PRICELESS and PROPHETIC: INTERVIEW WITH 12-YEAR-OLD VENUS – SERENA AGE 11 and DAD RICHARD WILLIAMS

  “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.)

(Photo Source: www.furinsider.com)

Venus Serena and DAD's VISIONThis 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.

Venus and Serena Williams won their first Olympic gold medal in doubles at the 2000 Sydney Olympics. (AP Photo/Amy Sancetta)
Venus and Serena Williams won their first Olympic gold medal in doubles at the 2000 Sydney Olympics.
(AP Photo/Amy Sancetta)

VENUS QUALITIES OF A CHAMPIONEarly 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.”

(Photo Source; www.couriermail.com)
(Photo Source; http://www.couriermail.com)

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‼

VENUS SERENA DREAMERSWatch 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.

Venus 2005 Wimbledon It's Me Again
Venus Williams realizes her childhood dream of winning Wimbledon – five times over.

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.

2014 US Open: Serena ties Chris Evert and Martina Navratilova with  18 Grand Slam titles.
2014 US Open: Serena ties Chris Evert and Martina Navratilova with 18 Grand Slam titles.

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.

Gold medalists again in 2012: Serena and Venus Williams of the United States celebrate during the medal ceremony for the Women's Doubles Tennis. London 2012 Olympic Games at the All England Lawn Tennis and Croquet Club on August 5, 2012 in London, England. (August 4, 2012 - Source: Clive Brunskill/Getty Images Europe)
Gold medalists again in the 2012 Olympic Games in London: Serena and Venus Williams of the US are all smiles during the medal ceremony for the Women’s Doubles Tennis. (August 4, 2012 – Source: Clive Brunskill/Getty Images Europe)

VENUS SERENA LOOK TO THE FUTUREFor 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’:

Venus Williams Will NOT Return To Indian Wells This Year

VENUS WILLIAMS...first African American woman to become World#1 in 2002: a Woman of Conviction and a Champion on-and-off the court! Wearing jacket  from her OlaCollection▬EleVenByVenus.
VENUS WILLIAMS…first African American woman to become World#1 in 2002: a Woman of Conviction and a Champion on-and-off the court! Wearing jacket from her OlaCollection▬EleVenByVenus.

Earlier her sister Serena Williams announced her return this year to the tournament formerly known as “Indian Wells”; as for elder sister Venus, Tennis X.com reports that while in Dubai she stated that she won’t be participating in the 2015 event.

VENUS DUBAI INTERVIEW“I made my schedule up,” Venus said last week in Dubai. “I think I’m entered in Miami, and that’s pretty much what it is.“I haven’t really given a lot of thought to (playing Indian Wells). I have just been focusing on this year.”

In regards to her younger sister’s decision, when queried about how much they discussed the tennis tournament which saw the Williams’ family viciously taunted by fans in 2001, including racist taunts, Venus reportedly said :

VENUS INTERVIEW 2“She just said, I might be playing there. I said, Oh, okay. That’s pretty much the conversation,” Venus said. ” I just respect every decision she makes, pretty much. It’s nothing complicated about it.

Venus Williams and her father, Richard, were heckled by fans during the 2001 Indian Wells final, in which Serena was also booed loudly. (Source: Reuters)
Venus Williams and her father, Richard, were heckled by fans during the 2001 Indian Wells final, in which Serena was also booed loudly. (Source: Reuters)

MORE ABOUT INDIAN WELLS…Visit Blog post: “That Day in History when Fans at Indian Wells Disgraced America: Tennis Establishment never publicly Apologizes to the Williams Sistershttp://wp.me/p1O3xi-QL

How does little sister feel about big Sis?

