Serena williams Tells Chris Evert: “I’m going For the Gusto”

With her win over Caroline Wozniacki at the US Open, Serena Williams joined Martina Navratilova and Chris Evert with a whopping 18 Grand Slam titles apiece. Stan Honda/Getty Images
With her win over Caroline Wozniacki at the US Open, Serena Williams joined Martina Navratilova and Chris Evert with a whopping 18 Grand Slam titles apiece. Stan Honda/Getty Images

Good thing happens when two women who are members of the “Elite 18″ get together for a chat? ESPN was kind enough to make it happen, when Serena Williams sat with Chris Evert recently to discuss her goals for 2015. I found the interview quite wonderful, as Evert in a delightfully relaxed interview style, had Serena to reflecting on this year as well; as opening up about friendships, disappointments and the joys of the 2014 season.

The two even bantered quite jovially about meeting up on the tennis court someday. “

evert on the netOne time in my life I would love to hit a ball with you,” said Evert.

Which made Serena ponder the thought, before replying in her witty winning way:

SERENAWALKINGWITHRACQUET

It would be different to play someone who’s won 18 grand slams. I don’t know how I would feel. Do you want to play, Chrissie? Let’s play this weekend so I can feel how it feels. 

From the interview we are made privy to one of the many, but not often spoken of by the tennis media, reasons why Serena values deeply her friendship with (and competitor as well) Caroline Wozniacki. Though they both have tennis in common as a career pursuit, their journey to professional tennis play differs.

Serena shares that the friendship enables her to gather insight about junior tennis’ where Caroline, like most women on tour, got her start.

Best gal pals vacation in the Bahamas, 2014. Source Serena Williams facebook page.
Best gal pals vacation in the Bahamas, 2014. Source Serena Williams facebook page.

We talk about how things are different for different players growing up. For me and Venus, not playing junior tennis was good for us. I asked her, “What was it like to play the juniors?” I never knew Junior Wimbledon existed until I was a few years on tour, I’m embarrassed to say. I didn’t realize that there was actually a junior event.

About 2015 and Changes in Her Game

We gain insight into the coach-player relationship Serena has with Patrick Mouratoglou. She began working with him shortly after an early exit from the 2012 French Open. Evert put his question to Serena: “You turned to Patrick Mouratoglou for some coaching, then had a dynamite year in 2013. What did he see in your game

It wasn’t what he saw, it was just what he did. He didn’t make me feel like I was changing anything. I think my foundation was strong enough that we just added to it. I was recently watching my old matches on YouTube.SERENAMASTERMINDING

found matches in 2009, 2010 and 2011, and I definitely have to say I think I’m a better player than I was then. I’m smoother. I move better on the court. I’m lighter on the court. My game looks a lot easier, like I’m not trying as hard. It’s a lot more effortless.

Serena Williams of the United States of America is watched by her coach Patrick Mouratoglou in a practice session during day nine of the 2013 Australian Open ' January 22, 2013 in Melbourne, Australia.
Serena Williams of the United States of America is watched by her coach Patrick Mouratoglou in a practice session during day nine of the 2013 Australian Open ‘ January 22, 2013 in Melbourne, Australia.

Evert reminds the World#1 that going into last year, her expressed goal was to make fewer errors. Revealing her commitment to greatness her game, Serena expounded in specifics the changes in her game that will be her focus in training.

SERENASERIOUSWell, I want to move a lot faster on the court. I want to be more dynamic and just completely awesome out there. And I need to bring my serve back. My serve in 2014 was a little disappointing for me. I want my 2013 serve back, but a better version of that for 2015. I had so many double faults this year: I was hitting, like, seven in a match, and it was driving me insane.

Enjoy reading the full interview at espnW’s Impact 25 and ESPN The Magazine’s Interview.
As for me and the 2015 tennis season…can’t wait! Having reached the record 18 grand slams and joining Navratilova and Evert in that elite club; Serena expressed her perspective on winning more grand slams and perhaps reaching the ultimate…22.

Chris Evert: Eighteen Grand Slams now. You’re in the club. How much further can you go?

Serena Welcomed into '18 Club' of Elite Tennis Players who have won 18 Grand SLAM Titles by fellow tenni greats Martina Navratilova & Chris Evert, who presented Serena with an Engraved 18K Gold Bracelet, at the 2014 US Open.
Serena Welcomed into ’18 Club’ of Elite Tennis Players who have won 18 Grand SLAM Titles by fellow tenni greats Martina Navratilova & Chris Evert, who presented Serena with an Engraved 18K Gold Bracelet, at the 2014 US Open.

Serena Williams: Well, it’s no secret. I’m going for the gusto. I’m going to try to catch up with Steffi (Graf, who won 22 Grand Slam titles). But right now I’m really focused on 19, which will begin in Australia. Whether I get there or not, I don’t know. But I know if I get to 19, the second it happens I will be thinking of 20.

Note to Serena: Your legion of fans have nothing but faith in you accomplishing that which you desire! And I know I speak for many when I say:
wish it – you on court – would never end!

SERENAWISHINGITNEVERHADTOEND

Racquets Up…LOL… guest blogger @BlackPearlMoi

 

5th Time: Serena Williams honored as the International Tennis Federation’s (ITF) world champion

Recap of Serena Williams’ 2014 Year

World#1 Serena Williams on the cover of Fitness Magazine, April 2014.
World#1 Serena Williams on the cover of Fitness Magazine, April 2014.

