Connect with us

Sports

Just Like Old Times, it’s Williams vs. Williams at Wimbledon

Published

on

Serena Williams, left, and Venus Williams talk between points against Timea Babos and Kristina Mladenovic during a doubles match at the 2014 U.S. Open tennis tournament, Thursday, Aug. 28, 2014, in New York. (AP Photo/Matt Rourke)

Serena Williams, left, and Venus Williams talk between points against Timea Babos and Kristina Mladenovic during a doubles match at the 2014 U.S. Open tennis tournament, Thursday, Aug. 28, 2014, in New York. (AP Photo/Matt Rourke)

Howard Fendrich, ASSOCIATED PRESS

 
LONDON (AP) — Just like old times.

Used to be that a match involving Miss Williams vs. Miss Williams, as they like to say at the All England Club, was a regular occurrence at the latter stages of the most prestigious tennis tournaments in the world.

During a span of eight majors from the U.S. Open in 2001 to Wimbledon in 2003, Serena and Venus Williams participated in six all-in-the-family Grand Slam finals. Think about it this way: Before that stretch, the only previous major title match between sisters came when Maud Watson beat her younger sibling, Lillian, in the very first Wimbledon women’s final in 1884.

There would be two more all-Williams Grand Slam finals, both at Wimbledon, in 2008 and 2009. But since then, they have not met in any round at any Slam. Until now. No. 1-seeded Serena and No. 16-seeded Venus will reprise their unique rivalry on Monday in the fourth round at Wimbledon.

“We just don’t know what can happen there. We’ve all seen, a million times, them play. And we’ve seen different results, especially at Wimbledon. You just have no clue,” said Venus’ coach, David Witt. “We’ve seen good matches. We’ve seen bad matches.”

This will be their 26th showdown on tour (Serena leads 14-11), their 13th at a major (Serena leads 7-5), and their sixth at Wimbledon (Serena leads 3-2).

It comes 17 years after their first professional matchup, in the second round of the 1998 Australian Open.

And it comes 15 years after their first encounter at the All England Club, in the 2000 semifinals

“I think we’re both more mature. Still as tenacious,” said Venus, who won that one en route to the first of her seven career Grand Slam titles, five at Wimbledon. “I mean, back then, we were definitely fun to watch. I think we still are.”

Serena also has won five trophies at the grass-court tournament, part of her collection of 20 major singles championships.

Her narrow escape in the third round Friday against Britain’s Heather Watson — after trailing by two breaks at 3-0 in the third set, then twice standing two points from defeat at 5-4 — extended Serena’s Grand Slam winning streak to 24 matches. She is aiming for a fourth consecutive major title, a self-styled “Serena Slam,” and trying to get the third leg of a calendar-year Grand Slam.

Given that Venus is 35 and dealing with the day-to-day difficulties of an energy-sapping autoimmune disease, and Serena turns 34 in September, it seems fair to ask: How many more times will the world get to see this?

Remember, they were taught to play tennis by their father in Compton, California, and went on to spend time at No. 1 in the rankings, collect a total of 27 Grand Slam singles titles and another 13 as a team in doubles.

When they’re across the net from each other, it can be awkward for everyone involved — the sisters themselves, of course, but also their parents, their sisters and even their coaches.

“It’s fun, in the regard of seeing two of the best athletes in tennis play. … But it’s tough. It’s tough watching. It’s tough for them playing,” Witt said. “When they do play each other, I just say, ‘She’s going to be your sister after the match. You’ve got to go out there and just play the ball. Forget about who’s on the other side.'”

Said Serena’s coach, Patrick Mouratoglou: “It’s always super-special and difficult to play her sister, first because she’s a super player — and even better on grass. And second, because it’s her sister.”

Asked which Williams fans will be pulling for, Venus said: “I’ll probably be cheering for her.”

Serena, meanwhile, predicted: “I expect more people to be rooting for Venus.”

Really?

“I would be rooting for Venus,” she said.

“I mean, she’s been through so much. She’s had a wonderful story. She’s been so inspiring to me. You know, she’s just an incredible individual. She’s just so amazing,” Serena added. “She’s been so inspiring to a lot of people with the same things that she goes through, too.”

