JAMES BROWN SANG IT AND TENNIS CHAMPION – VENUS WILLIAMS – LIKE HIS SONG “DON’T TAKE NO MESS”

VENUS WITH DADThere was a moment in the Doha Open that brought to mind a James Brown song
“Papa Don’t Take No Mess” – when Venus Williams showed the world that she is very much her father Richard’s daughter!

Richard Williams, father of Venus and Serena, gives the 'Black Power' salute to raucous Indian Wells fans in 2001.
Richard Williams, father of Venus and Serena, gives the ‘Black Power’ salute to raucous Indian Wells fans in 2001.

VENUS SHOWDOWNVenus after winning her second round marathon match was met at the net by opponent Barbora Zahlavova-Strycova – apparently upset about some calls that went against her when Venus used the challenge system – was engaging in a stare down.

To the shock and awe of Strycova, Venus boldly and immediately confronted her:

VENUS GIVE HER A DON'T MESS WITH ME LOOK

“Was that look for something?” Williams asked.

CONFRONTATION“Well done?” Zahlavova-Strycova replied.

“OK, good,” Williams stated.

VENUS SHUT IT DOWN OK (3)

Time to tell it like it is…Venus “SHUT IT DOWN’‼

Which leads me to another song from the Godfather of Soul, James Brown: “Static – Don’t Start None Won’t be None”. And that is the message Venus demonstratively delivered, not just to Strycova…  

but to all players on tour.

WATCH VINE OF SHUTDOWN #GOTmeLMBO ‘-)

To shut this post down – the Venus Williams fans’ tweet below puts the hammer to the nail, about this tale…LOL‼

submitted by guest Blogger @BlackPearlMoi (twitter account)

TENNIS STAR VENUS WILLIAMS “CONFIDENCE” ROLE MODEL and RENAISSANCE CHAMPION

REPRINT of Women of Power article dated April, 18th, 2011:

Tennis Star Venus Williams is our “Confidence” Role Model, but it’s her other entrepreneurial ventures that makes her our Renaissance Champion

VENUS WOMAN OF CONFIDENCE

HOLDING COURT WITH VENUS WILLIAMS

BY CAROLYN LAWRENCE
PHOTOGRAPHY BY TOM SANDLER


Legendary tennis star Venus Williams will always be known as the first African American player to be ranked number one in the world.

Venus Williams World No.1. On February 25, 2002 . (Photo Source: www.tennisworld.usa.org)
Venus Williams World No.1. On February 25, 2002 . (Photo Source: http://www.tennisworld.usa.org)

(For pros, it’s apparently all about Grand Slams; as winner of seven, including five Wimbledon titles, she has that base covered.) Add to that an incredible 41 WTA tour titles, three Olympic gold medals and career prize winnings totalling in excess of $27 million, and her place in tennis history is – like the woman who earned it – well assured.

VENUS PROGRESSCombining focus, fierce determination and heroic physical prowess, she spent her teenage years clawing her way to the top-ranked position, winning numerous championships and breaking records. To date her universally feared 129 mph serve is the fastest ever recorded in women’s tennis.

VENUS WILLIAMS COME TO WIN BOOKBut that’s just the tennis. She currently has nine global sponsors behind her. Off the court Venus is a successful author, creative designer, entrepreneur and fashion icon as well as being the founding ambassador for the WTA UNESCO Gender Equality Program and has fought for equal pay for female athletes. [READ: Venus Williams’ Other Career as Equal Pay Activist : Revisiting ESPN Film’s Documentary ‘Venus Vs.’→http://wp.me/p1O3xi-z6]

VENUS SERVING UP STYLEThe young entrepreneur is also a uniquely creative designer, decorator and owner of V Starr Interiors, a successful interior design firm based in Palm Beach Gardens,Florida. In 2007, Venus launched her clothing line “EleVen,” the largest clothing ever launched by a female athlete. And prior to that worked with Reebok on her collaboration with famed designer Diane Von Furstenberg for her line of tennis clothes (the largest endorsement ever awarded to a woman athlete, at $40 million for five years). [See also “VENUS WILLIAMS ENTREPRENEUR: One of Business Insider’s Eight Athletes Winning On A Different Turf”→http://wp.me/p1O3xi-10D]

We tracked Venus down during her crazy training season to see just what it takes to build an unshakeable confidence on and off the court.


venussweetHow did you get to where you are today?

My story really starts with my parents. They gave us all the skills, not only me, but I have 3 older sisters and one younger sister and they gave us all the skills to do what we do today.

Our parents were a huge influence on all of us, family was huge for us, it still is. It’s been our base, we were told that our sisters are our best friends. So it was a family of women, 6 against 1. So we had the majority vote most of the time, I don’t know how he did it, but my dad really had a philosophy about things. He really gave us this entrepreneurial kind of mind and really did a lot.

My mom was a lot about balance, she’s extremely determined, a super nice person. My mom gave us that spiritual balance and just really a wonderful role model as a woman for all of us sisters. And together I think they really balance each other out. When one of them was being too hard, the other one was, you know kind of taking up the slack.

At what age did you first pick up a tennis racket?

I was about 3 years old when I first started playing. My dad had a vision that we would be great tennis players, and he read books about the game and taught himself. He then starting teaching us, and I loved it and was good from a young age.

What do you love about being on court?

The competition and knowing that when I play well I will win. And I want to be ahead of the curve.

We believe confidence is a critical element to women’s success and you certainly show it on and off the court, is this something you’ve always had, or have you earned it?

Confidence comes with preparation and meeting your goals. It also comes through the journey of success.