Serena Williams, along with Novac Djokovic on the men’s side, has won the International Tennis Federation’s (ITF) annual World Champion Award, claiming it for a fifth time.

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Djokovic won Wimbledon for his seventh Grand Slam title and reclaimed the No. 1 ranking. Williams won the US Open for her 18th major championship, the WTA Final in Singapore and stayed No. 1 throughout the year.

What follows is a look at the highlights of Serena’s 2014 season of tennis.  Here we go…

Serena William wins 3rd straight U.S. Open – 18th Grand Slam singles title

Serena Williams has always been her own toughest critic; by her standards 2014 had been somewhat of a struggle leading up to the 2014 U, S Open.  Up to this point in the season, grand slam titles had evaded the World’s #1: third-round loss at Wimbledon, which followed a second-round loss at the French Open, which followed a fourth-round loss at the Australian Open.

Serena Williams pictured before the 2014 US Open,  which she  has won five times, including the last two years.
Serena Williams pictured before the 2014 US Open, which she has won five times, including the last two years.

This was far from what was expected after a record breaking 2013! Especially when Grand Slam success defines a legacy. Then there was the giant shadow following every step she took in 21014 – the quest to match Chris Evert and Martina Navratilova at 18 grand slam titles, the prestigeous “Elite 18″ club.

Serena Williams wins in dominant form the 2014 US Open.
Serena Williams wins in dominant form the 2014 US Open.

One more big event remained in 2014, the US Open! Serena obviously had a serious talk with herself because despite all the buzz swirling after her Wimbledon exit – she regrouped, like a shape-shifter in science fiction writing, journeying onto a dominant US Open run!

How dominant? Check these results: Serena never dropped more than three games in any set, including a 6-3, 6-3 victory over close gal-pal Caroline Wozniacki in the Sunday final. With  outright winners, unreachable groundstrokes and the occasional volley; the oldest woman player, a few months after her 33rd birthday, Serena had serves reaching 120 mph (194 kph) and incredible forceful returns that kept backing her opponent into a corner.

American Serena Williams jumps with with joy after defeating Caroline Wozniacki of Denmark in their women's singles finals match at the 2014 US Open tennis tournament in New York, September 7, 2014. – Reuters pic, September 8, 2014.
American Serena Williams jumps with with joy after defeating Caroline Wozniacki of Denmark in their women’s singles finals match at the 2014 US Open tennis tournament in New York, September 7, 2014. – Reuters pic, September 8, 2014.

It’s important not to overlook the significance of this win; her first major trophy of 2014 came at the same event where at age 17, Serena won her 1st title in New York, in 1999. But at this point in her career, one number and one number only mattered to her on this Sunday night, though: 18.

“It is a pleasure for me to win my first Grand Slam here and then this No. 18,” Williams said, her voice choking. “So I’m really emotional. I couldn’t ask to do it at a better place.”

What a slam! What a champion!

Serena Williams joins “ELITE 18″

Legends: Serena Williams poses with Martina and Chris as she too claims her 18th Grand Slam Title.
Legends: Serena Williams poses with Martina and Chris as she too claims her 18th Grand Slam Title.

After Wimbledon, I was just so disappointed,” said Serena Williams. ”I also realized I just needed to relax a little more. I put a lot of pressure on myself. ”

Quite emotional was Serena at the conclusion of this match, the world witnessed those moments concluding when she dropped to her back behind the baseline, while covering her face with her hands, joyous as tears flowed in triumph!

"I have been trying to reach it for so long, since last year," said Williams, hoisting her first grand slam trophy since lifting the same trophy a year ago. "I didn't really think I would get there. I just felt so good." Serena said. (Photo by Mike Stobe/Getty Images for USTA)
“I have been trying to reach it for so long, since last year,” said Williams, hoisting her first grand slam trophy since lifting the same trophy a year ago. “I didn’t really think I would get there. I just felt so good.” Serena said.
(Photo by Mike Stobe/Getty Images for USTA)

Serena Emotional in Victory

An emotional Serena Williams drops to the court after winning her first grand slam in 2014 win at the US Open. Win represents her 18th Grand Slam Title and membership, along with Martina Navratilova and Chris Evert, in the "Elite 18".
An emotional Serena Williams drops to the court after winning her first grand slam in 2014 win at the US Open. Win represents her 18th Grand Slam Title and membership, along with Martina Navratilova and Chris Evert, in the “Elite 18″.

The win was historic in other ways as well: Serena earned $4 million, a record in tennis — $3 million for the title, plus a $1 million bonus for having had the best results during the North American summer hard-court circuit. She also became the first female athlete to top $60 million in on-court earnings. Evert and Navratilova joined her on court during the trophy and check ceremony.

Williams also has won five titles apiece at Wimbledon and the Australian Open, plus two at the French Open. Only three players have more Slams to their credit: Margaret Court with 24, Steffi Graf with 22, and Helen Wills Moody with 19.

Serena Williams stays number one throughout 2014

serena williams number oneSelected as the International Tennis Federation’s (ITF) world champions for 2014 Serena won the annual award for a fifth time. Williams won the US Open for her 18th major championship, the WTA world championship final and stayed No. 1 throughout the year.

After her amazing run at the US Open, Serena wasn’t done overwhelming us with her phenomenal style of championship winning. She followed up a surprising loss in the 2014 WTA Championship Final in Singapore, with 26 winners in the final match. Crushing Simona Halep 6-3, 6-0 for her third straight end-of-the-year title.