___

Follow Howard Fendrich on Twitter at http://twitter.com/HowardFendrich.
Copyright 2015 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.

###

Continue Reading
Click to comment

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published.

Bay Area

Kaplan to WNBA: Bring New Team Here!

Support to bring a WNBA team extends past a solid fanbase, as local regulating agencies have also taken key votes to prepare for a WNBA team in Oakland. With the leadership of Vice-Mayor Rebecca Kaplan, in July 2021, both the Oakland Coliseum Authority and the Oakland City Council unanimously and enthusiastically voted in favor of a term sheet to bring a WNBA team to Oakland.

Published

on

@PaulCobbOakland @NNPA_BlackPress @BlackPressUSA @Kaplan4Oakland @WNBA
Ray Bobbitt, President of African American Sports and Entertainment Group, who purchased the Coliseum as part of its East Oakland Development Plan, thanks Rebecca Kaplan for providing the City Council leadership in 2021 for the AASEG to bring a WNBA Franchise along with jobs, housing, businesses and sports enterprises to Oakland. Photo by Jonathan “Fitness” Jones.

By Post Staff

Oakland Vice-Mayor Rebecca Kaplan will introduce a resolution on Sept. 20, 1:30 p.m. to the Oakland City Council urging the Women’s National Basketball Association (“WNBA”) to approve the City of Oakland as the home for a new WNBA Team.

The WNBA has discussed plans to expand the number of WNBA teams on its roster for the past number of years. Kaplan said, “the City of Oakland must make it clear that not only are we supportive of bringing a WNBA Team to Oakland but are excited to be partners and collaborators with the WNBA during the expansion. This resolution, therefore, extends our strong support towards this effort and urges the WNBA to make Oakland the home for a WNBA team.”

When asked by the Post whether she had heard that San Francisco might be a potential WNBA competitor, even though Oakland started first with its bid, Kaplan said, “Oakland is ideally suited for a WNBA team because of our fervent and rooted fanbase, existing arena space and shared core values with the WNBA. The Bay Area has the fourth-highest number of WNBA fans among U.S. markets without a WNBA team — 418,816 WNBA fans, higher than eight current markets with a WNBA team. More than a half million Bay Area market adults play basketball, and the Bay Area ranks in the top 30 markets in household delivery for the WNBA Regular Season.”

In October of 2021, it was announced that WNBA Champion and four-time WNBA All-Star Alana Beard, who spent 15 years playing the WNBA and earned back-to-back Defensive Player of the Year honors, and Attorney Jade Smith-Williams, of the law firm Baily & Glasser, LLP, a local Oakland women’s basketball legend and who played professionally overseas, would join in the leading efforts by the African American Sports and Entertainment Group (“AASEG”) to have an Oakland Black and Women WNBA Team ownership process.

In addition to a strong fan base, Oakland already has a world-class arena at the center of a multimodal corridor ready to house a WNBA team. The Oakland Arena is easily accessible by both highway and public transportation, complete with a pedestrian bridge that allows fans direct access from the Coliseum BART station. The arena sits on 132 acres with 10,000 on-site parking spaces. It is also airport accessible, and a stone’s throw away from the Capitol Corridor rail line. This multimodal connectivity will allow not only Oaklanders to conveniently attend games but also fans from across California. From former Monarchs supporters to women’s basketball enthusiasts, Oakland will draw fans from the Bay Area megaregion and beyond.

Support to bring a WNBA team extends past a solid fanbase, as local regulating agencies have also taken key votes to prepare for a WNBA team in Oakland. With the leadership of Vice-Mayor Rebecca Kaplan, in July 2021, both the Oakland Coliseum Authority and the Oakland City Council unanimously and enthusiastically voted in favor of a term sheet to bring a WNBA team to Oakland.

Kaplan states, “Oakland is a community that values social justice, equality, and women’s rights. These principles align with those of the WNBA, and we are ready to move forward as a partner in advancing those goals as the home for a new WNBA team.”

Continue Reading

Activism

Veterans Fish Free

NABVETS and other Bay Area veterans groups will join together with East Bay Regional Park District to go fishing, 9:00am to 2:30pm Saturday, September 27 at the Oakley Regional Shoreline (Antioch Pier) at Bridgehead Road and Wilbur Avenue, Antioch, CA. 

