February 28, 2009

Serena: Leading the WTA

(As of February 23, 2009)

Women's Singles Rankings: # 1 (9982 points)
WTA Points Race: # 1 (2750)
WTA Money Leaders: # 1 ($1,666,697)

On this day in history......

1999 — Venus and Serena Williams become 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.

February 26, 2009

Serena to play Ivanovic @ BNP Paribas Showdown

Serena Williams, the reigning U.S. Open and Australian Open champion, will play French Open winner Ana Ivanovic, after Wimbledon Champion Venus Williams battles Jelena Jankovic in a pair of one-set "semifinals." The winners will then play a best-of-three final. Tune to HBO Monday night at 7:30pm EST for LIVE action at "The Garden."

Monica on Serena / players who gave her trouble

Monica Seles recently did an interview with FoxSports in reference to the upcoming Youth Registration Night / Tennis Night in America (@ the BNP Paribas Showdown for the Billie Jean King Cup). Randy Sparage asked Monica the following:

Monica, Serena Williams looked great winning the Australian Open last month, do you think she's ready to dominate this entire season?
"She sure looked like it. She was in full form. She's in great shape. Mentally she was very strong. So it will be interesting to see. As long as she can stay healthy I think that's a very realistic possibility."

Which opponents gave you the most trouble?
"Martina Navratilova, Steffi Graff, Serena Williams, Venus Williams, all the past great number ones."

Serena on the Ellen Degeneres Show (Video)

WTA Players on Winning and Losing (ESPN Video)

Photo from Gatorade G2 Everyday Athlete Search

February 25, 2009

BNP Paribas Showdown for the Billie Jean King Cup

Download Serena's NEW Workout for FREE

Shape Magazine has partnered with Nike to bring you a free “Power Boost” audio workout designed to tone your entire body and improve your strength and stamina. Serena Williams coaches you every step of the way, encouraging you through several speed bursts that are interspersed with sculpting moves. Developed by award-winning fitness instructor Jay Blahnik, the coached workout lasts 41 minutes and 58 seconds. To get the free download, click on the following link: Download SHAPE’s exclusive Nike SportMusic coached workout featuring Serena Williams

Serena on Late Night w/ Jimmy Fallon

Serena is scheduled to make an appearance on LATE NIGHT WITH JIMMY FALLON on March 5th. Other guests include: Donald Trump and (Rapper/Actor) Ludacris. Check your local listings for time and station.

Serena wins Gatorade G2 Everyday Athlete Search

Serena Williams has teamed up with Gatorade G2 (at Hollywood's famed Roosevelt Hotel) to select who will appear alongside her in a new national "Everyday Athletes" ad campaign for the Gatorade G2 low-calorie sports drink. The G2 Everyday Athlete Search featured five semi-finalists -- all named Serena -- who traveled to the event from around the country to discuss their personal stories of how sports and exercise have helped them overcome a challenge or allowed them to reach and accomplish a significant, personal goal.

A casting panel consisting of Serena Williams, and representatives from Shape Magazine and Gatorade G2 selected winner Serena Cuevas, 23, from San Diego, Calif. based on Cuevas' story of growing up with a passion to dance that was sidetracked by a horrific car accident at the age of 17. She was told by the doctors she may never dance again. With determination and passion, Cuevas recovered and went on to compete in national and international salsa competitions, as well as establish her own dance company -- Deseo Dance Company -- in San Diego.

Cuevas will appear with Serena Williams in the national ad campaign beginning this spring that will help draw attention to the Gatorade brand's broadened definition of what it means to be an athlete. If your body is moving, Gatorade considers you an athlete. In addition to Serena Williams, G2 is also unveiling three more "everyday athlete" ads, featuring the NBA's Kevin Garnett, WNBA's Candace Parker, and Gold Medal Beach Volleyball star Kerri Walsh with their "everyday athlete" counterparts.

The G2 Everyday Athlete Search, part of the new G campaign, is a call to action for all active people, not only to think about Gatorade in new and exciting ways, but also to search for compelling ways they can challenge themselves to achieve while promoting the low-calorie benefit of the beverage with a tagline of "Less Calories for More Athletes."