Serena Williams holds the victors trophy aloft, after winning the 2014 WTA Championship Final in Singapore. (AP Photo)
Serena Williams holds the victors trophy aloft, after winning the 2014 WTA Championship Final in Singapore. (AP Photo)

We’re talking only four days after Halep had beaten her; Serena avenged the loss as she came roaring back that Sunday, leaving no room for doubt, that she is still the queen of women’s tennis. This win was the biggest margin of victory in the final of the tournament since Kim Clijsters thrashed Amelie Mauresmo 6-2, 6-0 in 2003.

Singapore really  captured her heart, naming an orchid after her.  Lawrence Wong, Minister for Culture, Community & Youth & Second Minister for Ministry of Communications & Information, presenting a bouquet of  the flowers - to winner Serena Williams. Emeritus Senior Minister Gok Chok Tong & tennis legend Billie Jean King look on during the BNP Paribas WTA Finals Singapore trophy presentation at the Singapore Indoor Stadium on Oct 26, 2014.   (PHOTO: KEVIN LIM)
Singapore really captured her heart, naming an orchid after her. Lawrence Wong, Minister for Culture, Community & Youth & Second Minister for Ministry of Communications & Information, presenting a bouquet of the flowers – to winner Serena Williams. Emeritus Senior Minister Gok Chok Tong & tennis legend Billie Jean King look on during the BNP Paribas WTA Finals Singapore trophy presentation at the Singapore Indoor Stadium on Oct 26, 2014.
(PHOTO: KEVIN LIM)

Time now for more record-setting stats: the WTA Finals win was William’s seventh victory this year and the fifth time the American has won the event. For Serena that’s all in a day’s work on the court. SERENA WILLIAMS IS BAAAAD, don’t believe, read on…

 WTA PLAYER OF YEAR FOR 2014

SERENA5THWTAAWARDThough her year may have been full of surprises at times – as a whole nobody played better in 2014 – Serena Williams is officially the WTA Year-End World#1. It’s a familiar finish for Serena, having previously done it in 2002, 2009 and 2013.

American Serena Williams  poses with her WTA Year End World Number One Singles Trophy at the 2014 WTA Year End Gala Party at the Marina Bay Sands Hotel during the BNP Paribas WTA Finals at Singapore Sports Hub on October 25, 2014 in Singapore. (October 24, 2014 - Source: Clive Brunskill/Getty Images AsiaPac)
American Serena Williams poses with her WTA Year End World Number One Singles Trophy at the 2014 WTA Year End Gala Party at the Marina Bay Sands Hotel during the BNP Paribas WTA Finals at Singapore Sports Hub on October 25, 2014 in Singapore.
(October 24, 2014 – Source: Clive Brunskill/Getty Images AsiaPac)

She captured seven WTA titles – nobody else won more than four – and among those titles were an historic 18th Grand Slam title at the US Open and the BNP Paribas WTA Finals Singapore, completing a three-peat at the season-ender. Her five other titles came at Premier-level events.

And no one has had that long a span – 12 years – between years finishing No.1. Steffi Graf is next with nine years, her first year-end World No.1 finish coming in 1987 and the last one coming in 1996.

Serena Williams with Stacey Allaster WTA CEO and Chairman, Salah Tahlak from Dubai Duty Free at the WTA Year End Gala Party at the Marina Bay Sands Hotel during the BNP Paribas WTA Finals at Singapore Sports Hub on October 25, 2014 in Singapore. (October 24, 2014 - Source: Clive Brunskill/Getty Images AsiaPac)
Serena Williams with Stacey Allaster WTA CEO and Chairman, Salah Tahlak from Dubai Duty Free at the WTA Year End Gala Party at the Marina Bay Sands Hotel during the BNP Paribas WTA Finals at Singapore Sports Hub on October 25, 2014 in Singapore.
(October 24, 2014 – Source: Clive Brunskill/Getty Images AsiaPac)

“It’s pretty awesome,” Williams said. “I never, never thought I would be playing this long. Or if I were playing this long, I figured I’d be playing doubles. Definitely not being No.1 in the world in singles.”

Serena Williams interviewed for television during the BNP Paribas WTA Finals in Singapore.
Serena Williams interviewed for television during the BNP Paribas WTA Finals in Singapore.

“Gosh, I work so hard on my craft and at what I do, though. There isn’t a day that goes by that I don’t think about being the best. It’s stressful! The only time I didn’t think about it was when I had some problems and I was in the hospital. That was a relief, almost. I wasn’t thinking about it.”: Serena Williams.

When asked the secret to her continuing success, Serena without hesitation shares what she attributes her place at the top of history’s tennis champion’s with longevity:

serenainterview200“I think it just really boils down to your personality,” the World No.1 explained. “My personality is I’m a fighter, as you can see, and I never give up. I work very, very hard for everything. Whether it’s my serve or return, I work hard for everything. And it’s good to see some of the results from that.

As a fan of Serena Williams, all that remains to be said is,serenapretty (2)
“Thank you Serena for the joy of watching you give your best this year and for exemplifying what perseverance truly looks like … an inspiration you are!

guest blogger @BlackPearlMoi

PHOTO GALLERY: VENUS WILLIAMS as a Modern Josephine Baker

Game, Set, Match…

josephinebakerfoVenus Williams, except this time
she channels a modern Josephine Baker.