Published

on

NABVETS and other Bay Area veterans groups will join together with East Bay Regional Park District to go fishing, 9:00am to 2:30pm Saturday, September 27 at the Oakley Regional Shoreline (Antioch Pier) at Bridgehead Road and Wilbur Avenue, Antioch, CA.

Buses will provide free transportation from Richmond and Concord. For information, view the flyer below or call 510-545-2554.

Continue Reading

Black History

COMMENTARY: Inspiring Tennis from Serena, Tiafoe, and Coco Gauff

The match that had people buzzing came last Friday, featuring Serena Williams, considered the best women’s player ever. Nearly 41-years old, a mother of a young child, Serena had announced her retirement. Friday would be her last match.

Published

on

Emil Guillermo is a journalist and commentator. See him at www.amok.com
Emil Guillermo is a journalist and commentator. See him at www.amok.com

By Emil Guillermo

Tennis, anyone? In my Mission District neighborhood growing up, we had courts. But us kids always chose the adjoining basketball court. And in the summer and fall, we chose the big patch of grass for baseball and football. They tried to get us to play tennis by giving us free rackets. But they were wooden, and we broke them at the handle easily. Besides, the famous players whose names graced the rackets were Rod Laver, Tony Trabert. White guys, not like any of us.

That was in my day. If only we had seen more people like us to encourage us to play in white spaces.

But imagine growing up now watching the U.S. Open.

This week an African American from Maryland, 24-year-old Frances Tiafoe, ranked No. 22 in the world beat the No.2 seed of the tournament, the Spaniard Rafael Nadal, and became the youngest American to advance to the U.S. Open quarterfinals since Andy Roddick in 2006.

Tiafoe played with such joy, indicative of a love instilled in him by his father, an immigrant from Sierra Leone, who worked as a maintenance man at a tennis development facility in the DC area. While his dad worked late nights tending to the clay courts, his mother, a nurse, worked nights. It made the young Tiafoe sleep at the facility during the week. That’s how you fall in love with the game. It becomes part of your dreams.

But Tiafoe is a young emerging phenom. The match that had people buzzing came last Friday, featuring Serena Williams, considered the best women’s player ever. Nearly 41-years old, a mother of a young child, Serena had announced her retirement. Friday would be her last match.

For her send off, Serena gave us plenty of fight and passion. After a second-round victory that stunned even her fans, Serena had people talking about her possibly winning the whole thing. In the third round match, she was down 5-1 in the final set. She’s overcome that kind of deficit before, but … would she? Could she? Now?

Serena fought off six match points before she meekly hit a final ball into the net that made her younger opponent Ajla Tomljanovic of Australia, the victor.

But we got what we needed. A life lesson. Serena in braids and a sparkly black tennis dress, showed the fire of never giving up. Six match points she battled. Commentator/former tennis champion Chris Evert described the Serena method as reaching for the stars, failing, then getting up to fight again.

The beauty of that process? Sometimes you’ll fail well enough to win. Over and over again.

That’s how Serena became such a dominant champion, winning 39 major titles — the most in history by man or woman in the open era. Among those laurels were 23 Grand Slam singles titles, 14 in women’s doubles, and two in mixed doubles.

And to think, Serena and her sister Venus, another great champion, all did it out of that tennis haven — Compton, Calif.

When I saw them both play, I was already too old to play competitively. But I wasn’t too old to be motivated to pick up a racket and hit some balls. That’s how inspiring both Williams sisters have been for more than two decades.

Now here comes a new generation of fresh stars half their age, Americans in the U.S. Open quarterfinals like the exuberantly physical Tiafoe and the screaming 18-year-old Coco Gauff.

There’s some diverse tennis role models now if you want to work on your forehand.

Emil Guillermo is a journalist and commentator. See him at www.amok.com

Continue Reading

Subscribe to receive news and updates from the Oakland Post

* indicates required

CHECK OUT THE LATEST ISSUE OF THE OAKLAND POST

ADVERTISEMENT

WORK FROM HOME

Home-based business with potential monthly income of $10K+ per month. A proven training system and website provided to maximize business effectiveness. Perfect job to earn side and primary income. Contact Lynne for more details: Lynne4npusa@gmail.com 800-334-0540

Facebook

Trending