I believe to gain confidence, sports are instrumental, I encourage all young people to play sports. Of course it benefits everyone, of every age, but when you’re young it really teaches you these lessons of how you can push yourself, setting goals, achieving them, when you have a setback, really evaluating why and then making those changes to be successful. Those are lessons in life that are so invaluable. At the time when you’re a young person you don’t really realize, per se, you’re learning those lessons, but it’s really set in this pattern in life of hard work and dedication and learning and getting up when you fall down.

VENUS AND DADIn business, we often call those who help us advance a champion. Would you say your father has been yours?

My family is my champion. They are my coaches to this day, they are still working with us. My dad was usually on the court, but my mom would come out too. And if you know anything about my dad, you know that he can be this outspoken guy at times. He’s kind of calmed down a lot in the last few years. And my mom is this person on in the background smiling and you always see her clapping when there’s a good point even when the opponent won and sometimes you see her falling asleep in the stands (Laughter).

VENUS BELIEVE IN YOURSELFWhat are the most important lessons you’ve learned along the way to the top of your field?

First and foremost: Always believe in yourself! But there are a number of great lessons I’ve learned over the years.

Venus WilliamsCREATIVITY: There are always people who change the game. Steffi Graf and Monica Seles blew everyone off the court in their time. And the next wave, Serena and I were privileged enough to bring a new kind of power game… And really they say Serena and I changed the game, but it was actually my dad behind the scenes who changed the game with new footwork. It’s amazing what can be done when you approach the same thing but with a new solution.

HARD WORK, my parents taught us by example. My dad taught us a lot of hard work and most of all, is not to be afraid of hard work. You can’t be afraid to get in there and get your elbow wet. And you got to enjoy the challenge, just enjoy the battle.

Venus Williams of the U.S. runs to hit a return to Akgul Amanmuradova of Uzbekistan at the Wimbledon tennis championships in LondonDETERMINATION is extremely important. One of my mottos is, there’s always a way. There’s no such thing as not a way. I’m going to find a way and in my life I have never not found a way. So one of my mottos which I would like to share with you and then you can make a part of your life also is find a way.

One of the most important things is to LOVE WHAT YOU DO. There’s nothing better than getting up in the morning and knowing that you love what you do that day and you’re ready for that challenge and you’re going to embrace it and you’re going to enjoy that battle.

VISUALIZATION was a huge part of what we did. And I use those techniques off of the court too and maybe its not necessarily complete visualization, but a lot of it would be writing down my goals. Really be preparing for what the next step might be.

Venus Williams proudly displays her wares for winning her first of five Wimbledon women's singles title in 2000.
Venus Williams proudly displays her wares for winning her first of five Wimbledon women’s singles title in 2000.

“I remember the first time I won Wimbledon, my dad told me to go out there to the stadium court and just visualize. No crowds were in there, I just walked out there on the court, sit down and its really a serine moment because you’re in the Wimbledon Stadium. You walk out on the court and there’s no one there, it’s just you and the birds. And I sat there and I thought about what it would take for me to win this tournament and (closes her eyes) visualize myself on that match point, how would I handle that pressure. Visualize myself down break point and how would I come back from that and different things like that. Just all by  myself, so he really taught us how to prepare. PREPARATION IS KEY.”

My latest thing now is know the play. One of my strengths as a player on the court is I know the play. Even though I seems like this really tall, big, dominating bully on the court that I’m just over powering people in the back of my head I am taking in all these different things that are happening on the court at that moment. So if one person hits the ball on me and ok great shot, but I am kind of watching to see if they will do that again and if they do it a second time, then that’s the play. I know the play. I know what they’re doing. I know who my opponents are before they one on the court. I know what I’m up against and I’ve prepared 110% before I get out there. And if I have something that’s kind of going against me like an injury per say, how do I combat that, how can I be prepared to be ready for that kind of thing.

What has been your biggest obstacle?

Injuries have always been my biggest obstacle.

What is balance to you?

We had a really good balance growing up. My dad he was very… he was really interesting, there’s so many stories. If you read my book Come to Win there’s a lot of them in there about how my dad would teach us. But what I recall the most is my very first job was at 3 years old (Laughter) I know it’s not child labour (Laughter) but he had us delivering phonebooks, as a family we all had to deliver phonebooks. From the very beginning he had us working and instilling these values of hard work and really knowing that you have to do something for yourself and you start right from the very beginning.

VSTARRWhat does life look like after tennis?

Today, I can say that I absolutely love what I do, I love tennis, I love design, so that makes it easy for me to be motivated.

My parents taught me to be really well-rounded and to be more than just an athlete. In my late teens, I realized that I love design and it was something that I wanted to pursue. So life after tennis I will be furthering my clothing and interior design companies, EleVen and Vstarr Interiors.

VENUS QUOTE BELIEVE IN YOURSELFWhat do you hope aspiring female athletes and emerging leaders in any field learn from you as a role model?

Stay true to yourself, and always believe in yourself and what you’re doing, no matter what others might say.

VENUS WILLIAMS ENTREPRENEUR: One of Business Insider’s Eight Athletes Winning On A Different Turf

Along with climbing back to top 20 in Tennis World Rankings, Venus is founder and CEO of the clothing line, EleVen,venus winning in ola

and interior design company, V Starr Interiors.

VSTARR

About her business ventures Venus told Forbes magazine:

VENUS BOOTIFUL (2)“I think as an athlete you’re always overcoming all kinds of challenges.

That’s the name of sport — it’s a challenge. So definitely applying those lessons of perseverance VENUS PROGRESSand learning from mistakes and setting goals has definitely helped me in business.”