-- PR Newswire

Serena chats w/ Jim Rome (ESPN Video)

In this ESPN interview, Serena chats with Jim Rome about the following:
- Winning her 10th major
- How long she'd like to play (tennis)
- Why the Olympics is important to her
- The French Open
- Dubai / S. Peer
- Her soon to be released book/memoir
- Playing Venus

February 23, 2009

Serena attends Oscar parties

Serena attended two Oscar-related parties on last evening: The 17th Annual Elton John AIDS Foundation Academy Award Viewing Party and the Fox Searchlight Official 'Slumdog Millionaire'/'The Wrestler' post Oscar party at One Sunset in West Hollywood, California.

February 22, 2009

Serena to appear on ELLEN (Tuesday)

Tune in Tuesday as Serena appears on the Ellen Degeneres Show. This episode is the Ellen's Mardi Gras Show which also features Raphael Saadiq and Richard Simmons reporting live from New Orleans. Check your local listings for time and station.

February 20, 2009

Dubai Semifinal Reflections............

Serena will surely bounce back from this loss, as she always does but it now appears that Venus is truly "rising" and making Serena nervous. Serena's first set was horrible (as evidenced by six of her seven double faults occuring in this set). I'm not going to say "had this" or "had that happened blah, blah, blah" but what I will say is Serena must now commit to "taking" it to Venus. It might even help to create a "visual" of Jelena, Ana, Maria or even Justine while playing Venus. (She enters THE ZONE more often times than not when playing those lady ballers).

I could not help but wonder what happened to the Serena that appeared for the quarterfinal demolition of Ana Ivanovic. Venus is slowly turning the tables on Serena: the loss at Wimbledon (which Serena came out firing on all cylinders and appeared to be heading for victory), the loss at the Sony Ericcson Championships (a blow out) and today, a sloppy start with some erratic patches of play throughout. Don't get it twisted, Serena's physical knee pain was very visible but I think Venus played the crucial points just a little bit better than Serena today.

As a fan (because I'm definitely no one's coach), I want Serena to (above all else) focus on remaining healthy / fit, stay focused until the end of the match, move her feet (quicker and more often), hold her (sensational) serve, remain consistently aggressive (that's when she's at her unbeatable best), consistently take advantage of the break point opportunities and practice that (ill-advised) drop shot. Serena is a great on court thinker / warrior and awesome point constructor. It just seems like her knee (which caused her some discomfort) might have done her in (and was a point of distraction) for the duration of the match. Make no mistake, Venus won this battle but Serena will win the war.

Serena on her serve and the match: "I think my serve has gone somewhere on vacation and I need to go there and catch up with it. I didn't serve well. Venus played well, and served really well, which was the difference."

Serena on resting: "I am looking forward to a break before I play Miami. I really need it and I think it will be good for my knee. I have never played so much tennis in my whole career and I'm a little tired”

Venus stops Serena in Dubai Semis

Venus has defeated Serena 6-1,2-6,7-6(3) in Semifinal action at the Barclays Dubai Tennis Championships. It appeared that Venus was going to run away with the match but Serena fought back in the 2nd set. Although Serena was obviously in pain from that ever-aching knee, she fought until the very end. There were a few questionable calls but that's water under the bridge. Serena was only serving at 38% in the first set. For the match she accumulated 7 aces and 7 double faults. (6 of the double faults were in the FIRST set). Congratulations Venus and good luck in the championship match.

Dubai: Serena vs. Ana (Quarterfinal) Highlights

February 19, 2009

Dubai Tennis Championships: Semifinal (Friday)

Serena Williams (USA)[1] vs Venus Williams (USA)[6]
Head-to-Head tied at 9-9
3rd Match of the day on Centre Court
(Not before 7:00pm / 10:00am EST)

Serena defeats Ana; Advances to Semis

Serena continues to roll. She defeated Ana Ivanovic 6-4, 6-4 in quarterfinal action at the Barclays Dubai Tennis Championships. Serena advances to the semis where she will take on very familiar foe, her sister, Venus!

