February 24, 2008

This Week In Sports History

The date was 2/28/99
Venus and Serena Williams became the first sisters to win WTA Tour events on the same day. Venus wins the IGA SuperThrift Tennis Classic in Oklahoma City after Serena takes her first title on the WTA Tour at the Gaz de France Open.

Serena withdraws from Dubai - A Fan's Concern

Here we go again. Serena has withdrawn from her third straight tournament. I do not know the reason for this withdrawal. I feel really sorry for those fans that continually purchase tickets and she not show up. Please understand that Serena is my FAVORITE but I can be realistic about the situation. At this point, Serena "signing" up for tournaments mean nothing to me. As her track record shows, a let-down beckons right around the corner. I will only believe that she will show up when I actually see her on the actual court during the warm up. I'm so tired of just seeing Serena (consistently) show up for Grand Slams and maybe Miami. Of course her name being attached to a tournament will definitely sell tickets but so many (consecutive) withdrawals is a slap in the face to fans and ticket buyers. She may not be consistent at tennis but she is almost too consistent with appearances at parties and on the red carpet. To Serena I say, get serious, get it together and get committed. Serena is such a talented individual and could do so much more on the tennis courts. Serena can once again set the tennis world on fire! She's Hall-of-Fame qualified but she has the potential (yet still) to be the best, the greatest, BUT time is running out! I'm starting to agree with (certain portions of) the now infamous open letter written by Chris Evert for TENNIS MAGAZINE:

Dear Serena,
I’ve been thinking about your career, and something is troubling me. I appreciate that becoming a well-rounded person is important to you, as you’ve made that desire very clear. Still, a question lingers—do you ever consider your place in history? Is it something you care about? In the short term you may be happy with the various things going on in your life, but I wonder whether 20 years from now you might reflect on your career and regret not putting 100 percent of yourself into tennis. Because whether you want to admit it or not, these distractions are tarnishing your legacy.

Just a couple of years ago, when you were fully committed to the game, you showed the athleticism, shot-making, and competitive desire to become the greatest player ever. Many besides myself shared the same sentiment. You won five of the six Grand Slams you entered over the 2002 and 2003 seasons and looked utterly dominant in the process. Then you got sidetracked with injuries, pet projects, and indifference and have won only one major in the last seven you’ve played. I find those results hard to fathom. You’re simply too good not to be winning two Grand Slam titles a year. You’re still only 24, well within your prime. These are crucial years that you’ll never get back. Why not dedicate yourself entirely for the next five years and see what you can achieve?

Perhaps the reason I feel so strongly about this is because I wasn’t blessed with the physical gifts you possess. I know that the lifespan of an athlete’s greatness is brief and should be exploited. Once you get to No. 1 in the world and start winning major titles, you should see how far you can take it. You’ve become very good at many things, but how many people would trade that to be great at just one thing? I don’t see how acting and designing clothes can compare with the pride of being the best tennis player in the world. Your other accomplishments just can’t measure up to what you can do with a racquet in your hand.
Ironically, I believe that if you fulfill your potential on the tennis court, all your other endeavors will become that much easier to pursue. You could become the most famous athlete in the world. Every magazine will want you on its cover and any door you wish to walk through will be wide open. When I was playing, I always knew there would be time to get married, have children, do TV commentating, and even coach if I wanted. I assure you there will be time for you to chase all your dreams once you’re through with tennis.

I offer this only as advice, not criticism, from someone with experience. If you’re completely happy with the way your life is, then crumple up this letter and throw it away. I wish you nothing but luck and success in all your pursuits. Just remember that you have in front of you an opportunity of the rarest kind—to become the greatest ever at something. I hope you make the most of it.

February 20, 2008

Washington Kastles Sign Serena Williams as Marquee Player for World Team Tennis

The Washington Kastles announced today that eight-time Grand Slam champion Serena Williams will play for the newly formed team during the 2008 World TeamTennis Pro League season.
This will be the first time Serena has ever played professionally in D.C. She will play one home match and three away matches for the Washington Kastles and is expected to play both singles and doubles. Each team will play 14 matches during the WTT's 2008 season, which runs July 3-23 with the WTT Championship Weekend set for July 24-27 in Roseville, Calif.

