Williams has shared openly that, regardless of the opponent she hates losing more than she loves winning.
And true to her father Richard William’s proclamation; Serena has become the greatest women’s champion the world has ever been fortunate enough to witness.
Further testimony to her greatness, the World Number One is not satisfied with her record 19 Grand Slam Titles, so stay tuned folks for the greatest match of competition ever is underway…Serena against Tennis World History!
WHY I ADORE SERENA WILLIAMS
I adore Serena for many reasons: that she is a woman of Faith; how she openly shares her journey to embracing and loving herself completely; the love she has for her family and genuine care for others; her dedication to her sport; and, her determination to live a full life outside of tennis; however my special admiration is reserved for Serena’s “Purity of Purpose”!
And I love music too and, its correlation to current affairs in life today; thus the song for the autobiographical movie about the undisputed “GREATEST” Muhammad Ali is deservedly a song the dominant and ‘GREAT’ Serena Williams, a woman of purpose, has earned in her sport such a tribute as well.
Ladies and gentlemen I present one of the greatest singers Whitney Houston [RIP] in Music Video performing “The Greatest Love Of All.”
submitted by a devoted fan of the William Sisters…@BlackPearlMoi (twitter account)
The Venus and Serena Williams
‘Sister Act’ at this year’s Australian Open continues to reverberate throughout the tennis world. Both are included in the February 10th TENNIS.com Top 25.
1. Serena Williams
An ailing Williams more than doubled the ace count of any other woman at the Australian Open, and she put on a serving clinic in the second set of the final against Maria Sharapova. Her request for coffee at the Hopman Cup, winning a 19th major, and announcing her return to Indian Wells have made it a pretty lively start to the season,
wouldn’t you say?
13. Venus Williams
Losing in the quarterfinals sucked: That was essentially what Williams said after Keys edged her. And it was great to hear; Venus wasn’t simply happy with ending a five-year quarterfinal drought at majors. Her two wins in Argentina in the Fed Cup pushed her singles record in the competition to 19-2.
Gold medalists Serena Williams of the United States and Venus Williams of the United States celebrate on the popdium during the medal ceremony for the Women’s Doubles Tennis on Day 9 of the London 2012 Olympic Game