Venus pays homage to Josephine Baker, performer extradinoire, who settled in France in the 30’s and played an important role in the French Resistance.

jbWatch video of Josephine Baker
doing her thing: 1927 Style

guest blogger @BlackPearlMoi

“SERENA WILLIAMS Run for Charity in South Beach a Success: and Sister VENUS ran too”

Serena Williams kick started her training for 2015 with Ultimate Run South Beach Sunday morning.

REEHEADER

A bright sunny morning greeted the start of the 2014 Serena Williams Ultimate Run at South Beach, Florida. The weather was so kind, the runners in high spirits and all enjoyed a fun time for a worthy cause on South Beach!

SERENASTART

Serena Williams completes 5k

Venus supported her sister Serena’s charity event by joining the runners.

VENUSRUNSWITHVENUS

The two sisters embrace at the conclusion of their leg of the Serena Williams Ultimate Run for charity.
The two sisters embrace at the conclusion of their leg of the Serena Williams Ultimate Run for charity.

SELFIE

Together the two Tennis Stars delighted the crowds performing Karaoke singing once the run was over!

Sisters Gettin' Their Groove On: dressed in pink they delight the crowd by performing karaoke on stage!  And a good time was had by all!
Sisters Gettin’ Their Groove On: dressed in pink they delight the crowd by performing karaoke on stage! And a good time was had by all!

The “Serena Ultimate Run”, which included either a five kilometer or quarter marathon option, is a fun-run benefiting the “Serena Williams Fund” which supports victims of violent crime.

serenagopro
“It is the hope of the Serena Williams Foundation to continue to [bring about] change in the lives of children who have been negatively affected by violence in the US,” says Williams.
The foundation’s efforts are two-fold: First, it provides financial support to kids whose families are affected by violent crimes (Williams’s own half-sister was killed by a gunshot in 2003). The tennis player now raises money for families working to rebuild from tragedy, helping them secure counseling, daycare, housing, food, and education.
serenafinish
 serenafinishsmiles

After the run Serena talks

posted by guest blogger @BlackPearMoi 

PHOTO GALLERY: Serena Williams Stunning in Nike Shorts for Charity “Ultimate Run”

Photo Gallery posted by guest blogger @BlackPearlMoi

Venus Williams’ Other Career as Equal Pay Activist : Revisiting ESPN Film’s Documentary ‘Venus Vs.’

Post written by guest blogger @BlackPearlMoi 

ESPN FILMS first Nine for IX espisode: Venus Williams documentary "VENUS VS."
ESPN FILMS first Nine for IX espisode: Venus Williams documentary “VENUS VS.”

Many knew of Venus Williams’s domination on the court, but very few – and even ESPN executives – had heard of her fight to close the gender pay gap in tennis, even though she went so far as to lobby the British Parliament for financial equality.

VENUSBOSS

There’s a reason why sports make for compelling movies. They’re inherently narrative, with winners and losers, blood and tears—serving up hard-fought drama on a silver trophy plate. ESPN decided to approach the topic from a new angle, focusing not on the theatrics found on the field, but the battles fought off of it.

NINEFORIX

The producers of the network’s popular ’30 for 30′ documentary program decided on a series called
‘Nine for IX'; only it’s focus is solely on women in sports.

Libby Geist,  Senior Director of Development, ESPN Films
Libby Geist,
Senior Director of Development, ESPN Films

“A year ago almost exactly was the fortieth anniversary of Title IX,” explains Libby Geist,associate director of development at ESPN Films, referring to the portion of the Education Amendments of 1972 that protects against discrimination based on sex. It was this anniversary that inspired Nine for IX, which will include nine female-directed episodes about women who have overcome adversities in the athletic realm.

Geist agrees that the goal of the series as a whole is to chronicle unknown or forgotten events. “Women really have their own history now,” she says. “It’s not all happy and fluffy necessarily, but we’ve got our own stories to tell and we’re ready to tell them.”

The sports network approached Ava DuVernay, winner of the Best Director award last year at Sundance for her film “Middle of Nowhere,” to make a film about any topic in women’s sports. She choose Venus Williams’ fight for equal pay at Wimbledon — a big story in Britain, but not widely known in the United States.

'Venus VS' Venus Williams documentary, first of ESPN series Nine for IX
‘Venus VS’ Venus Williams documentary, first of ESPN series Nine for IX

The film follows Venus Williams as a child phenom to her first championship at Wimbledon in 2000 — and again in 2001, 2005, 2007, 2008.  Endorsement deals made her one of the most powerful athletes in the world — but not worthy of equal pay at arguably the most prestigious Grand Slam event.

venusbilliejeanInspired by Billie Jean King, Williams led the charge for all the other women on the court.

The director does a superb job of telling the total story of Venus and her conscious choice to step forward, with the full weight of her brand, and take the lead in the fight for financial equality for women in tennis.VENUSLEFTPROFILE

“It would be uninformed to do a story on her and her influence on the tour without acknowledging that at one point she was an outsider, and she was an outsider based on cultural politics,” DuVernay stated at a screening for the film.

VENUSBEADS

“But she and the tour and her fellow players matured by having her and Serena on the scene, to the point that the one who was an outsider became the ultimate insider and the champion for this cause.”