"WTT is all about the fans having a great time and cheering their team to victory. Drafting Serena Williams is our commitment to Washington tennis fans that we're going to have a great first season - not only great fun to watch, but also our commitment to showcase great tennis and to win!" said Ein, owner of the Washington Kastles. "With her ties to the Washington area, we look forward to welcoming Serena to our community and are really energized about the quality of tennis and entertainment that we're bringing to Washington this summer."

During the three-week season, the Kastles will play in the Eastern Conference along with the Boston Lobsters (Boston, Mass.), New York Buzz (Schenectady, N.Y.), New York Sportimes (Mamaroneck, N.Y.), Philadelphia Freedoms (Philadelphia, Pa.), and Delaware Smash (Wilmington, Del.). The Kastles will fill out their four-player lineup when they draft sixth out of 11 teams at the WTT Roster Player Draft on April 1 in Miami.

World TeamTennis, co-founded in 1974 by tennis legend Billie Jean King, features several generations of tennis pros competing in a co-ed pro league in communities throughout the U.S. each summer. This is the first Washington, D.C.-based team in the league's 33-year history. Washington-area tennis enthusiasts can get more information at www.washingtonkastles.com or 202-4TENNIS (202-483-6647). Tickets are scheduled to go on sale in early March.

Nike and Serena release Running Mix Tapes

The Nike Sport Music series, which has recently released a running mix tape/coaching CD by Lance Armstrong, have tapped Serena Williams for their latest project. Serena's custom-made workouts are designed to improve speed, build stamina, and give you a boost when needed. The first workout is a 30-minute interval run set to a series of high-octane hits by Timbaland, Nicole Scherzinger, Fergie, Daddy Yankee and other Interscope Records artists. While you listen to the music, Serena sets the pace and offer tips and encouragement to help you complete your run. Her Spontaneous Speed Workout consists of a warm-up period, followed by time stretches of fast-paced running, each followed by a chance to recover with help from Serena's favorite music, a mix of Mary J. Blige, Vanessa Carlton, Timbaland, and many more. Both mixes are available on iTunes.

February 17, 2008

Serena is feeling better...

Serena appears to be feeling better. Per her blog....

"Well as u may have heard I had to have emergency gum surgery. I was super ill for a looooong time. The only good thing is I ended up losing a bit of weight. I am just now getting better. I am just beginning to train and get back in the flow of things. It really sucks that I have to miss a few tourneys, but I have never felt too bad in my life.I would wake up (actually I could not even sleep the pain was so bad) and just cry because I was in so much pain. Being an athlete I have learned to build up my pain tolerance. And also in the past I have had a knee surgery so I know how some pain feels, but I have never experienced anything like this. It was crazy!! I have never cried for pain. I felt hopeless. My Mom came to the rescue. She was with me every second I needed her. What a great woman.I am finally feeling better and able to write blogs again. I hope to be in action soon on the tennis courts again. I can't really tell when I will be back but I am just training and playing it by ear. Stay tuned!!!"

February 12, 2008

Serena commits to Dubai

Serena Williams is scheduled to join a top-10 field at the Barclays Dubai Tennis Championships.

The 2007 Australian Open champion, who withdrew from last week's Open Gaz de France in Paris citing gum surgery, has joined 2008 Australian Open champ Maria Sharapova, World No. 1 Justine Henin, finalist Ana Ivanovic, Jelena Jankovic and Svetlana Kuznetsova in the Dubai field.

In her previous appearance in 2005 she reached the semifinals, but then retired against Jankovic with an injury. Now she’s returning to Dubai to make a second attempt to claim that elusive title. “I do remember I had a splendid time and the fun I had off the court going to the Gold Souk and Wild Wadi and just hanging out,” said Williams.

“Serena Williams is one of the biggest stars in the world of tennis, and her reputation has been well earned,” said Colm McLoughlin, managing director of tournament owners and organizers Dubai Duty Free. “We are delighted that she once again included Dubai in her busy schedule and wish her well.” Play begins on February 25th.

February 11, 2008


Evert: Willams sisters an enigma

Serena Williams and her sister Venus are the greatest enigma in the women's game, according to former world number one Chris Evert.

