October 28, 2008

Serena to defend Hopman Cup title

American tennis ace Serena Williams is making her return to the Perth Hopman Cup in 2009, coinciding with the event’s milestone 21st year.Tournament director Paul McNamee said he was thrilled to welcome the nine time grand slam singles winner back to Perth.

Serena’s return to number one was one of the biggest sporting stories of the year,” he said. “It’s great to see James come back. “There’ll be a lot of interest in Serena, but equally as much in Lleyton Hewitt’s tournament comeback.“It’ll be a big week.”

Williams has never lost a match at the Hopman Cup. Her return will mark her third appearance in Perth.Serena Williams and James Blake will represent the top-seeded United States in the Hopman Cup mixed teams tennis tournament. Williams and Blake combined to win the 2003 Hopman Cup — one of five titles for the United States in the 20-year history of the event.

Williams, a nine times Grand Slam singles winner and dual Olympic gold medalist, is already a two-time champion at the Hopman Cup mixed teams event. She briefly regained her mantle as women's singles world No.1 earlier this year following her US Open triumph over Jelena Jankovic but has since slipped back to No.3 in the world. The 21st Hopman Cup will be played at the Burswood Dome from January 3-9, 2009.
* Hopman Cup Teams *

(1) USA: Serena Williams and James Blake

(2) Russia: Dinara Safina and Marat Safin
(3) France: Alize Cornet and Gilles Simon
(4) Australia: Casey Dellacqua and Lleyton Hewitt
(5) Italy: Flavia Pennetta and Simone Bolelli
(6) Germany: Sabine Lisicki and Nicolas Kiefer
(7) Slovak Republic: Dominika Cibulkova and Dominik Hrbaty
(8) Winner Asian Hopman Cup

October 25, 2008

Doha: The Elite Eight

Photo courtesy of Aaress @ On The Baseline Tennis News (www.onthebaseline.com)

It's official. The following women have qualified for the season-ending Sony Ericsson Championships in Doha, Qatar: (Current #1) Jelena Jankovic, (Roland Garros Champion) Ana Ivanovic, (US Open Champion) Serena Williams, Dinara Safina, (Olympic Gold Medalist - Singles) Elena Dementieva, Svetlana Kuznetsova, (Wimbledon Champion)Venus Williams and Vera Zvonareva.

The world’s top eight singles players and top four doubles teams will compete for the season-ending Sony Ericsson Championships title and a share of the record prize money of $4.45 million. The Sony Ericsson Championships are set to take place at the Khalifa International Tennis Complex in Doha, Qatar, November 4-9, 2008.

Former singles champions include Tracy Austin, Kim Clijsters, Chris Evert, Evonne Goolagong, Steffi Graf, Martina Hingis, Martina Navratilova, Gabriela Sabatini, Serena Williams and Justine Henin.

October 24, 2008

Why am I so excited? Because.....

Today I purchased my FRONT ROW ticket to see Serena when she comes to my city/state (Columbia, South Carolina). She and Andy Roddick will be here for Rock-n-Racquets. The event benefits the Andy Roddick Foundation which aims to provide children in need with quality education and other necessary resources. This will be my first tennis event (of any kind) and I will have my camera ready. The event will feature Roddick taking on 6-foot-9 John Isner in a singles exhibition match. Williams, the defending U.S. Open champion with nine Grand Slam titles on her resume, will play Caroline Wozniacki, ranked No. 12 in the world. A mixed doubles match will feature Andy and Serena vs. John and Caroline. I am sooooo excited!

October 21, 2008

Serena on TENNIS

Serena covers the November/December issue of TENNIS Magazine. The article discusses Serena's return to #1 after her title run at the 2008 US Open. Serena returned to #1 five years and one month after she last held the top spot, which marks the LONGEST-ever gap between stints at #1.

October 18, 2008

Williams Sisters and the Open era of Tennis

Joel Drucker (Special to ESPN.com) took a look at the key moments in each of the four decades of the Open era. Among the key moments of the fourth decade of the Open era, he rated the Williams Sisters as #1.