VENUSRIGHTPROFILE

“We say in the film, a fight for equality in any space contributes to our overall psychographic terms,” says DuVernay.

duvarney “This is part of that story, part of that narrative for women’s equality across the board, and the fact that we don’t know about it is something Venus wanted to remedy as much as I did.”

(NOTE: On Dec. 11, 2014 Ava DuVernay was nominated for best director of a feature film – ‘Selma’. She is the first woman of color and only the fifth woman ever to be nominated for the Golden Globe Award.)

The film ‘Venus Vs.’ is a phenomenal movie, and stands as evidence…both DuVernay and Williams are masters at what they do;

Williams and director Ava DuVernay on the set of “‘Venus Vs.’ (Howard Barish/ESPN Films)
Williams and director Ava DuVernay on the set of “‘Venus Vs.’ (Howard Barish/ESPN Films)

and mutual admiration is to be expected…speaking of the significance of what Venus did, the director commented, “I think you have to speak truth to power,” said the filmmaker. “If truth is not being spoken, then power doesn’t shift.

The Story has a Happy Ending

Venus Williams after winning the Wimbledon title in 2007. (Credit: AP)
Venus Williams after winning the Wimbledon title in 2007. (Credit: AP)

This time the All England Club finally agreed to do the right thing: When Venus won her fourth Wimbledon championship in 2007, she became the first woman to earn exactly the same as Roger Federer: $1.4 million.

Champions Roger Federer and Venus Williams pose with their trophies at Champions' Dinner at London's Savoy Hotel, Sunday July 8, 2007. "I was really motivated because no one picked me to win. They didn't even say, 'She can't win.' They weren't even talking about me," said Williams, who reached No. 1 in 2002 but entered Wimbledon ranked No. 31. "I never would doubt myself that way."   (AP Photo/Bob Martin, AELTC pool)
Champions Roger Federer and Venus Williams pose with their trophies at Champions’ Dinner at London’s Savoy Hotel, Sunday July 8, 2007.
“I was really motivated because no one picked me to win. They didn’t even say, ‘She can’t win.’ They weren’t even talking about me,” said Williams, who reached No. 1 in 2002 but entered Wimbledon ranked No. 31. “I never would doubt myself that way.”
(AP Photo/Bob Martin, AELTC pool)

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Watch  video: Director Ava DuVernay shares about making the Nine for IX documentary film
“Venus VS.” which aired on ESPN

HISTORY-MAKING MOMENTS FROM THE DOCUMENTARY ‘Venus Vs.’

venuswilliamshercallforequalpay

Speech Venus Gave to the Wimbledon Board Members the Day Before the 2005 Final

BACKSTORY: Things were really heating up on the equal pay issue prior to the 2005 Wimbledon tournament. The Australian Open and the U.S. Open were already offering equal pay, therefore Wimbledon became the issue’s focal point.

Apparently, the day before the women’s final at Wimbledon, the representatives of all the Grand Slams and every important tour person met for a board meeting. Well, the day before playing in the HUGE 2005 final against Lindsay Davenport, Venus chose to appear at that meeting and made a speech.

Picture this now…never before in history had a player appeared at this meeting!

With the strength of her conviction, Venus boldly stood  up in front of the members of this important Board and told them to close their eyes. “No peeking,” he said.

The respect Venus commanded saw them comply with her request…a they closed their eyes.

She instructed them to picture being a little girl with a dream–whether it’s tennis or politics or business. Then she said…

Imagine that you can’t earn as much or achieve that dream just because of your gender.

The next day, Venus played what many consider one of the BEST women’s tennis finals ever…beating Lindsay Davenport 9-7 in the third set of the Wimbledon final – to win her first major in four years. Behind the entire match, she dug deep in her arsenal of resolve, to win over a familiar and very talented foe. That final lasted longer than the men’s final that year, and in my book, IS the best women’s Grand Slam finals ever – because of high quality play from Venus and Lindsay…from start to finish!

In the ‘Venus Vs.’ documentary, Venus emotionally recall her little sister Serena’s advice to her before that final, which was: “If you take your opportunities, more will come.”

VENUSSERENASITNYT
As she was serving for the match at 8-7, Venus shares, those words of her sister’s, were the exact words she repeated to her herself in that defining moment on court.

Wimbeldon 2006: Champions Venus Williams and Roger Federer
Wimbeldon 2006: Champions Venus Williams and Roger Federer

Venus won that Wimbledon and the IRONY is that the women’s prize money not being equal to the men’s – meant she was forced to accept earning less money than the men’s champion, Roger Federer.

The Letter Venus Published Before Wimbledon 2006

VENUSHANDSONHIP

After all of her advocacy work in 2005 came up short, Venus published the following op-ed letter in the London’s Times before Wimbledon in 2006;  and, the question was raised in Parliament. Most agree that the letter became the defining moment of the entire battle for equal pay in tennis…Reprinted in it’s entirety:

Wimbledon has sent me a message: I’m only a second-class champion

Venus Williams

The Times & The Sunday Times

June 26, 2006

The time has come for it to do the right thing: pay men and women equal prize money

HAVE YOU ever been let down by someone that you had long admired, respected and looked up to? Little in life is more disappointing, particularly when that person does something that goes against the very heart of what you believe is right and fair.

When I was a little girl, and Serena and I played matches together, we often pretended that we were in the final of a famous tournament. More often than not we imagined we were playing on the Centre Court at Wimbledon. Those two young sisters from Compton, California, were “Wimbledon champions” many times, years before our dreams of playing there became reality.