SERENA TWITTER PHOTOSerena Williams         @serenawilliams

A real legend! So proud to be your lil sis @venuseswilliams with repostapp.⁰・・・⁰Love this… https://instagram.com/p/ziFK1UMTGc/

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

That Day in History when Fans at Indian Wells Disgraced America: Tennis Establishment never publicly Apologizes to the Williams Sisters

The American Dream is standing up for what you believe in. Venus and Serena have demonstrated belief in it, and have stood for  America, playing for their country in the Olympics since the 2000 Summer Games were held in Sydney  (Gerard Rancinan/SI)
The American Dream is standing up for what you believe in. Venus and Serena have demonstrated belief in it, and have stood for America, playing and winning for their country in the Olympics since the 2000 Summer Games were held in Sydney
(Photo: Gerard Rancinan/SI)

About Indian Wells, the scene of the crime,  the two sisters who have doubled as America’s top two tennis players for almost two decades, have reached a divide. Serena announcing that she is releasing herself from the vow of never playing the tournament again; to date elder sister Venus has made no such move.

What is not lost on me is that Venus Ebony Star Williams was the first African American woman to ever hold the title of World Number One. ALTHEAAnd like Althea Gibson, the first Black woman to win Wimbledon in 1957, she was out there in the ‘lily-white’ tennis world all alone. When Venus made her debut in professional women’s tennis in 1994, New York Times contributor Robin Finn called her “the most unorthodox tennis prodigy her sport has ever seen.” Trust me, considering the non-politically correct racial climate that was status quo then, it was definitely one of the mildest attacks Venus faced.

Years ago in an appearance with her sister Serena on Oprah, Venus responded when questioned about racial discrimination in the locker room, in  terms of how the other players treated her. She paused and reflected before a brief mention of how they – the ‘little darlings’ as the tennis media dubbed female players of the “country-club” sport then –  were leaving nasty/dirty underwear by her locker. I have no words!

Not surprising to me that after the sum total of her experience on tour leading up to Indian Wells; seven years after it happened, this is a comment from Venus:

VENUS LOOKING BOSS“I never even thought about actually playing because it was unfathomable for me to return to those circumstances.”

The year is 2001, a leg injury has forced Venus Williams to pull out of a semifinal match against her sister. Indian Wells tournament officials make no announcement until only minutes before the match. During the final, younger sister Serena is in a face-off with Kim Clijsters. She is roundly booed on the court and after winning, during the victory ceremony as well.

(AP Photo/Kim D. Johnson)
(AP Photo/Kim D. Johnson)

All the while Venus and her father face a ‘lynch mob’ like atmosphere in which they are heckled, jeered and called racial epithets in the stands – where they determinedly stay, as they’re presence represents support of their daughter/sister.

Venus Williams, the victim of vociferous rascists jeers, sat boldly with her father, in the stands. (Photo Source: Jed Jacobsohn/Allsport)
Venus Williams, the victim of vociferous rascists jeers, sat boldly with her father, in the stands. (Photo Source: Jed Jacobsohn/Allsport)

Tensions is so thick that Pam Schriver whom I’m watching on ESPN, reports live that the ushers were told in advance to be on guard for trouble in the stands.

RICHARD WILLIAMS BLACK POWER SALUTE AT INDIAN WELLSBLACK POWER SALUTE AT THE 1968 OLYMPICS 2While being heckled by the crowd, Richard Williams is seen on his cellular phone. Minutes later, a security guard appears by the friends’ box a couple of games into the match. (From a New York Times column written by Selena Roberts) His only visible reaction to the 15,000 fans in this disdainful crowd is a raised fist, reminiscent of The 1968 Olympics Black Power salute was an act of protest by Tommie Smith and John Carlos while the American National Athem played during the medal ceremony at the 1968 Summer Olympics in the Olympic Stadium in Mexico City.

Serena managed to win and voiced quite a prophetic message: ”I won a big battle today mentally, I think a champion can come through.”  Though victorious, the entire horrifying experience brought the champion to tears and running to the arms of her protective father once the match concluded.