Key moments of the Open era: Part 4: Crossing the millenium (1998-2007)

1. Two at the top

The success of Venus and Serena Williams is one of the greatest stories in the history of sports. At least the Manning brothers grew up the children of a quarterback and in an affluent part of New Orleans. Venus and Serena were raised in Compton, Calif., quite a distance from lily-white tennis clubs. Their father Richard had proclaimed they would in time rule the sport. And for just under two years, they did. From the 2001 U.S. Open to the 2003 Wimbledon, the two met in six of seven Grand Slam finals. Even beyond that, though, Venus and Serena have won a combined 16 Grand Slam singles titles. Just imagine Tiger Woods' brother chasing him down at Augusta and you'll see just how amazing this story is.

Open Era - In 1968, commercial pressures led to the abandonment of the distinction between professionals and amateurs, inaugurating the Open era, in which all players could compete in all tournaments, and top players were able to make their living from tennis. Thus, the open era in tennis began in 1968, when the Grand Slam tournaments, such as Wimbledon, abandoned the longstanding rules of amateurism and allowed professionals to compete.

October 17, 2008

Serena's coming to my city for Rock-n-Racquets!

Roddick, Serena coming to Columbia
Colonial Life Arena will feature mix of tennis, music in December

Two of the world’s biggest tennis stars, Andy Roddick and Serena Williams, will headline a unique sports and music event Dec. 13 in Columbia, South Carolina. Rock-n-Racquets, a tennis exhibition combining top-flight tennis with music, will make its first stop in South Carolina at the Colonial Life Arena.

Roddick, ranked as the world’s No. 6 male tennis player, started the event in 2002 as a way to combine his love of tennis and music. Proceeds benefit the Andy Roddick Foundation.Williams took part in Rock-n-Racquets in Omaha, Neb., last year and said Thursday she is excited about playing in South Carolina this winter.

“It’s a real successful event and I was excited with how it went,” Williams said in a telephone interview. “Once I did it last year, I knew that I wanted to do it again. I also like the fact that we were going to different cities. There are fans all around. It’s good to go show your support for people that have supported you.” The event will feature Roddick taking on 6-foot-9 John Isner in a singles exhibition match. Williams, the defending U.S. Open champion with nine Grand Slam titles on her resume, will play Caroline Wozniacki, ranked No. 12 in the world.

“She’s up and coming,” Williams said. “She’s doing well. She had a breakout year this year. Next year she will be even better. It will be good to play against her and get a feel for her game.” A mixed doubles exhibition, featuring Roddick and Williams against Isner and Wozniacki, also will be played.

Since the first Rock-N-Racquets in Miami in 2002, the event’s mix of tennis and a DJ sound show has made tour stops in places such as Omaha, Little Rock, Ark.; Mobile, Ala.; Boise, Idaho and Wichita, Kan. Even though the event is being held at the basketball arena that houses the University of South Carolina’s basketball teams, Newberry College is the primary sponsor for the Rock-n-Racquets S.C. stop.

“Thanks to Newberry College,” Roddick said in a press release, “it is especially exciting for me to bring the event to South Carolina where the tennis community and participation throughout the state are so strong.”

Tickets go on sale Oct. 24 at 10 a.m. at the Colonial Life Arena box office, online at coloniallifearena.com or by phone at (866) 472-8499. Most admission costs range from $17 to $87, but there are also $12 seats for students 12 and under. Military, senior citizen and group discounts are also available.Reach Wiseman at (803) 771-8472.


Williams Sisters serving up style in Harper's Bazaar

Venus and Serena Williams are serving up style in the latest issue of Harper’s Bazaar.The tennis siblings showcase their championship fashion sense in such designers as Louis Vuitton, Versace and Ralph Lauren as they rally in dresses and high heels in a new photo shoot. In one shot, Serena reaches back for a serve while sporting a ballroom-ready Diane von Furstenberg dress and a $380,000 De Beers bracelet.

October 16, 2008

Serena confirmed for WTA Sydney International

The 27-year-old American won the Australian Open in 2003, 2005 and 2007 and hopes a return to Sydney will help her chances of a 10th Grand Slam title after her victory at last month's US Open.