Read more at BusinessInsider:→http://www.businessinsider.com/professional-athletes-turned-entrepreneurs-2015-2?op=1#ixzz3SKZWfnTU

Go to the Venus Williams’ facebook pages for more information about her business ventures:

VENUS VSTARR DESIGNS FACEBOOK PAGEV Starr Interiors by Venus Williams

https://www.facebook.com/130344846997712/photos/a.159722230726640.41740.130344846997712/536037693095090/?type=1&theater

ELEVEN LOGOVENUS ELEVENBYVENUS RACQUET BEHIND HEADEleven by Venus

Clothing
submitted by guestBlogger @BlackPearlMoi

BACK IN WINNING STRIDE: VENUS WILLIAMS REVEALS HER MENTAL APPROACH

Welcome Back Venus – You are Better Than a 10…elevenbyvenus

My treasured moment at the 2015 Australian Open came in the third round; for the first time since 2011, both Williams sisters were still alive in the round of 16 in the same Grand Slam. Nothing could be better for this fan. Of course younger sister’s win at the Aussie Open, claiming her 19th Grand Slam and the victory speech about struggle-to-triumph that Serena gave, holds a significantly special place of it’s own.

Special as well is the Resurgence of Venus

VENUSRUNSFORASHORTBALLVenus is back at the top echelon of the world tennis rankings, in lieu of her health battle with Sjogren’s Syndrome (autoimmune disorder).

After reaching the quarters in Australia, seeing her ranking rise to #11 is a phenomenal achievement!

Most notably so, as most tennis commentators and others in the tennis media had written Venus off after her announcement at the 2011 US Open that she was diagnosed with the debilitating, fatigue inducing disorder.

Venus Talks Turning Losing into Winning in BRENDAN BRAZIERSThrive Magazine

ELEVEN WAYS I GAIN MY CONFIDENCE BACK BY VENUS WILLIAMS VENUS IN RED

Sport is just like life; it’s filled with up and downs. There are times when you just can’t lose and other times when the luck always seems to go the other way. Life can be especially tough when we are dealing with challenges that are out of our control. Here’s where my story comes in.

For the best part of 2013, I had been struggling with a back injury. I’ve dealt with a lot of injuries—countless, actually. But this one was quite devastating as it took away my biggest weapon, and the life of my game, my serve. Coming back from this injury has been one of the biggest challenges of my career. I was shocked to see how much it affected my confidence.

What I quickly found was that recovering confidence can be tricky. I have made a set of rules that helped me along the way. It came through trial and error and a handful of somewhat tragic losses. Thankfully, my losses weren’t in vain: they paved the way to self-reflection and some mind-blowing insights. As they say, “The only tragedy in losing or failing is not learning from it.”

To read Venus Williams’ 11 Steps to Regain Your Confidence – CLICK HERE→http://www.mythrivemag.com/eleven-ways-i-gain-my-confidence-back-by-venus-williams/

Evidence That She’s Back in Her Winning Stride Again

It’s still very early, but the 34-year old American has been most impressive, winning  five of her past six matches against top-10 players. Venus has lost only one match this year (9-1), won her first title in Auckland and played in the quarterfinals of a major for the first time since the 2010 US Open (when she reached the semis).VENUSCURLSAUCKLAND2015

Nothing short of awesome that Venus is still playing, returning to her old form and thriving while past opponents have long been enjoying retirement. What better illustration than this – Venus’ opponent in the Australian Open quarterfinal is the protegé of her old rival Lindsay Davenport. That quarterfinal Australian Open match is the only loss for Venus this year; to Madison Keys, who wasn’t even born when Venus played her first WTA tournament.

The happily family, Davenport married her husband Jonathan Leach in 2003, in 2007 they welcomed their first child Jagger Jonathan, then daughter Lauren Andrus in 2009, daughter Kaya Emory in January 2012 and on January 6th of this year, third daughter Haven Michelle Leach. Source: http://www.womenstennisblog.com/2014/01/08/lindsay-davenport-gives-birth-to-fourth-child-haven-michelle-leach/
The happily family, Davenport married her husband Jonathan Leach in 2003, in 2007 they welcomed their first child Jagger Jonathan, then daughter Lauren Andrus in 2009, daughter Kaya Emory in January 2012 and on January 6th of this year, third daughter Haven Michelle Leach. Source: http://www.womenstennisblog.com/2014/01/08/lindsay-davenport-gives-birth-to-fourth-child-haven-michelle-leach/

Davenport 38 , who retired from singles, developed a career as TV commentator and play-by-play analyst, is a married mother of four turned coach. Lindsay is proving her mettle as 19-year-old American Madison Keys reached a semifinal round in a grand slam for the first time in her career.

Wise move by the young Keys to secure such an accomplished coach: former world No. 1 and 3-time Grand Slam tournament champion Lindsay (a favorite player of mine) was in the finals of seven grand slams; two of them the Australian Open which she won in 2000. And overlooked is the fact that Lindsay remarkably came back into tour-level competition twice after giving birth.

Rivalry between Venus Williams and Lindsay Davenport

Venus Williams (L) and Lindsay Davenport on September 9, 2000 at the U.S.Open in New York. (UPI Photo/Ezio Petersen/File)
Venus Williams (L) and Lindsay Davenport on September 9, 2000 at the U.S.Open in New York. (UPI Photo/Ezio Petersen/File)

They played 27 competitive matches – more often than Venus has played any other opponent. Venus Williams played Lindsay Davenport for the first time in 1997 at Indian Wells. Twice they met in the final at Wimbledon, which Williams won each time. Many consider the 2005 Wimbledon as one of the, if not the best, women’s final ever. An epic match between two talented women, with similar games,  playing it the way I love to watch  – “Big Babe Tennis.”