There is nothing like playing at Wimbledon; you can feel the footprints of the legends of the game — men and women — that have graced those courts. There isn’t a player who doesn’t dream of holding aloft the Wimbledon trophy. I have been fortunate to do so three times, including last year. That win was the highlight of my career to date, the culmination of so many years of work and determination, and at a time when most people didn’t consider me to be a contender.

So the decision of the All England Lawn Tennis Club yet again to treat women as lesser players than men — undeserving of the same amount of prize money — has a particular sting.

I’m disappointed not for myself but for all of my fellow women players who have struggled so hard to get here and who, just like the men, give their all on the courts of SW19. I’m disappointed for the great legends of the game, such as Billie Jean King, Martina Navratilova and Chris Evert, who have never stopped fighting for equality. And disappointed that the home of tennis is sending a message to women across the world that we are inferior.

With power and status comes responsibility. Well, Wimbledon has power and status. The time has come for it to do the right thing by paying men and women the same sums of prize money. The total prize pot for the men’s events is £5,197,440; for the women it is £4,446,490. The winner of the ladies’ singles receives £30,000 less than the men’s winner; the runner-up £15,000 less, and so on down to the first-round losers.

How can it be that Wimbledon finds itself on the wrong side of history? How can the words Wimbledon and inequality be allowed to coexist? I’ve spent my life overcoming challenges and those who said certain things couldn’t be achieved for this or that reason. My parents taught me that dreams can come true if you put in the effort. Maybe that’s why I feel so strongly that Wimbledon’s stance devalues the principle of meritocracy and diminishes the years of hard work that women on the tour have put into becoming professional tennis players.

I believe that athletes — especially female athletes in the world’s leading sport for women — should serve as role models. The message I like to convey to women and girls across the globe is that there is no glass ceiling. My fear is that Wimbledon is loudly and clearly sending the opposite message: 128 men and 128 women compete in the singles main draw at Wimbledon; the All England Club is saying that the accomplishments of the 128 women are worth less than those of the 128 men. It diminishes the stature and credibility of such a great event in the eyes of all women.

The funny thing is that Wimbledon treats men and women the same in so many other respects; winners receive the same trophy and honorary membership. And as you enter Centre Court, the two photographs of last year’s men’s and women’s champions are hung side by side, proudly and equally.

So why does Wimbledon choose to place a lesser value on my championship trophy than that of the 2005 men’s winner Roger Federer? The All England Club is familiar with my views on the subject; at Wimbledon last year, the day before the final, I presented my views to it and its French Open counterparts. Both clearly gave their response: they are firmly in the inequality for women camp.

Wimbledon has argued that women’s tennis is worth less for a variety of reasons; it says, for example, that because men play a best of five sets game they work harder for their prize money.

This argument just doesn’t make sense; first of all, women players would be happy to play five sets matches in grand slam tournaments. Tim Phillips, the chairman of the All England Club, knows this and even acknowledged that women players are physically capable of this.

Secondly, tennis is unique in the world of professional sports. No other sport has men and women competing for a grand slam championship on the same stage, at the same time. So in the eyes of the general public the men’s and women’s games have the same value.

Third, athletes are also entertainers; we enjoy huge and equal celebrity and are paid for the value we deliver to broadcasters and spectators, not the amount of time we spend on the stage. And, for the record, the ladies’ final at Wimbledon in 2005 lasted 45 minutes longer than the men’s. No extra charge.

Let’s not forget that the US Open, for 33 years, and the Australian Open already award equal prize money. No male player has complained — why would they?

Wimbledon has justified treating women as second class because we do more for the tournament. The argument goes that the top women — who are more likely also to play doubles matches than their male peers — earn more than the top men if you count singles, doubles and mixed doubles prize money. So the more we support the tournament, the more unequally we should be treated! But doubles and mixed doubles are separate events from the singles competition. Is Wimbledon suggesting that, if the top women withdrew from the doubles events, that then we would deserve equal prize money in singles? And how then does the All England Club explain why the pot of women’s doubles prize money is nearly £130,000 smaller than the men’s doubles prize money?

Equality is too important a principle to give up on for the sake of less than 2 per cent of the profit that the All England Club will make at this year’s tournament. Profit that men and women will contribute to equally through sold-out sessions, TV ratings or attraction to sponsors. Of course, one can never distinguish the exact value brought by each sex in a combined men’s and women’s championship, so any attempt to place a lesser value on the women’s contribution is an exercise in pure subjectivity.

Let’s put it another way, the difference between men and women’s prize money in 2005 was £456,000 — less than was spent on ice cream and strawberries in the first week. So the refusal of the All England Club, which declared a profit of £25 million from last year’s tournament, to pay equal prize money can’t be about cash. It can only be trying to make a social and political point, one that is out of step with modern society.

I intend to keep doing everything I can until Billie Jean’s original dream of equality is made real. It’s a shame that the name of the greatest tournament in tennis, an event that should be a positive symbol for the sport, is tarnished.

So ends the story of the woman tennis player who
took on Wimbledon as an opponent…

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and finished in Victory.
Not bad for a gurrl from Compton! ‘-)

Reviews of Nine for IX documentary film

“Venus Vs.”