February 18, 2009

Dubai Tennis Championships: Quarterfinal (Thurs)

Serena Williams (USA)[1] vs Ana Ivanovic (SRB)[8]
Serena leads Head-to-Head 1-0
4th / Final Match of the day on Centre Court
(Not before 7:00pm / 10:00am EST)

Serena zaps Zheng; Advances to Quarters

Serena has defeated Zheng Jie 6-4, 6-2 and has advanced to the Quarterfinals where she will do battle with Ana Ivanovic. INTERESTING STAT: Serena has played Ana only ONCE, beating her at the 2006 US Open 6-2, 6-4.

Serena attends DUBAI Player Party

Serena attended the Barclays Dubai Tennis Championships player party (in the Gulf emirate of Dubai) on February 17, 2009. Serena is spotted chatting with Tournament Director Salah Tahlak. (Image courtesy of /AFP/Getty Images).

Serena: A True WTA Leader!

(As of February 16, 2009)

Women's Singles Rankings: # 1 (9632 points)
WTA Points Race (Singles): # 1 (2400)
WTA Points Race (Doubles): # 1 (2000 points)
WTA Money Leaders: # 1 ($1,579,197)

Oracene's thoughts on Williams vs. Williams

Oracene Price, mother of Venus and Serena Williams, is one cool, level-headed lady. Here are her thoughts on her daughters playing against each other:

"I just tell them to remember they are sisters and how love and how to care for one another is more important than anything, so, this is just a game and eventually it would be over and you will have to live with each other. So, just go out there and do your best and whoever wins, wins. And whoever loses, better luck next time." Having said that, Price admits she keeps her distance from whoever comes out second best, in any match. "They don't want to be talked to, they don't want you telling them anything, they just want to be left alone and that's what I do," she told CNN.

February 17, 2009

Dubai Tennis Championships: 3rd Rnd (Wednesday)

3rd Round
Serena Williams (USA)[1] vs Jie Zheng (CHN)[13]
Serena leads Head-to-Head 2-0
5th / Final Match of the day on Centre Court

Serena stuns Sara; Advances to (Dubai) 3rd Round

Serena has defeated Sara Errani 4-6, 6-2, 6-0 in 2nd Round action at the Barclays Dubai Tennis Championships. That third set bagel was indeed tasty but as we have come to accept, there are times when Serena starts really slow, and that she did. Credit to Serena, she always fights (regardless of how bad she might be playing) and finds a way to win. That's what CHAMPIONS do! Match Stats: 47 winners, 31 errors, 9 aces, 7 seven double faults and 1 hour and 41 minutes of match play. Serena's 3rd Round opponent will be Jie Zheng of China.

February 16, 2009

Barclays Dubai Tennis Championships: Press Pics

Dubai Tennis Championships: 2nd Round (Tuesday)

2nd Round
Serena Williams (USA)[1] vs Sara Errani (ITA)
Serena leads Head-to-Head 2-0
4th Match of the day on Centre Court
(Not before 7:00pm / 10:00am EST)

Serena seeks 1st Dubai title

By Rohan Alvares, Sports Reporter for XPress

A winner of all four grand slams, the thrill of the world number one ranking which she presently holds and her Australian Open win last month made her the all-time career prize money leader among any female athlete. Is there really any territory left for Serena Williams to conquer? “I’ve never won [the Dubai] tournament so that would be nice,” she said with her trademark grin. In the kind of form she has been, only a recurrence of the knee injury she suffered at the Paris Indoors event could prevent her from lifting the women’s crown at the 2009 Barclays Dubai Tennis Championships this weekend.

But Williams, speaking on the eve of her opening match against Italian Sara Errani, assured all she will be fit and raring to go when she walks out onto centre court at the Avaition Club on Tuesday. “It’s better. I didn’t practice much yesterday but it’s better today,” she said. The highest prize money earner she well may be, but Williams is as aware as anybody about the world’s bleak economic situation. Which is why she is keen to avoid the repercussions of pulling out of tournaments these days. “I’m not into paying the 100 thousand dollar fines, especially in these economic times,” she said. If all goes according to plan, Williams could set up a mouth-watering weekend semifinal clash with elder sister Venus. “Every time we play we play in the same half [of the draw],” said Williams adding, “She is my biggest competition and the only player who pushes me to new levels. And I think our level of matchplay is now really high. Our games have gotten closer and we are now neck and neck.”