WATCH: 2005 Wimbledon Final
Venus Williams Vs. Lindsay Davenport 2005

venuswilliamshercallforequalpayVenus has evolved into an elder statesman of the game, who successfully took on Wimbledon off-the-court, leading & winning the battle for equal reward money for women in tennis. [See Blog post: Venus Williams’ Other Career as Equal Pay Activist : Revisiting ESPN Film’s Documentary ‘Venus Vs.’ ] She is following in the footsteps of her mentor Billie Jean King, a legend whom Venus often quotes.  Below is an exchange of tweets between the two during the Australian Open:

bjk

I am inspired by @Venuseswilliams every time she takes the court. Great to see her healthy, competing and loving what she does.

One of the greatest tennis players of all time: winner of seven Grand Slam singles titles and Olympic gold, this woman who changed the face of modern tennis is also an accomplished business woman.

Along with her thriving clothing line ELEVENLOGO

Venus Williams debuted her 2015: Ola collection during Auckland #ASBClassic.
Venus Williams debuted her 2015: Ola collection during Auckland #ASBClassic.
Venus Williams has four full-time professional designers at her V Starr Interiors firm. Willie J. Allen Jr./For The Washington Post
Venus Williams has four full-time professional designers at her V Starr Interiors firm.
Willie J. Allen Jr./For The Washington Post

Venus’ interior design firm V Starr Interiors continues to grow. For more than a decade, she has quietly run an interior design firm in her adopted home of Florida. Two years ago V Starr  decorated a $6.5 million luxury model condo for a Boca Raton development. Her latest project: developer Jorge Perez’s new apartment community in Delray Beach.

…still  with her epic rise back to just outside the top 10, it’s more than obvious that her passion for Tennis has not diminished.

VENUS ELEVENBYVENUS RACQUET BEHIND HEADVenus Reveals Her Winning Mindset:

How fortunate for us that Venus sat with Robin Roberts and reveals a mental approach for bouncing back that has served her well throughout her career, and … shares who her dream match would be against.

VENUS LOOKING TO THE SKYGlad you’re back Venus Williams, the Game was Simply Not the Same Without You!

submitted by guestBlogger @BlackPearlMoi  (twitter account)

Wyclef Jean Writes Song for VENUS WILLIAMS ‘Venus (I’m Ready)’ – Her Serve is Like Lightning

Listen to Wyclef Jean’s Original Song written for Venus

VENUS AND WYCLEFAnd for more about Venus and Wyclef:

visit Blog Post “On the Court a Warrior – Off a Natural on Rhythm Guitar – VENUS WILLIAMS: CLICK HERE→http://wp.me/p1O3xi-It

The Elusive SERENA WILLIAMS …Not Your Average World Number One

SERENA ELUSIVEThis Tuesday morning finds me a bit mystified by headlines in the media and twittertalk about the World#1 Women’s Tennis Player – Serena Williams! The chatter would have me believing that Williams’ number one status and, even her ‘greatness’, is in question. Why? (Warning this is where it gets comical and I may get cynical being a Serena Williams Fan.)SERENA I WILL STAY ON TOP OF MY GAME

Tennis Sports Writers, those who tweet and even some fans are aghast that Serena lost matches in ‘exhibition’ play: two of three singles matches at the Hopman Cup.  I admonish all to keep in mind…Serena Williams has maintained her status as World#1 for 100 weeks and counting; and more importantly, since her debut as a teenager, has never been – and never will be – your average tennis player!

Featured on Adrian Garcia, CargoCollective.com: Dwyane Wade & Serena Williams in Sobefit Magazine.
Featured on Adrian Garcia, CargoCollective.com: Dwyane Wade & Serena Williams in
Sobefit Magazine.

And the beat goes on…for example Serena being the player who dances to the beat of her own drum, took a coffee break during the Hopman Cup match with Pennatta.  What else could a jet-setter who just flew halfway round the world – with no time for breakfast – have but a bagel and expresso? 😉

Serena Williams decided a coffee might  help her overcome travel jetlag  after losing the first set 6-0 at Hopman Cup 2015.
Serena Williams decided a coffee might help her overcome travel jetlag after losing the first set 6-0 at Hopman Cup 2015.
Serena Williams smashed her racket and argued with several people in the deciding doubles match of the Hopman Cup, which she and partner John Isner lost to Poland.  Will Russell/Getty Images
Serena Williams smashed her racket and argued with several people in the deciding doubles match of the Hopman Cup, which she and partner John Isner lost to Poland. Will Russell/Getty Images

I can only shake my head in confusion and dismay – at the non-controversy ESPN Tennis wrote of as Serena losing her temper during Hopman Cup play while partnering with Josh Ishner. With the U.S. 2-1 down in the second set, a point had to be replayed after Janowicz prematurely celebrated after he thought Isner and Williams both struck the ball.  A five-minute argument involving ‘all four players’, the chair umpire, and a tournament referee ensued.
BUT…
the ESPN Tennis headline read “Serena irked in Hopman defeat” and ran this photo(with caption).

What did Serena say about this year?

serena interview with chris evertSerena Williams in an interview with fellow 18-time Grand Slam winner Chris Evert shared her plans for 2015, which include ramping-up her serve:

 “I want to move a lot faster on the court,” she said. “I want to be more dynamic and just completely awesome out there. And I need to bring my serve back. My serve in 2014 was a little disappointing for me. I want my 2013 serve back, but a better version of that for 2015. I had so many double faults this year: I was hitting, like, seven in a match, and it was driving me insane.”