Between them, the American siblings have clinched just four grand slam singles titles out of 17 in the last four years but Evert views them as the most likely winners in the big events when on top form. "The question mark is always the Williams because they come in and out of the game," American Evert, 53, said. "The big question is: "Are the Williams sisters healthy?". They are injured or they are not focused or whatever. If Serena is healthy and she is focused, she is still the player to beat."

Serena attends Entertainment Weekly Grammy Party

Serena was spotted at the Entertainment Weekly Grammy after-party which honored music producer / industry heavyweight LA Reid. In this shot, Serena smiles for the camera with family friend Janet Jackson

February 8, 2008

Venus and Serena Nominated for Nickelodeon Kids' Choice Awards

Venus and Serena Williams are both nominated for the Favorite Female Athlete Award at the 2008 Nickelodeon Kids' Choice Awards. Nickelodeon's 21st Annual Kids' Choice Awards will be held at UCLA's Pauley Pavilion on Saturday, March 29. It will be broadcast live at 8:00-9:30 P.M. ET/PT and once again features Jack Black as the show's host. The full list of nominees can be seen at www.nickkcapress.com. Kids will be able to cast their vote online at http://www.nick.com/kca beginning Monday, March 3 in a total of 18 categories. Surprise awards also will be announced during the show. Kids also will be able to vote via the Nick mobile website (wap.nick.com). Beginning Monday-Friday, March 10-14, a different category will be featured on-air each day, and kids again vote for their favorite online at Nick.com.

February 5, 2008

Serena withdraws from Antwerp

It is being "reported" that Serena has withdrawn from the Proximus Diamond Games in Antwerp. This information is being obtained from http://www.sport.be/proximusdiamondgames/2008/nl/. I inserted the following dutch text (in its original form) into an online translator service. REMEMBER THAT THIS IS AN ONLINE (AND NOT HUMAN) TRANSLATION THEREFORE THE TRANSLATION IS NOT GRAMMATICALLY CORRECT. The news is disheartening (because I love to see Serena in action) but life happens. Serena, I'm wishing you a safe and speedy recovery. Get well soon. Have a safe, enjoyable and productive day.

Serena niet in Antwerpen
Serena Williams heeft moeten afzeggen voor de Proximus Diamond Games in Antwerpen. De Amerikaanse moet een medische ingreep laten uitvoeren.
Serena moet onder het mes. Na het afzeggen van Serena, die deze week al forfait gaf voor het tornooi in Parijs, staan er momenteel nog zeven speelsters uit de top 20 op de affiche van de Proximus Diamond Games Antwerp. Het deelnemersveld wordt aangevoerd door Justine Henin en onder meer ook Anna Chakvetadze en Daniele Hantuchova zijn van de partij.Op dit ogenblik wordt er nog onderhandeld met Elena Dementieva en Nadia Petrova, die in aanmerking zouden kunnen komen voor de resterende wild card.

Serena not in Antwerp
Serena Williams for the Proximus diamond Games in Antwerp has had call off. American a medical intervention must carry out let. Serena must under the knife. After calling off Serena, which these yielded already walkover gave to the tornooi in Paris, stands speelsters there at present still seven from the top 20 on the poster of the Proximus diamond Games Antwerp. The participant field is invoked Justine Henin and among others also Anna Chakvetadze and Daniele Hantuchova is of the party.On this moment is it still negotiated with Elena Dementieva and Nadia Petrova, which could qualify for the remaining wild card.

February 1, 2008

Serena Pulls Out of Paris Open

Serena Williams has pulled out of the Paris Open women's tennis tournament starting on Monday because she needs dental surgery, organizers said on Friday.

The former world number one, who won the event in 2003, will be replaced as the second seed in the draw by Slovakia's Daniela Hantuchova

Serena covers Monarch Magazine

Monarch Magazine is dedicated to reflecting affluent African American professionals and their lifestyles. This publication was created as a source of empowerment, an innovative resource that provides encouragement, knowledge and pride. Monarch is designed to embody the thoughts, vision and intellect of today’s black and urban professional while creating examples of success for those who aspire to fulfill their potential.