Williams has never won the Sydney International - which will be held at the Olympic tennis centre from January 11-17 - but has tasted success on the court after teaming up with older sister Venus to win the doubles gold medal at the 2000 Sydney Olympics.

Tournament organisers also said that current world number one Jelena Jankovic and second-ranked Dinara Safina will compete in the women's draw in Sydney. "Having Serena Williams back for the first time in a few years is just an absolute boon for the event," tournament director Craig Watson said.

October 12, 2008

Dreaming of the Career "Boxed Set"

Another imaginable Grand Slam-related accomplishment is winning a "Boxed Set" of Grand Slam titles – winning the singles, doubles, and mixed doubles at all four Grand Slam events. (No male has done this and the three women that have are: Doris Hart, Margaret Smith Court and Martina Navratilova).

Serena Williams has come closer than any other currently active player to joining this elite group. She has yet to win the mixed doubles at the Australian and French opens (finishing as the runner-up at the 1999 Australian Open and 1998 French Open). What a way to punctuate an already phenomenal career if Serena could grab the only two Grand Slam (mixed doubles) titles to elude her.

I think Serena should partner with Roger Federer at the Australian Open and Rafael Nadal at the French Open. She's won Olympic Gold (doubles) twice with Venus and she will be looking to grab her Olympic Gold (singles) medal in 2012. To have such an impact in singles and doubles speaks volumes towards ranking Serena Williams as one of the best, if not THE best, to play the game!

October 10, 2008

Serena at Miami Beach (Friday)

Serena's the QUEEN OF THE COURT!

Serena Williams’ Book Scheduled for Christmas 2009 Selling

Confirmation that Serena Williams' take of her, and her family's, tennis story under the title Queen of the Court, will finally go to print next year came when publishers Simon & Schuster announced they have bought the rights in a pre-emptive deal. The tome will be co-written by Daniel Paisner, who co-wrote 9/11 memoir Last Man Down. In the United States the book will be published by Grand Central while Simon & Schuster announced they have bought the United Kingdom and Canada rights in a pre-emptive deal. Mike Jones, Simon & Schuster's editorial director for non-fiction, admitted he had done the deal with Eugenie Furniss at Serena's management company William Morris for a "good six figure sum" and reported it will be one of the publisher's key titles for Christmas 2009.

Queen of the Court will chart Serena's story from the ghetto courts of South Central Los Angeles to becoming one of the most successful, charismatic and talked about players in the history of the sport, winning nine major titles and more than $20 million in prize money "It's a fantastic story about her background and how both her sister and she were pushed into becoming winners by their father," said Jones. "She has huge appeal because of what she has achieved during her career," said Jones. "This book goes beyond tennis fans. She's a top athlete with a really great personality and interesting story behind her."

Williams Sisters put off visit to Nigeria

By Agency Reporter

The proposed visit of Serena and Venus Williams to the country has been put off.

Serena and Venus, who have won two of the four tennis Grand Slams, were scheduled to be in Lagos. The sisters were expected to be in Nigeria between November 10 and 12 to play an exhibition and mentor 1000 sporting youths.

According to the Director of International Tennis Academy on Thursday, Godwin Kienka, the ankle injury sustained by Serena in the first round of the Porsche Championship in Stuttgart, Germany, last week has caused a change in the plan by the world No 1 player and her sister to travel to Nigeria next month.

Serena with her No.1 position in the WTA rankings at stake routed Li Na of China 6- 0 in the first set but eventually lost 1-6, 4-6 due to an ankle problem.

October 9, 2008


Serena out and about in Beverly Hills.

October 4, 2008

The POWER 100: Influential Sports Figures

BusinessWeek has released another Power 100 list. This time the list focuses on the Top 100 Influential figures in the area of Sports. Serena closes the list at #100.

SERENA WILLIAMS (Tennis champ)
"Already in ads for Hewlett-Packard, Nike, and Kraft, the winner of the 2008 U.S. Open and a gold medalist in Beijing is likely to pick up more endorsements."