And when asked how much further she felt she could go by Evert, Williams replied:

SERENA OVERPOWER OVERTAKE OVERCOME“Well, it’s no secret. I’m going for the gusto. I’m going to try to catch up with Steffi. But right now I’m really focused on 19, which will begin in Australia. Whether I get there or not, I don’t know. But I know if I get to 19, the second it happens I will be thinking of 20.”

Read More About Interview at: http://www.tennisnow.com/Blogs/NET-POSTS/December-2014/Serena-Williams-Wants-to-Catch-Steffi-Graf%E2%80%99s-22-Gr.aspx#sthash.jEnLMh4g.dpuf

About the early losses in 2015 “Exhibition Play”:TROLL TENNIS puts it in proper perspective:

TROLL

@TrollTennis: Serena Williams be like.SERENACALMDOWN

In closing: nonsense talk, doubting Serena, is well underway and to those doubters I say hold those thoughts

‘-)

and let the damn

‘GRAND SLAM’ play begin…K!

humbly submitted by guestBlogger and diehard WilliamsSisters Fan @BlackPearlMoi!

PHOTO GALLERY: VENUS WILLIAMS as a Modern Josephine Baker

venusracquetupGame, Set, Match…

josephinebakerfoVenus Williams, except this time
she channels a modern day

Josephine Baker.

Venus pays homage to Baker, performer extraordinaire, who settled in France in the 30’s and played an important role in the French Resistance.

jbWatch video of Josephine Baker
doing her thing: 1927 Style
It’s a hoot! ‘-)

guest blogger @BlackPearlMoi

Venus Williams’ Other Career as Equal Pay Activist : Revisiting ESPN Film’s Documentary ‘Venus Vs.’

Post written by guest blogger @BlackPearlMoi 

ESPN FILMS first Nine for IX espisode: Venus Williams documentary "VENUS VS."
ESPN FILMS first Nine for IX espisode: Venus Williams documentary “VENUS VS.”

Venus Williams’ Other Career as Equal Pay Activist : Revisiting ESPN Film’s Documentary ‘Venus Vs.’

Many knew of Venus Williams’s domination on the court, but very few – and even ESPN executives – had heard of her fight to close the gender pay gap in tennis, even though she went so far as to lobby the British Parliament for financial equality.

VENUSBOSS

There’s a reason why sports make for compelling movies. They’re inherently narrative, with winners and losers, blood and tears—serving up hard-fought drama on a silver trophy plate. ESPN decided to approach the topic from a new angle, focusing not on the theatrics found on the field, but the battles fought off of it.

NINEFORIX

The producers of the network’s popular ’30 for 30′ documentary program decided on a series called
‘Nine for IX’; only it’s focus is solely on women in sports.

Libby Geist,  Senior Director of Development, ESPN Films
Libby Geist,
Senior Director of Development, ESPN Films

“A year ago almost exactly was the fortieth anniversary of Title IX,” explains Libby Geist,associate director of development at ESPN Films, referring to the portion of the Education Amendments of 1972 that protects against discrimination based on sex. It was this anniversary that inspired Nine for IX, which will include nine female-directed episodes about women who have overcome adversities in the athletic realm.

Geist agrees that the goal of the series as a whole is to chronicle unknown or forgotten events. “Women really have their own history now,” she says. “It’s not all happy and fluffy necessarily, but we’ve got our own stories to tell and we’re ready to tell them.”

The sports network approached Ava DuVernay, winner of the Best Director award last year at Sundance for her film “Middle of Nowhere,” to make a film about any topic in women’s sports. She choose Venus Williams’ fight for equal pay at Wimbledon — a big story in Britain, but not widely known in the United States.

'Venus VS' Venus Williams documentary, first of ESPN series Nine for IX
‘Venus VS’ Venus Williams documentary, first of ESPN series Nine for IX

The film follows Venus Williams as a child phenom to her first championship at Wimbledon in 2000 — and again in 2001, 2005, 2007, 2008.  Endorsement deals made her one of the most powerful athletes in the world — but not worthy of equal pay at arguably the most prestigious Grand Slam event.

venusbilliejeanInspired by Billie Jean King, Williams led the charge for all the other women on the court.

The director does a superb job of telling the total story of Venus and her conscious choice to step forward, with the full weight of her brand, and take the lead in the fight for financial equality for women in tennis.VENUSLEFTPROFILE

“It would be uninformed to do a story on her and her influence on the tour without acknowledging that at one point she was an outsider, and she was an outsider based on cultural politics,” DuVernay stated at a screening for the film.

VENUSBEADS

“But she and the tour and her fellow players matured by having her and Serena on the scene, to the point that the one who was an outsider became the ultimate insider and the champion for this cause.”

VENUSRIGHTPROFILE

“We say in the film, a fight for equality in any space contributes to our overall psychographic terms,” says DuVernay.

duvarney “This is part of that story, part of that narrative for women’s equality across the board, and the fact that we don’t know about it is something Venus wanted to remedy as much as I did.”

(NOTE: On Dec. 11, 2014 Ava DuVernay was nominated for best director of a feature film – ‘Selma’. She is the first woman of color and only the fifth woman ever to be nominated for the Golden Globe Award.)

The film ‘Venus Vs.’ is a phenomenal movie, and stands as evidence…both DuVernay and Williams are masters at what they do;

Williams and director Ava DuVernay on the set of “‘Venus Vs.’ (Howard Barish/ESPN Films)
Williams and director Ava DuVernay on the set of “‘Venus Vs.’ (Howard Barish/ESPN Films)

and mutual admiration is to be expected…speaking of the significance of what Venus did, the director commented, “I think you have to speak truth to power,” said the filmmaker. “If truth is not being spoken, then power doesn’t shift.