“It’s a stirring story that is skillfully rendered here. Throughout the tight, well paced film, Williams emerges as a colorful, combative, articulate presence.”
Stephen Farber | HOLLYWOOD REPORTER

“Venus Vs. is a film not only triumphant in its subject matter, but in offering a narrative that is at once as empowering to female athletes, young girls looking for heroes and feminist activists, but also to all sports fans. To everyone, for that matter.”
Craig Carpenter | HUFFINGTON POST

“Elegantly made.”
Alison Willmore | INDIEWIRE

“Director Ava DuVernay further displays the fascinating reaches of her talents with her latest project, Venus Vs. a sports documentary for ESPN centered exclusively on the inspirational Venus Williams.  As with DuVernay’s previous works, her latest is not to be missed.”
Nicholas Bell | IONCINEMA

“The movie is taut, compact, and strong—just like its titular star.”
Jonathan Scott | TENNIS.COM

“The crusade that Williams — and others long before her like Billie Jean King — fought is memorably captured in a new documentary by director Ava DuVernay called Venus Vs.”
Murray Jacobson | PBS NEWSHOUR

“Visual choices, so striking and so precise, open up Venus Vs. to yet another set of contexts, extending beyond the ongoing effort to achieve women’s equality in sports.”
Cynthia Fuchs | POPMATTERS

“DuVernay chose a story that both fits the celebratory theme of the Nine For IX series and breaks new ground.”
Travis Waldron | THINKPROGRESS.ORG

“Cleverly, DuVernay incorporates footage from some of Williams’ most stunning matches as a way of not only communicating visually the blood, sweat and tears going into the battle for women’s respect on the courts, but also as a demonstration of how ludicrous the hoary claim is that women’s matches aren’t as ‘entertaining’ as men’s.”
Beth Hanna | THOMPSON ON HOLLYWOOD

“The documentary benefits from a directorial specificity that makes the subject matter fresh and exciting. There’s a great athletic energy and pacing.”
Nijla Mumin | SHADOW & ACT

“Venus Vs. will grab your attention from its first frame as DuVernay very aptly presents the film’s central narrative and moves the story forward in a succinct and entertaining way.”
ROBERTSON SYNDICATE

FLASHBACK…VENUS A VISION OF LOVELINESS: IN INDIAN SARI BOLLYWOOD DANCES

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Halfway around the world Venus Williams found herself at home as she endeared herself to the people of India; and fully embraced their culture, enjoying on her favorite dish, Bhindi Masala. And though in India to play in the Inaugural Champions Tennis League, Venus fulfilled her dream of performing the dance she had long admired while watching Bollywood movies. She mesmerized the audience as she showcased her alluring athletic curves in a flattering bright, gold-trimmed sari, and performed Hindi dance moves at the Bangalore fashion show.

Venus Williams poses with Bangalore Raptors Team at Fashion Show #RaptorsBall
Venus Williams poses with Bangalore Raptors Team at Fashion Show #RaptorsBall

Watch as the Champion Tennis Player, with the name of a Goddess ‘ VENUS ‘ claims the runway…Namaste Venus ‘-)

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Video courtesy of @roshanshenthar from Pepper Media

Venus is making her moves to Bollywood star Deepika Padukone’s song “Lovely”. The occasion was the Raptors Ball,  celebrated Champions Tennis League party. “Venus insisted on walking the ramp to a Bollywood number, and we chose the track,” said one organizer.

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VID: Venus Williams Does Bollywood In Fashion Show

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Venus to Join Sister Serena Sunday for South Beach Run

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Venus Williams will be standing by her younger sister Serena on Sunday, when she kicks off her first
“Serena Williams Ultimate Run” in South Beach at 8 a.m. on December 14!

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“She’s always been a better runner, because she has those long legs,” Serena says. “She just runs so easily.”

Other tennis stars, including Andy Murray and Chris Evert, are expected, and then, there’s three-time New York marathon champ Alberto Salazar and four-time world champion triathlete Leanda Cave.

SERENA IS RUNNING…but she’s a little nervous, she says, because she’s considering upgrading from the event’s 5K run to the quarter-marathon (6.55 miles). Williams, who lives in Palm Beach Gardens, ran a sub-25-minute 5K in the city earlier this year.

 “I just want to challenge myself,” she says, although she hasn’t made a final determination.

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But I also want to run with the fans, and support them,” Serena says.

The Quarter Marathon (6.55 miles), 5K Run/Walk and Ultimate KIDS Dash will bring together runners of all ages and abilities. Proceeds will benefit the Serena Williams Foundation, which is aimed at helping youth all over the world.  It provides assistance to families affected by violent crimes and provides underprivileged youth around the world with the highest quality of education available to them.

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The foundation’s efforts are two-fold: First, it provides financial support to kids whose families are affected by violent crimes (Williams’s own half-sister was killed by a gunshot in 2003). The tennis player now raises money for families working to rebuild from tragedy, helping them secure counseling, daycare, housing, food, and education.
“It is the hope of the Serena Williams Foundation to continue to [bring about] change in the lives of children who have been negatively affected by violence in the US,” says Williams.

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The race starts on the sand on South Beach, which is appropriate because Serena says she considers South Florida home, having lived in Palm Beach County for more than a decade. Serena is joining all runners and before the race begins she will speak at the Start Line; then she will sing karaoke at the Post Race Party!

BADGEFinisher Medal

  • All participants in the 5K and Quarter Marathon will receive an artisan finisher medal
  • All KIDS Dash participants will receive a special kids medal

TEESHIRTS

“Serena Williams Will Play Ana Ivanovic Wednesday in IPTL” guest blogger BlackPearlMoi

 SERENAENJOY

IPTL’s Singapore leg continues on Wednesday December 2 with the struggling Singapore Slammers set to play the unbeaten Micromax Indian Aces.

