Friday, December 11, 2009
It comes as no surprise that Serena Williams was fined a record $82,500 and placed on a two year “probationary period” for her September 2009 U.S. Open outburst wherein she yelled some choice words at a lineswoman after a foot-fault call that resulted in her semifinal loss to Kim Clijsters.
Ever since the Williams’ sisters hit the pros, they have been both loved and hated. Openly loved and adored by the people they represent and secretly and sometimes not-so-secretly hated by those, who up until the Williams’ came along, dominated the sport of tennis. But yet and still, the Williams’ sisters endured and persevered even with sports commentators crediting their triumphs and victories to their “strength” and “athleticism” while their counterparts won because they “played smart” and were “strategic.”
Add to that, Venus and Serena Williams’ contributions to tennis have increased the earnings for all women on the pro circuit, but they are still loathed by the same women who should be thanking them for the money they now earn when they lose to them.
Serena herself once blogged about an incident at the German Open where she lost to Dinara Safina. She wrote that she could hear the entire players lounge “all happy and joyous” because she finally lost.
"It was funny when I lost I was in the locker room and I could hear the entire players lounge really loud like really happy and joyous. Like down goes the champ! Someone beat her!!! It was like a big hoopla…."
To date, the previous highest fine for a Grand Slam offense was nearly $48,000 in 1995 when Jeff Tarango was docked for at Wimbledon while playing Alexander Mronz. Tarango was upset when a serve he thought was an ace was called out. When the crowd heckled him and he told them to shut up, the umpire, Bruno Rebeuh, issued a code violation. Tarango yelled at Rebeuh and then stormed off, defaulting the match, after announcing: ‘You are the most corrupt official. I’m not playing any more.’ As the umpire Rebeuh made his way back to the changing room, he encountered Benedicte, Tarango’s wife, who slapped him. Later she defended her action and said: ‘If Jeff had done it, he would have been put out of tennis.’
Let me be clear. This is not about the money. Please. $82,500 is chump change for Serena Williams who raked in $350,000 just for reaching the 2009 U.S. Open semifinals, $6.5 million in earnings this year alone, and $28 million in total career prize money. Serena Williams is an 11-time Grand Slam singles champion who ended the 2009 season at No. 1 in the Women’s Tennis Association’s rankings. No—this s about making sure that Serena Williams doesn’t continue to dominate women’s tennis.
In other words, if you can’t beat her’, fine her’, but more importantly, put her on probation and set her up to fail.
Serena now faces a “probationary period” at tennis’ four major championships in 2010 and 2011. If another offense occurs at a Grand Slam Tournament during that time, the fine increases to $175,000 and she would be barred from the following U.S. Open. And there wherein lies the conspiracy.
I think the powers that be are tired of watching the same two Black girls kick ass year in and year out on the tennis court. And since there’s no sign of either Williams sister retiring anytime soon, being photographed inhaling from a marijuana pipe, going to prison after being under Federal investigation for dog fighting, admitting that she took performance-enhancing drugs, or doing a Sammy Sosa and showing up on the court as white woman, the International Federation of Tennis’ ruling is the next best thing.
Everyone is aware that Serena is highly emotional on the court.
So with Serena on a “probationary period,” all it’s going to take is one “bad call” meant to provoke her and strike a nerve so that she violates the conditions of her probation, thus getting barred from the next U.S. Open.
Even with Venus Williams still playing tennis, if Serena were barred from the next U.S. Open, a dramatic shift in women’s tennis would occur that would result in a cataclysmic scenario wherein the odds would be greater that someone other than a Williams would take home the coveted Grand Slam title. And even though there’s no guarantee of the outcome in such a scenario—it does present an opportunity for players who—with Serena competing—wouldn’t ordinarily have a chance at advancing in the Grand Slam tournament.
But for that to actually come to fruition, the World’s No. 1 ranked female tennis player would have to be somehow disqualified—by say another “major offense” during her “probationary period.”
Thank FBI Director J. Edgar Hoover and COINTELPRO, former LAPD Detective Mark Furhman, the Republican National Committee and the 2004 Presidential Election, as the reason that I don’t put anything past anyone.
Pay no attention to the man behind the curtain.
The $82,500 fine is just a distraction from the bigger picture as it relates to Serena and women’s tennis over the next two years. A picture that some would rather paint without her in it.
Posted by Shelia at 7:47 AM Links to this post Email this post
Friday, December 4, 2009
Work it out James!!!
Posted by Shelia at 4:47 AM Links to this post Email this post
Posted by Shelia at 3:26 AM Links to this post Email this post
Thursday, December 3, 2009
With a 17th pro season ahead of her and a third decade around the corner, Venus Williams is setting no timetable on when she might call it quits.
"As long as I'm playing great, I'm not putting a number on it yet," said seven-time major winner Williams, who turns 30 in June.
Williams spoke Wednesday by phone from New York for the Cup exhibition at Madison Square Garden in March.
STEPPING ASIDE: Former No. 1 Mauresmo retires
The $1.2 million, one-night event features Venus, younger sister Serena Williams, French Open winner and U.S. Open champ Kim Clijsters. No. 1 Serena beat Venus in last year's final.