To play such a sport takes a competitive soul, and Serena shows this in every move she makes. As an offensive player in tennis, she takes immediate and dominating control over her opponents. Being the only individual at this time, male or female, to have held all four grand slams at the same time, Serena is a ferocious force to have to contend with on and off the court. While playing her opponents, she shows off her creative talents with innovative outfits she wears designed by her for her, controlling what she wears and not just what sponsors provide for her to wear. This creative flair ended up opening a chance for her own personal line at Puma, which would eventually lead to her working with Nike. It was at Nike that she received hands-on experience in professional design that she continued through traditional education at the Arts Institute in Fort Lauderdale, Florida. It seems as though the school has done her justice. Sporting her clothing design on the court has made the public more than eager to buy what they see her wearing.

Among groups today, there has been an ongoing discussion on what our lives entail, destiny or pure human determination. We will probably still be debating this question until the end of time, but in Serena's case it has to be a little of both. Early on she had a taste of doing what she loved and that doesn't stop with just tennis. Serena has a real knack for business creating a clothing line by the name of Aneres. This line of clothing has been up and running for three years and the last touches are finally being put together to properly present it.

Monarch Magazine attracts readers who have not placed limitations on who they are and what they can be. Readers who have chosen to associate themselves with things that are not defined by age or income, but rather by a mind-set that says achievement.

Not only is business a love, but a byway to use her designing talents to the best of her abilities. In this way she is able to do what she likes and enjoy it. The thing is, with Serena, it's not just all business and no play. Along with design, Serena feels that there is just so much she wants to experience and enjoy in future endeavours. These are activities outside of tennis and business that she holds dear to her heart, and when time permits she spends as much time as possible doing them. When she is not working on her clothing line, she has a strong fancy for acting. Appearing in shows such as "The Simpsons," "My Wife and Kids" and even "Law and Order". Serena and her sister, Venus, even had a reality show entitled "Venus and Serena For Real" on ABC Family, which first aired on July 20th of 2005. Though lasting less than three months, the show received great reviews and it seemed as if the girls had a new court to conquer. Who knows what we will see later.

Monarch Magazine is the forum that brings its readers all of these things delivered within a vibrant and intelligent mix of business and style.

This girl's going nowhere for a while. She loves the sport of tennis and as long a she has this love, you can plan on seeing Serena on the courts for another eight years.

Along with tennis, she is working out those small glitches to make Aneres number one for young women looking for that athletic wear for a night on the town.

It's after her last hurrah in tennis that she would seriously consider being an actress full time. Aneres would be first in her heart, but some acting would be icing on the cake.

Being an African American in this sport, how do you think your success has changed the view of life for young African Americans who follow your career?
It's been great. When I was growing up, there weren't many African American tennis players that I could look up to out there, except for Zena Garrison. She had such an impact on my life. I hope that I might have that same impact on others some day. Then I would know that everything I've done would have been worthwile.

Out of all the success you have had at this game, what has it taught you personally?
I think it's just to always be true to who I am, and humble at the same time. That is my life lesson. In this business one day your in and one day you could be out. I just want to enjoy success while I can.

How long do you think you can keep playing this game professionally?
Well, I'm enjoying it so much. The energy and excitement is always there. I can do it for another eight years.

Away from tennis you have a real knack for business. How did this come about?
My father is a real entrepreneur. I think I just got it from him, and my mom too. Being in such an environment, I don't think you can help but to grow up with that mentality.

How did you come up with the Aneres clothing line?
Well, when I was younger I used to sew and make clothes, and I loved doing it. Later I went to the Art Institute in Fort Lauderdale, Florida. They have one of the best curriculums around.

In what venues can we find your clothing?
We're not in stores yet, but soon. In fact I have a couple of meetings coming up next week. Finally I can answer more questions people have about the line.

Who wears Aneres?
Every woman wears Aneres. My moto is if you look good you feel good.

Can we expect to see another television show from you and your sister in the future?
(Giggle), I don't know, maybe. I loved doing it, but we were doing so much work during that time. We had a hectic schedule.

After tennis have you ever thought about acting full time?
Yes, even now I have a lot of gigs offered, but because of the writers strike they have been postponed for a while.

In your HP commercial you say that you love animation and have some ideas. Can you tell me one?
I have this super hero that I created, probably because I love writing as much as animation. Not too long ago I did a voice-over for one of my favorite cartoons called the "Avatar". I loved every minute of it.

Do you know what the school your financing in Senegal will be called?
I have no idea at this point. Maybe they will name it after me.

How do you deal with pressure of playing tennis?
My father told me, the pressure you have is the pressure you put on yourself.