Serena Williams with her father Richard and sister Venus at Indian Wells in 2001. (Source: http://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/article-2940571/Serena-Williams-ends-boycott-racist-tennis-tournament-World-Number-One-return-Indian-Wells-14-years-family-abused-final.html
(Photo Source: http://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/article-2940571/Serena-Williams-ends-boycott-racist-tennis-tournament-World-Number-One-return-Indian-Wells-14-years-family-abused-final.html)

Today…America remains forever in denial that racism flourishes; when not disputing that the disgraceful incident occurred at all; tennis media pundits engage vociferously in validating the crowds’ behavior. [Prime example ESPN Tennis writer Peter Bodo’s Blog→http://espn.go.com/blog/peter-bodo/post/_/id/980/serenas-maturation-comes-shining-through]

The entire situation harkens back to the disturbing dark days of Jim Crow.  Denial, though not surprising, is quite baffling from a country with a history of three centuries of enslaving Africans and who’s cherished Constitution granted those of African descent only 3/5th humanity.

Disbelievers need to remember Indian Wells tournament director Charlie Pasarell also is quoted in a USA Today article nine days after the Indian Wells final:

“I was cringing when all that stuff was going on. It was unfair for the crowd to do that.”

And disbelievers need too revisit the assessment of then WTA Chair and CEO Larry Scott. After he had watched a tape of the match, conducted interviews and held discussions with the Williams sisters and their family, below are his remarks:

WTA Chairman and CEO Larry Scott. (Source: Clive Brunskill/Getty Images)
Former WTA Chairman and CEO Larry Scott. (Photo Source: Clive Brunskill/Getty Images)

“Having watched it myself, it was one of the harshest environments I’ve seen a player have to be in,” Scott said. “It was a unique situation and one that obviously runs deep for Serena and for Venus.

Serena’s  recently  announced that she is returning to competition at Indian Wells, after a 14 years of letting her absence do the talking;  About ending her boycott now Serena says:

serenapretty (2)I play for the love of the game. And it is with that love in mind, and a new understanding of the true meaning of forgiveness, that I will proudly return to Indian Wells in 2015.

Serena writes exclusively in TIME about her decision in a well thought out piece.  You can read it HERE→http://time.com/3694659/serena-williams-indian-wells/

Georgetown professor and author Dr. Michael Eric Dyson speaking with Dave Zirin of The Nation framed Serena’s decision as “…the majestic arc of forgiveness in black life that has helped to redeem America.” He added:

(Photo Source: www.youtube.com)
(Photo Source: http://www.youtube.com)

“As the most dominant athlete of her generation, Serena carries huge symbolic capital. This gesture of principled forgiveness once again proves that black athletes at their best have been thermostats who changed the temperature of society rather than thermometers that merely recorded the temperature.”
(
Full article herehttp://www.thenation.com/blog/197297/serena-williams-indian-wells-and-rewriting-future

Join Serena Williams on her Return to Indian Wells.
Join Serena Williams on her Return to Indian Wells. FOR MORE DETAILS go to: http://www.omaze.com/experiences/serena-williams

I applaud Serena for marrying her return to the cause of Justice; partnering with the noble work of the Equal Justice Initiative  (EJI): by operating a fundraising campaign in advance of the tournament. Details Here:→http://www.omaze.com/experiences/serena-williams:

More about the Cause for Justice Serena is supporting:

ejiEQUAL JUSTICE INITIATIVE

a private, nonprofit 501(c)(3) organization that works with communities that have been marginalized by poverty and discouraged by unequal treatment.  EJI provides legal representation to indigent defendants and prisoners who have been denied fair and just treatment in the legal system.

Venus Williams to date…remains silent on Indian Wells.

Silence was not the case in 2008. Venus in the self-assured, clear and concise manner that she is known for, shared her thoughts on the vow never to play that tournament again.

It happened during an interview about the WTA Tour’s impending plan to institute a policy designating four tournaments, outside the Grand Slam events, as ‘mandatory’ for the tour’s top players; with non-compliance resulting in potential penalties such as no rankings points, fines and possible suspensions.