The Story has a Happy Ending

Venus Williams after winning the Wimbledon title in 2007. (Credit: AP)
Venus Williams after winning the Wimbledon title in 2007. (Credit: AP)

This time the All England Club finally agreed to do the right thing: When Venus won her fourth Wimbledon championship in 2007, she became the first woman to earn exactly the same as Roger Federer: $1.4 million.

Champions Roger Federer and Venus Williams pose with their trophies at Champions' Dinner at London's Savoy Hotel, Sunday July 8, 2007. "I was really motivated because no one picked me to win. They didn't even say, 'She can't win.' They weren't even talking about me," said Williams, who reached No. 1 in 2002 but entered Wimbledon ranked No. 31. "I never would doubt myself that way."   (AP Photo/Bob Martin, AELTC pool)
Champions Roger Federer and Venus Williams pose with their trophies at Champions’ Dinner at London’s Savoy Hotel, Sunday July 8, 2007.
“I was really motivated because no one picked me to win. They didn’t even say, ‘She can’t win.’ They weren’t even talking about me,” said Williams, who reached No. 1 in 2002 but entered Wimbledon ranked No. 31. “I never would doubt myself that way.”
(AP Photo/Bob Martin, AELTC pool)

\

Watch  video: Director Ava DuVernay shares about making the Nine for IX documentary film
“Venus VS.” which aired on ESPN

HISTORY-MAKING MOMENTS FROM THE DOCUMENTARY ‘Venus Vs.’

venuswilliamshercallforequalpay

Speech Venus Gave to the Wimbledon Board Members the Day Before the 2005 Final

BACKSTORY: Things were really heating up on the equal pay issue prior to the 2005 Wimbledon tournament. The Australian Open and the U.S. Open were already offering equal pay, therefore Wimbledon became the issue’s focal point.

Apparently, the day before the women’s final at Wimbledon, the representatives of all the Grand Slams and every important tour person met for a board meeting. Well, the day before playing in the HUGE 2005 final against Lindsay Davenport, Venus chose to appear at that meeting and made a speech.

Picture this now…never before in history had a player appeared at this meeting!

With the strength of her conviction, Venus boldly stood  up in front of the members of this important Board and told them to close their eyes. “No peeking,” he said.

The respect Venus commanded saw them comply with her request…a they closed their eyes.

She instructed them to picture being a little girl with a dream–whether it’s tennis or politics or business. Then she said…

Imagine that you can’t earn as much or achieve that dream just because of your gender.

The next day, Venus played what many consider one of the BEST women’s tennis finals ever…beating Lindsay Davenport 9-7 in the third set of the Wimbledon final – to win her first major in four years. Behind the entire match, she dug deep in her arsenal of resolve, to win over a familiar and very talented foe. That final lasted longer than the men’s final that year, and in my book, IS the best women’s Grand Slam finals ever – because of high quality play from Venus and Lindsay…from start to finish!

In the ‘Venus Vs.’ documentary, Venus emotionally recall her little sister Serena’s advice to her before that final, which was: “If you take your opportunities, more will come.”

VENUSSERENASITNYT
As she was serving for the match at 8-7, Venus shares, those words of her sister’s, were the exact words she repeated to her herself in that defining moment on court.

Wimbeldon 2006: Champions Venus Williams and Roger Federer
Wimbeldon 2006: Champions Venus Williams and Roger Federer

Venus won that Wimbledon and the IRONY is that the women’s prize money not being equal to the men’s – meant she was forced to accept earning less money than the men’s champion, Roger Federer.

The Letter Venus Published Before Wimbledon 2006

VENUSHANDSONHIP

After all of her advocacy work in 2005 came up short, Venus published the following op-ed letter in the London’s Times before Wimbledon in 2006;  and, the question was raised in Parliament. Most agree that the letter became the defining moment of the entire battle for equal pay in tennis…Reprinted in it’s entirety:

Wimbledon has sent me a message: I’m only a second-class champion

Venus Williams

The Times & The Sunday Times

June 26, 2006

The time has come for it to do the right thing: pay men and women equal prize money

HAVE YOU ever been let down by someone that you had long admired, respected and looked up to? Little in life is more disappointing, particularly when that person does something that goes against the very heart of what you believe is right and fair.

When I was a little girl, and Serena and I played matches together, we often pretended that we were in the final of a famous tournament. More often than not we imagined we were playing on the Centre Court at Wimbledon. Those two young sisters from Compton, California, were “Wimbledon champions” many times, years before our dreams of playing there became reality.

There is nothing like playing at Wimbledon; you can feel the footprints of the legends of the game — men and women — that have graced those courts. There isn’t a player who doesn’t dream of holding aloft the Wimbledon trophy. I have been fortunate to do so three times, including last year. That win was the highlight of my career to date, the culmination of so many years of work and determination, and at a time when most people didn’t consider me to be a contender.

So the decision of the All England Lawn Tennis Club yet again to treat women as lesser players than men — undeserving of the same amount of prize money — has a particular sting.

I’m disappointed not for myself but for all of my fellow women players who have struggled so hard to get here and who, just like the men, give their all on the courts of SW19. I’m disappointed for the great legends of the game, such as Billie Jean King, Martina Navratilova and Chris Evert, who have never stopped fighting for equality. And disappointed that the home of tennis is sending a message to women across the world that we are inferior.

