April 13, 2008

TENNIS Magazine: The Game-Changers

The May 2008 issue of TENNIS magazine is a special issue: "40 Years of Open Tennis: From Rod Laver to Roger Federer, We Celebrate the Players and Personalities Who Have Changed The Game."

(Venus) and Serena are featured on page 43: "The Game-Changers: The Sport Was Never The Same After These Five Open Era Champions Played It." (The fiver players included in this feature are: Ivan Lendl, Chris Evert, Venus and Serena Williams and Bjorn Borg).

"If there were a soundtrack to the careers of Venus and Serena Williams, it would be Frank Sinatra's "My Way." With their father, Richard, at the helm, the sisters rose to prominence by breaking the conventions of the sport. Junior tennis? Don't need it. Thin-beam racquets instead of widebodies? Not for us. Closing your stance on your backhand? Why bother?

While skeptics were confident that the sisters would fall on their faces to opponents who came up the ranks the "right" way, the Williamses proved the doubters wrong, playing a brand of power tennis the likes of which the women's game had never seen.

Call it hit-first, ask-no-questions-later, Venus and Serena went big on EVERY shot, not just the forehand. Serves, returns, backhands, swinging volleys - everything they did on the court was imbued with the desire to crush the ball. The competition could no longer sit back and wait for a mistake. The Williamses raised the bar by forcing their opponents to go for their shots or perish, a style of play that defines women's tennis today. " (The top picture of Serena from the 2004 French Open is the exact one used in the article).

Serena also came in at #1 on the Top 5 Best Dressed List (page 49). "From the cat suit to the soccer socks, Serena has made tennis fashion a sport of its own."

The other tennis players making the cut were #2 Bjorn Borg, #3 Chris Evert, #4 Maria Sharapova and #5 Roger Federer.

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