Venus Williams stated she appreciated that the tour was attempting to create a sustainable business model, attractive to sponsors, television and fans; and had more to say:

Venus werars ElevenByVenus“Everybody has been on board with that, including Serena and I,” Venus said yesterday. “But we have had a problem at Indian Wells and we’ve chosen over the years not to play because of those issues, and emotionally we don’t want to be there. It would be too stressful for us emotionally, it wouldn’t be about the tennis — at all.”

Though the final sanction decision was up to the WTA Board, kudos to Larry Scott (adviser to the board) for choosing to engage in discussions with Venus and Serena about the matter in its entirety. Venus conveyed to him that the boycott is about Indian Wells and not about tennis.

venussweet“It’s not about not doing our best for the sport,” Venus Williams said. “We have a legitimate issue here, and it’s something we’ve all been dealing with over the years. But ultimately, Sis and I psychologically cannot play at Indian Wells.”

She added: “We try to be there for the fans who keep us in the game and allow us to do what we want to do,
but for us, it’s just not an option to play because of what we went through as a family.

UNITED STATES - OCTOBER 31: Tennis: Bank of the West Classic, (L-R) Serena Williams, Venus Williams, father Richard, and mother Oracene before Venus's professional debut at Oakland-Alameda County Coliseum Arena, Oakland, CA 10/31/1994 (Photo by Brad Mangin/Sports Illustrated/Getty Images) (SetNumber: X47224)
UNITED STATES – OCTOBER 31: Tennis: Bank of the West Classic, (L-R) Serena Williams, Venus Williams, father Richard, and mother Oracene before Venus’s professional debut at Oakland-Alameda County Coliseum Arena, Oakland, CA 10/31/1994 (Photo by Brad Mangin/Sports Illustrated/Getty Images)

SERENAWITHRACQUETOVERFACEAs a long-term devoted fan of the William sisters and their ‘Agape Love’ family, I respect whatever position each individually holds regarding the place where tennis fans disgraced America – Indian Wells.RACQUET

And equally ‘disgraceful’ is this truth – the tennis establishment ( WTA, USTA, ESPN Tennis and especially the current tournament officials of what was previously called Indian Wells) have yet to publicly apologize to the two wronged tennis champions, Venus and Serena, and their family!

Two Black women who changed the game, who represent the worldwide sport in grande fashion; and who are still playing well in their 30s – we should cherish them.  Again I submit this message to the Tennis Establishment – an APOLOGY is not only warranted – it’s long overdue!

DOITNOW

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)

Make You Wanna HOLLA: Why Isn’t The Story – Serena Williams Is Going For Grand Slam #19?

Watching ESPN just now, coverage of the Australian Open, and the verbiage is all about age – “Serena is the oldest player to reach an Aussie final.” Falderal! Serena Williams is on a history-making journey to surpass her compatriots, Chris Evert and Martina Navratilova , in the elite 18 Grand Slam club. And she is only one win away from doing just that.

SERENA FOCUSED 1000

Why then has this part of her competing in the 2015 grand slam down under been on mute? Simply unbelievable to me. Seems the greater Serena’s achievements the harder the media, specifically the US tennis media, attempts to devalue her greatness. They remain stuck on the power narrative when it comes to her. Will they ever acknowledge what they see when watching Serena play? She is a most intelligent player, which enables her to strategize and win? Overlooking Serena’s continuing dominance in her sport is plain out perplexing.

While in America the chat is all about “the changing of the guard”. It only took the World #1 two straight sets[7-6 (5), 6-2] in her match against fellow American Madison Keys to restore order and shut down that talking point.(Avenging her sister’s loss to Keys at the same time!) ShoutOut to Serena for her encouraging words to Madison after the match. [WATCH VIDEO]

Now I am thrilled for the rising young and obviously talented Keys who reached her first Grand Slam semifinal. That she is projected to make her top 20 debut is fantastic. Under new coach Lindsay Davenport I only expect continuing progress in her development.

Here me well now, I don’t begrudge her media attention, but it should not overshadow what winning this final means for Serena and history!  Australian Open TennisAnd at same time it should not make Serena’s elder sister Venus an after thought as she will move up the rankings after this Grand Slam to maybe as high as top 10.