With power and status comes responsibility. Well, Wimbledon has power and status. The time has come for it to do the right thing by paying men and women the same sums of prize money. The total prize pot for the men’s events is £5,197,440; for the women it is £4,446,490. The winner of the ladies’ singles receives £30,000 less than the men’s winner; the runner-up £15,000 less, and so on down to the first-round losers.

How can it be that Wimbledon finds itself on the wrong side of history? How can the words Wimbledon and inequality be allowed to coexist? I’ve spent my life overcoming challenges and those who said certain things couldn’t be achieved for this or that reason. My parents taught me that dreams can come true if you put in the effort. Maybe that’s why I feel so strongly that Wimbledon’s stance devalues the principle of meritocracy and diminishes the years of hard work that women on the tour have put into becoming professional tennis players.

I believe that athletes — especially female athletes in the world’s leading sport for women — should serve as role models. The message I like to convey to women and girls across the globe is that there is no glass ceiling. My fear is that Wimbledon is loudly and clearly sending the opposite message: 128 men and 128 women compete in the singles main draw at Wimbledon; the All England Club is saying that the accomplishments of the 128 women are worth less than those of the 128 men. It diminishes the stature and credibility of such a great event in the eyes of all women.

The funny thing is that Wimbledon treats men and women the same in so many other respects; winners receive the same trophy and honorary membership. And as you enter Centre Court, the two photographs of last year’s men’s and women’s champions are hung side by side, proudly and equally.

So why does Wimbledon choose to place a lesser value on my championship trophy than that of the 2005 men’s winner Roger Federer? The All England Club is familiar with my views on the subject; at Wimbledon last year, the day before the final, I presented my views to it and its French Open counterparts. Both clearly gave their response: they are firmly in the inequality for women camp.

Wimbledon has argued that women’s tennis is worth less for a variety of reasons; it says, for example, that because men play a best of five sets game they work harder for their prize money.

This argument just doesn’t make sense; first of all, women players would be happy to play five sets matches in grand slam tournaments. Tim Phillips, the chairman of the All England Club, knows this and even acknowledged that women players are physically capable of this.

Secondly, tennis is unique in the world of professional sports. No other sport has men and women competing for a grand slam championship on the same stage, at the same time. So in the eyes of the general public the men’s and women’s games have the same value.

Third, athletes are also entertainers; we enjoy huge and equal celebrity and are paid for the value we deliver to broadcasters and spectators, not the amount of time we spend on the stage. And, for the record, the ladies’ final at Wimbledon in 2005 lasted 45 minutes longer than the men’s. No extra charge.

Let’s not forget that the US Open, for 33 years, and the Australian Open already award equal prize money. No male player has complained — why would they?

Wimbledon has justified treating women as second class because we do more for the tournament. The argument goes that the top women — who are more likely also to play doubles matches than their male peers — earn more than the top men if you count singles, doubles and mixed doubles prize money. So the more we support the tournament, the more unequally we should be treated! But doubles and mixed doubles are separate events from the singles competition. Is Wimbledon suggesting that, if the top women withdrew from the doubles events, that then we would deserve equal prize money in singles? And how then does the All England Club explain why the pot of women’s doubles prize money is nearly £130,000 smaller than the men’s doubles prize money?

Equality is too important a principle to give up on for the sake of less than 2 per cent of the profit that the All England Club will make at this year’s tournament. Profit that men and women will contribute to equally through sold-out sessions, TV ratings or attraction to sponsors. Of course, one can never distinguish the exact value brought by each sex in a combined men’s and women’s championship, so any attempt to place a lesser value on the women’s contribution is an exercise in pure subjectivity.

Let’s put it another way, the difference between men and women’s prize money in 2005 was £456,000 — less than was spent on ice cream and strawberries in the first week. So the refusal of the All England Club, which declared a profit of £25 million from last year’s tournament, to pay equal prize money can’t be about cash. It can only be trying to make a social and political point, one that is out of step with modern society.

I intend to keep doing everything I can until Billie Jean’s original dream of equality is made real. It’s a shame that the name of the greatest tournament in tennis, an event that should be a positive symbol for the sport, is tarnished.

So ends the story of the woman tennis player who
took on Wimbledon as an opponent…

venusfavphoto

and finished in Victory.
Not bad for a gurrl from Compton! ‘-)

Reviews of Nine for IX documentary film

“Venus Vs.”

“It’s a stirring story that is skillfully rendered here. Throughout the tight, well paced film, Williams emerges as a colorful, combative, articulate presence.”
Stephen Farber | HOLLYWOOD REPORTER

“Venus Vs. is a film not only triumphant in its subject matter, but in offering a narrative that is at once as empowering to female athletes, young girls looking for heroes and feminist activists, but also to all sports fans. To everyone, for that matter.”
Craig Carpenter | HUFFINGTON POST

“Elegantly made.”
Alison Willmore | INDIEWIRE

“Director Ava DuVernay further displays the fascinating reaches of her talents with her latest project, Venus Vs. a sports documentary for ESPN centered exclusively on the inspirational Venus Williams.  As with DuVernay’s previous works, her latest is not to be missed.”
Nicholas Bell | IONCINEMA

“The movie is taut, compact, and strong—just like its titular star.”
Jonathan Scott | TENNIS.COM

“The crusade that Williams — and others long before her like Billie Jean King — fought is memorably captured in a new documentary by director Ava DuVernay called Venus Vs.”
Murray Jacobson | PBS NEWSHOUR

“Visual choices, so striking and so precise, open up Venus Vs. to yet another set of contexts, extending beyond the ongoing effort to achieve women’s equality in sports.”
Cynthia Fuchs | POPMATTERS