And what’s it like returning to the summit of the women’s rankings? “It’s cool to be number one. It’s important but at the same time for me I don’t worry about it too much. I just take things as they go everyday. If I’m number one great, if not I just try to keep winning tournaments. “I take every match very seriously. It doesn’t matter whom I’m playing. I feel when people play against me they bring their best game. So I have to be serious as everyone’s my rival,” she said.

Serena withdraws from Open Gaz de France

Serena pulled out of her semifinal match (Saturday) with a knee injury. Number one seed Williams had secured her place in the last four Friday defeating French qualifier Emilie Loit 6-4, 6-1, although the American was made to work much harder than she had done in her opening two matches. In Sunday's final Dementieva will meet revitalised Frenchwoman Amelie Mauresmo who stunned Serbian second seed Jelena Jankovic 6-2, 0-6, 6-1.

Williams, fresh from her Australian Open win, said she had felt pain during her match with Loit. "My knees have been really good, and I'm really optimistic. I think they'll continue to be really good," said Williams who is due to play in Dubai next week. "I just have been playing a lot of tennis, so maybe it's just a sign that I'll need to take a day or two off and get ready for the next event."

February 13, 2009

Open Gaz de France: Semifinal (Saturday)

Serena Williams (USA)[1] vs Elena Dementieva (RUS)[3]
Serena leads Head-to-Head 5-3
Centre Court

* Both Semifinals will air on the TENNIS CHANNEL (8:30am - 12:30pm EST) and will repeat a few more times throughout the day. Check your local listings for the times of the repeat airings *

Serena defeats Loit; Advances to Semifinal

Serena has defeated Emilie Loit in Quarterfinal action Friday, 6-4, 6-1, (at the Open Gaz de France). The match lasted 1 hour and 6 minutes. Serena has advanced to the Semifinal where she will take on Elena Dementieva.

February 12, 2009

Justine on Serena (and Women's Tennis)

In the March 2009 issue of TENNIS MAGAZINE (page 16), Charlie Bricker did a Q&A with Justine Henin. The Q&A is titled, "The New JUJU - Justine Henin on Retirement and the State of Women's Tennis." When asked the following: "Since you left the game, there hasn't been a player able to take over your No.1 ranking and keep it. Why?" Justine responded, " I think right now Serena [Williams] is the BEST PLAYER IN THE WORLD. But to be No.1 and stay No.1, you have to be consistent. [Jelena] Jankovic has to go to another level, I think. I hope she has the capacity. [Ana] Ivanovic proved how hard it is to deal with a new situation after she won the French."

Serena not a fan of new doping regulations

The new rules mean players must let drug-testers know their whereabouts for a period of one hour on every day of the week – a measure which Nadal said makes players feel "like a criminal". The previous version of the rule obliged players to keep anti-doping authorities informed of their whereabouts on only five days a week.

Britain's Andy Murray described the measures as "draconian", and Williams, speaking after her 6-1, 6-2 victory over Karolina Sprem in the second round of the Paris Open on Thursday, agreed. "It's too much," she said. "If I want to go on vacation to Barbados for one day, I shouldn't have to say I'm going to Barbados. "I'm always complaining to my agents. I never tell people where I am, because I like to do my own thing."

The World Anti-Doping Agency (WADA) rule operates on a 'three strikes and out' basis over a period of 18 months, and Williams revealed that she had already fallen foul of the legislation.
"One time, I was out at dinner and someone turned up at my house to test me. I think I might even have got a strike. "It's bizarre. I can't run home from dinner and get tested. It's very invasive." Despite her reservations, though, Williams accepts that WADA's stance helps safeguard the sport's reputation. "I think tennis is the purest sport out there," she said. "We won't have problems in tennis that we have in other sports, so it's definitely a pure sport and that's the only upside to it."

Players who miss three surprise tests in 18 months face a possible two-year ban. American Mike Bryan has missed two already due to a flat tire in his car and a late breakfast out and fears against committing a third strike. Roger Federer, while not a huge fan of the system, has not gone so far as to criticise it like his colleagues.

Open Gaz de France: Quarterfinal (Friday)

Serena Williams (USA)[1] vs Emilie Loit (FRA)
Serena leads Head-to-Head 1-0
3rd Match of the day on Centre Court
(Not before 6:00pm)