Will the Singapore Slammers experience their best results on this day of competition or face their fifth team defeat? Photo below is evidence that we, team Singapore Slammers fans, believe today is V-Day – Victory!
Team Singapore Slammers & friends.
Team Singapore Slammers & friends.

ThoughGaelMonfilsandAnaIvanovic have been in winning form, playing well  for the Aces, they face a challenge today: Monfils against the World #7Berdych, who has not been in excellent form, andIvanovic in another face off with World #1 Serena Williams, who the Slammers are hopeful will cap a win for the team.

Serena Williams and Anna Ivanovic
Serena Williams and Anna Ivanovic participated in the 5th Annual all-star charity event at the Ritz Carlton in Key Biscayne.
In the Champions Competition Andre Agassi, who arrived for IPTL play a day ago, might struggle against Fabrice Santoro when it comes to fitness, but Santoro doesn’t have the overwhelming serve and against such a strong returner, expect the French player to be pushed a bit.
Unfortunately for the Slammers, they have not yet found a team in mixed or men’s doubles who can stand up to the very effective pairings of the Aces – Sania Mirza and Rohan Bopanna and Monfils and Bopanna.
The Singapore Slammers and Manila Mavericks are scheduled on court in Singapore at 7.30pm (11.30am)
Tennis stars and lengends, among them Andre Agassi (front, left) and Serena Williams (front, right) at a private party held by DBS ahead of the kick-off of the Singapore leg of the IPTL at Shangri-La Hotel. -- ST PHOTO: DESMOND WEE - See more at: http://www.straitstimes.com/news/sport/tennis/story/tennis-andre-agassi-serena-williams-play-all-three-days-singapore-iptl-leg-2#sthash.WJHziHpY.dpuf
Tennis stars and lengends, among them Andre Agassi (front, left) and Serena Williams (front, right) at a private party held by DBS ahead of the kick-off of the Singapore leg of the IPTL at Shangri-La Hotel. — ST PHOTO: DESMOND WEE
Rules reminder The International Premier Tennis League (IPTL) has a unique format, which pits each of the four teams against each other in a series of matches. Each match consists of five sets: Men’s singles, women’s singles, mixed doubles, men’s doubles and men’s legends doubles, with the team that wins the most games across all five sets winning the match. Sets are played first to six games, with a five-minute shoot-out at 5-5 and no-ad scoring.
HOW AND WHERE TO WATCH IPTL MATCHES TODAY
You can watch IPTL matches online at www.GFL.TV 
Stream the IPTL live at365 > live streaming > tennis.  To access the live stream and watch the match for free, sign in, then go to Tennis > Live streaming
SCHEDULE

“Fans Go Crazy when Serena Williams Plays IPTL in Manila”

Everyone, I mean, just walking out to the court to warm up and hear the crowd was spectacular and unexpected,” remarked Serena Williams. “It’s really an honor to feel that. The reception has been amazing. was so nice.

SERENAWELCOMEI’ve never played and never been here. So it feels good to come to countries like this because you realize that we have fans everywhere so it’s really a good time and great opportunity to play here,” Williams said.

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When the tennis women’s World#1  stepped on the court in Manila to warm up, the crowd went absolutely crazy!

Watch Serena as she warms up side-by-side with Andy Murray; courtesy of fan xarlotie-Marie Charlotte Ayao.

Even Serena’s remarks reflect that she was caught by surprise at the outpouring of love she received halfway across the world.  Today’s action is her only appearance in the Manila leg of the inaugural International Premier Tennis League (IPTL) tour.

RESULTS OF SERENA’S PLAY IN MANILA

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Serena’s first appearance on court for her team, Singapore Slammers,  involved mixed doubles play. She partnered with  Lleyton Hewitt in competition against the duo of Manila Mavericks’ Andy Murray and Kirsten Flipkens.

Action resulted in a loss for Serena/Hewitt as Murray and Flipkens combined better to get a 6-1 win. Though playing against the home team, Serena was cheered on by the Filipino fans.

Keeping mindful that she had “Work To Do” for her Singapore Slammers team, inspite of the mixed double pounding 1-6 loss: the player IPTL is promoting as

“Hitting Like a Warrior”…

 [Photo/Agencies]
[Photo/Agencies]
Serena proceeded to serenainactiondefeat Kirsten Flipkens 6-3serenasquatin singles play. Next stop for the tour is Singapore and here’s hoping that Serena’s victory proves to be just what the doctor ordered for the still win-less Singapore Slammers in team based play.

After a year of ups and downs culminating with her joining tennis legends

AP Photo
AP Photo

Chris Evert and Martina Navratilova in the Elite “18 Club” (players with 18 grand slam titles):serenabracelet for this Serena Williams fan…it’s  great to see her having “a lot of fun”!!!

Awesome photo of the IPTL Singapore Slammers team with friends. Pictured :  Nick Kyrgios, Rohan Bopanna, Thomas Berdych, and, of course the Star of the team, Serena Williams.
Awesome photo of the IPTL Singapore Slammers team with friends. Pictured: Nick Kyrgios, Rohan Bopanna, Thomas Berdych, and, of course the Star of the team, Serena Williams.

Blog Post written by guest blogger BlackPearlMoi