“DuVernay chose a story that both fits the celebratory theme of the Nine For IX series and breaks new ground.”
Travis Waldron | THINKPROGRESS.ORG

“Cleverly, DuVernay incorporates footage from some of Williams’ most stunning matches as a way of not only communicating visually the blood, sweat and tears going into the battle for women’s respect on the courts, but also as a demonstration of how ludicrous the hoary claim is that women’s matches aren’t as ‘entertaining’ as men’s.”
Beth Hanna | THOMPSON ON HOLLYWOOD

“The documentary benefits from a directorial specificity that makes the subject matter fresh and exciting. There’s a great athletic energy and pacing.”
Nijla Mumin | SHADOW & ACT

“Venus Vs. will grab your attention from its first frame as DuVernay very aptly presents the film’s central narrative and moves the story forward in a succinct and entertaining way.”
ROBERTSON SYNDICATE

Venus to Join Sister Serena Sunday for South Beach Run

poster-details-updated (2)

Venus Williams will be standing by her younger sister Serena on Sunday, when she kicks off her first
“Serena Williams Ultimate Run” in South Beach at 8 a.m. on December 14!

VEEREESHOULDER

“She’s always been a better runner, because she has those long legs,” Serena says. “She just runs so easily.”

Other tennis stars, including Andy Murray and Chris Evert, are expected, and then, there’s three-time New York marathon champ Alberto Salazar and four-time world champion triathlete Leanda Cave.

SERENA IS RUNNING…but she’s a little nervous, she says, because she’s considering upgrading from the event’s 5K run to the quarter-marathon (6.55 miles). Williams, who lives in Palm Beach Gardens, ran a sub-25-minute 5K in the city earlier this year.

 “I just want to challenge myself,” she says, although she hasn’t made a final determination.

serenaoceandrivemag

But I also want to run with the fans, and support them,” Serena says.

The Quarter Marathon (6.55 miles), 5K Run/Walk and Ultimate KIDS Dash will bring together runners of all ages and abilities. Proceeds will benefit the Serena Williams Foundation, which is aimed at helping youth all over the world.  It provides assistance to families affected by violent crimes and provides underprivileged youth around the world with the highest quality of education available to them.

serenainag

The foundation’s efforts are two-fold: First, it provides financial support to kids whose families are affected by violent crimes (Williams’s own half-sister was killed by a gunshot in 2003). The tennis player now raises money for families working to rebuild from tragedy, helping them secure counseling, daycare, housing, food, and education.
“It is the hope of the Serena Williams Foundation to continue to [bring about] change in the lives of children who have been negatively affected by violence in the US,” says Williams.

SERENAGRAY

The race starts on the sand on South Beach, which is appropriate because Serena says she considers South Florida home, having lived in Palm Beach County for more than a decade. Serena is joining all runners and before the race begins she will speak at the Start Line; then she will sing karaoke at the Post Race Party!

BADGEFinisher Medal

  • All participants in the 5K and Quarter Marathon will receive an artisan finisher medal
  • All KIDS Dash participants will receive a special kids medal

TEESHIRTS

“Fans Go Crazy when Serena Williams Plays IPTL in Manila”

Everyone, I mean, just walking out to the court to warm up and hear the crowd was spectacular and unexpected,” remarked Serena Williams. “It’s really an honor to feel that. The reception has been amazing. was so nice.

SERENAWELCOMEI’ve never played and never been here. So it feels good to come to countries like this because you realize that we have fans everywhere so it’s really a good time and great opportunity to play here,” Williams said.

SERENAWARM

When the tennis women’s World#1  stepped on the court in Manila to warm up, the crowd went absolutely crazy!

Watch Serena as she warms up side-by-side with Andy Murray; courtesy of fan xarlotieMarie Charlotte Ayao.

Even Serena’s remarks reflect that she was caught by surprise at the outpouring of love she received halfway across the world.  Today’s action is her only appearance in the Manila leg of the inaugural International Premier Tennis League (IPTL) tour.

RESULTS OF SERENA’S PLAY IN MANILA

AP Photo

Serena’s first appearance on court for her team, Singapore Slammers,  involved mixed doubles play. She partnered with  Lleyton Hewitt in competition against the duo of Manila Mavericks’ Andy Murray and Kirsten Flipkens.

Action resulted in a loss for Serena/Hewitt as Murray and Flipkens combined better to get a 6-1 win. Though playing against the home team, Serena was cheered on by the Filipino fans.

Keeping mindful that she had “Work To Do” for her Singapore Slammers team, inspite of the mixed double pounding 1-6 loss: the player IPTL is promoting as

“Hitting Like a Warrior”…

 [Photo/Agencies]
[Photo/Agencies]
Serena proceeded to serenainactiondefeat Kirsten Flipkens 6-3serenasquatin singles play. Next stop for the tour is Singapore and here’s hoping that Serena’s victory proves to be just what the doctor ordered for the still win-less Singapore Slammers in team based play.

After a year of ups and downs culminating with her joining tennis legends

AP Photo
AP Photo

Chris Evert and Martina Navratilova in the Elite “18 Club” (players with 18 grand slam titles):serenabracelet for this Serena Williams fan…it’s  great to see her having “a lot of fun”!!!

Awesome photo of the IPTL Singapore Slammers team with friends. Pictured :  Nick Kyrgios, Rohan Bopanna, Thomas Berdych, and, of course the Star of the team, Serena Williams.
Awesome photo of the IPTL Singapore Slammers team with friends. Pictured: Nick Kyrgios, Rohan Bopanna, Thomas Berdych, and, of course the Star of the team, Serena Williams.

Blog Post written by guest blogger BlackPearlMoi