* Serena was one of only two tennis players making the list. The other being Andre Agassi at #56.

* Serena was also one of only five females on the list. (The other four being: #50 Danica Patrick (Indy Racing League Driver), #74 Katie Bayne (Chief Marketing Officer, Coca-Cola North America), #75 Lesa France (Kennedy President, International Speedway), and #78 Christine Driessen (CFO and Executive Vice-President, ESPN).

October 3, 2008

Serena: "I need to recover"

"My left ankle has been bothering me since the US Open and I need to take a break now to get it back to 100% which is why I have to regretfully make this decision and withdraw from the doubles in Stuttgart and Moscow next week. I have played a lot this year and my body needs to recover. It’s obviously my goal to try and get the No. 1 ranking back and it hurts my chances pulling out of Moscow since I reached the final there last year. My only wish now is that with a week to 10 days of rest I can recover and be at my best for the Sony Ericsson Championships in Doha. I am confident the Moscow tournament will be a very successful one and hope to see my fans back there again next year". - Statement from Official Kremlin Cup website

Noteworthy: Williams is 43-7 this season and has reached the quarterfinals or better in 10 of 12 events.

Injured Serena pulls out of Kremlin Cup

STUTTGART, Germany — Serena Williams has pulled out of next week's Kremlin Cup because of an ankle injury, the WTA Tour said Friday. Williams, the U.S. Open champion, will drop from the No. 1 ranking Monday after losing to Li Na in the second round of the Porsche Grand Prix this week. Jelena Jankovic will regain the top spot. Williams also pulled out of the doubles competition in Stuttgart shortly before she was due to team up with her sister Venus on Thursday.

October 2, 2008

Williams Sisters withdraw from Stuttgart Doubles

It's a win for Hlavackova/Hradecka (CZE/CZE) (via walkover) because the Williams Sisters withdrew from the doubles competition (due to Serena's left ankle injury). Venus is set to play Dinara Safina in tomorrow's quarterfinals. It is hard to believe that this will be their FIRST time playing each other. This should be an awesome match! Go Venus (and get well Serena)!

October 1, 2008

Stuttgart (Doubles): 2nd Round (Thursday)

2nd Round
Venus/Serena (USA)[4] vs A. Hlavackova/L. Hradecka (CZE)
Not before 8:30pm (2:30pm EST)

Na Li stuns Serena!

STUTTGART, Germany (AFP) - World number one Serena Williams was a shock second round casualty of Stuttgart's WTA event after a three-set defeat to China's Li Na on Wednesday.

"I just started to make a lot of errors," admitted Williams afterwards. "I pretty much gave it to her, it was like I said: 'Here you go, you have a win today'. "Maybe I started to doubt myself, I made a lot of mistakes which helps her cause. "She played really well, especially in the third set where she just fought for everything. "I am disappointed I lost today, especially so soon in the tournament."

By dropping the second-round match at the Porsche Grand Prix, Williams will be overtaken by Jelena Jankovic in Monday’s new rankings, the WTA said. Williams gained the top spot when she beat Jankovic in the U.S. Open final three weeks ago for her ninth Grand Slam title. “Obviously, I want to be No. 1 but I am not focusing on that. I am focusing on winning titles and that goes hand in hand (with getting No. 1),” Williams said. “I am not worried. It will come again if I win tournaments. I play to win titles and Grand Slams, although obviously the No. 1 is also on my mind. "To be quite honest I don't deserve it playing like that," said Williams. "But I guarantee I will get it back."

Williams was playing her first match since the U.S. Open, getting a first-round bye in Stuttgart. She rolled through the first set and appeared headed for a resounding victory. Li also beat sister Venus Williams to reach the semifinals at the Beijing Olympics. Venus Williams is still in the Stuttgart tournament and watched Serena’s defeat. Li wasted three match points at 5-3, then fell behind 0-40 in her next service game after Williams had held for 5-4. She then put in a service winner and followed with an ace. After successfully challenging a call that her serve was out to get it to deuce, she clinched the match with her third ace of the game.