Truth is the Williams sisters, top two American women in the game, are not products of the USTA. Father Richard Williams chose, wisely as time has proven, not to put his child prodigies Venus and Serena under their tutelage. Could that fact possibly be at work here in what appears to be an eagerness to see a “Changing of the Guard?”VENUS AND SERENA WITH DAD

ESPN and the USTA are contractually bound at the hip and therefore responsible parties in what I see as disrespectful treatment of the Williams sisters. Maybe it’s because the USTA is so desperate for legitimacy; with its failure in producing top tennis players that it experienced under the many years of Patrick McEnroe’s leadership? (Must have been one hellova contract that still keeps him in the booth at ESPN Tennis as a talking head!)

VOGVenus and Serena remain perfect examples of positivity; no matter what swirls in the media. Most endearing to me is their close bond, it’s as if they understood that it would always indeed be them against the world!

And in the case of Serena it is astonishing to watch her transform her steadfast belief that she is the greatest – in match after match –SERENA DEVASTATINGwhere she mentally constructs a strategy, then physically delivers play, resulting in the defeat of whomever is on the other side of the net!

 Serena Williams talks to Chris Evert  Source: espn.go.com
Serena Williams talks to Chris Evert Source: espn.go.com

In her December interview with Chris Evert, Serena said she was hard at work fine tuning movement and improving her serve; and when asked about Graf’s record of #22 grand slams, she said she  was going to go for the gusto this year.

                                                              Click Here for Interview→http://espn.go.com/video/clip?id=12190332]

And aren’t we the lucky ones, Serena does the hard work of fending off those attempting to dethrone her…and all we have to do is watch!

Now the Australian Open gets the sexy championship final match it was probably hoping for with Maria Sharapova versus Serena. Now Sharapova has lost every encounter with Serena since the 2004 Wimbledon. And again I fear the lead story will be all about the fighter coming for Serena and not Serena going for her 19th Grand Slam!

SERENAWORKOUTLet’s talk a bit more about history-making and grand slams; Serena has only lost four times in finals.  This has her currently tied with Martina Navratilova (18-14) and Chris Evert (18-16) at fourth all-time. Beating Sharapova would place her alongside Helen Wills Moody (19-3), and behind only Margaret Smith Court (24-5) and Steffi Graf (22-9). That Williams continues her climb up the record accomplishments in women’s tennis at the age of 33 is beyond amazing, and  frankly, my dear, I’m out of superlatives…OK.

Meanwhile as the tennis season continues I’ll be watching another game that’s being played – the Dodge-Ball game the tennis media is playing as Serena Williams continues her pursuit of Grand Slam #19 and beyond.  Go get #19 Serena and let all the other damn games continue, then…LOL! ‘-)

submitted by guest blogger @BlackPearlMoi

Eight Things I Appreciate about this Article: “Why are the Williams Sisters Treated Differently?”

“Serena Williams and her sister Venus deserve more respect and we should cherish them while we can”

Credit where it's due: The Williams sisters' achievements continue to be met largely with indifference Photo: GETTY IMAGES
Credit where it’s due: The Williams sisters’ achievements continue to be met largely with indifference Photo: GETTY IMAGES

6:05PM GMT 27 Jan 2015

Much respect to  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.SERENA WINS 2015 AUSSIE

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.

SERENA FOCUSED 1000#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!

VENUS STRETCHING OUT

#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.

VENUSWINSAUCKLAND

#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.]SERENACLAPSFORVENUS

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. VENUSCURLSAUCKLAND2015

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.

NICK GETTY#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!

Source: http://www.sportsmirchi.com/serena-venus-sisters-qualify-for-4th-round-in-2015-aus-open/
Source: http://www.sportsmirchi.com/serena-venus-sisters-qualify-for-4th-round-in-2015-aus-open/

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. 

And I add, their greatnessVENUS AND SERENA CLASSY
as noble, proud, graceful,
charismatic and caring
women citizens of the world!!!

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)