"I love playing in New York, and I'm happy to be back," Venus said.
The 29-year-old American put together one of her more dependable campaigns in 2009, winning her 40th and 41st singles titles, reaching the final at the Sony Ericsson Championships in October and finishing the season at No. 6 for the second straight year.
For the first time since 2006, Venus failed to win a major, though she reached the final. Venus lost to Serena in a rematch of 2008.
"It's never fun to come that close and not win," said Venus, who said she put the loss behind her quickly and called her season "consistent" and "solid."
"I made a real effort to play all year," she added. "I want to be out there playing. I don't want to be doing anything else."
Venus declined to address her sister's record $82,500 fine and two-year Grand Slam probation. The International Tennis Federation handed down the punishment this week for the 11-time major winner's profanity-laced tirade in a semifinal loss to Clijsters at the U.S. Open.
"Serena is a great player and a great person and a real plus to anyone's life that she's in or that she's touched — mine and people that she doesn't even know," said Venus. "That's what I can say."
Asked if the penalty fit the crime, she said: "I don't get involved in all this commentary. I never have and I'm not going to start today."
Venus did voice an opinion about news this week that another tournament could be leaving U.S. soil. The ATP Tour's Indianapolis event in July could be removed from the calendar altogether if a new home isn't found, according to several reports.
"The tournaments have slowly shifted away from the U.S.," she said. "I've definitely started to miss playing here as much as used to. But we have to be in those markets that can support us at the moment. I'm sure in the future we can build more U.S. tournaments."
As usual, Venus will kick off her season at the Australian Open following exhibitions in Hong Kong and Thailand. She will play no tune-ups and is not looking to shake up her pre-season routine.
"It's the usual: Gym, practice and all the stuff in between," she said. "I have the right formula and I know how to do it at this point. It won't be anything new."
With so many new and old faces on the comeback trail from retirement, injury or confidence slumps, the women's tour in 2010 could again be full of surprises.
Along with new mother Clijsters, who won in New York in just her third tournament following a two-year layoff, the new season will feature the return of another Belgian, Justine Henin, who left the sport in 2007 when she was ranked No. 1.
Other former No. 1s — still Slam-less Dinara Safina and Jelena Jankovic, 2006 Melbourne champ Maria Sharapova, and struggling Ana Ivanovic — should be primed for a strong start in what is shaping up to be a wide-open season.
Any player with legitimate hopes of snagging the hardware will probably have to go through top-ranked Serena, a four-time Melbourne winner and the defending champ.
One plus for all the players is a longer offseason. As part of the so-called roadmap, the WTA Sony Ericsson Tour finished two weeks earlier than the year before and a full month before the men.
"The offseason definitely helps with injuries and gives an opportunity to heal," said Venus. "I'm healthy and strong."
Posted by Shelia at 9:48 PM Links to this post Email this post
Tuesday, December 1, 2009
The singer will be featured in “Alicia Keys Live! One Night…One Voice… One Life at a Time…” an 8 p.m. ET performance tonight at the Nokia Theater in New York. The show will be recorded and streamed live on Keys official YouTube channel.
In recognition of World AIDS Day (today), Alicia Keys and American Express are bringing fans together for a special charity concert, so fans across the globe can also participate and donate to Keep A Child Alive, of which Keys is co-founder and global ambassador. American Express cardmembers and lucky contest winners from AliciaKeys.com, Facebook and radio will be attending this exclusive live performance where Alicia will share insight into her charitable work and perform some of her greatest hits as well as songs from her new album “The Element of Freedom,” set for a December 15 release.
All ticket proceeds will go to the organization, and you can do the same by visiting www.keepachildalive.com or by texting “ALIVE” to 90999 to give $5.
Posted by Shelia at 3:59 PM Links to this post Email this post
- Find out the facts about HIV and talk to your friends, family and colleagues about HIV - make sure they know the reality, not the myths.
- Know your HIV status: get tested if you have put yourself at risk.
- Talk to all new sexual partners about using condoms. Using a condom during sex (especially vaginal or anal sex) is the best way to protect yourself and your partner from HIV and other sexually transmitted infections (STIs).
- If someone tells you the are HIV positive, treat them with respect and don't tell others without their agreement.
- Wear a red ribbon as a symbol of your support for everyone affected by HIV, and to raise awareness.
What Does Respect And Protect Mean?
"Respecting yourself and those around you by protecting yourself, both by using condoms and by educating yourself about the dangers of HIV."
"For me confidentiality is top of the list when I think of Respect & Protect. And it is important we respect each other and protect one another."
"Respect people whether they are HIV positive or not. And protect yourself from catching an avoidable disease."
If the man respects me they will be happy to protect themselves and me.
If one has respect for their body, they will respect others and protect themselves and other people from HIV.
It brings us knowledge about the realities of HIV - protecting ourselves and other people are paramount.
To me it means respecting other people who I might have sexual contact with, as well as protecting myself and others from transmitting HIV.
Posted by Shelia at 3:09 PM Links to this post Email this post