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2012 US OPEN: Venus Williams Easily Advances To Second Round

Tuesday, August 28, 2012

Venus Williams, USA waves to the crowd after defeating fellow American Bethanie Mattek-Sands.

It was a slow start for Venus Williams on Arthur Ashe stadium Tuesday afternoon, but once the two-time champion found her groove, there was no stopping her.

Unseeded here for just the third time in 14 appearances, the elder Williams advanced to the second round with a decisive 6-3, 6-1 win over fellow American Bethanie Mattek-Sands.

Williams fell down early to Mattek-Sands after holding game points in the first game, losing that and the second to trail 2-0. The 31-year-old then kicked into high gear, at one point rolling off 12 straight points to help her build a 5-2 lead.

Serving for the first set at 5-3, Williams belted three straight aces to lead 40-love, and then closed the set off with a service winner to complete it in just 29 minutes.

It wasn’t much different in the second—sans a slow start—for Venus. She broke to begin the set and continued with deep, penetrating groundstrokes to go up 4-1, her serve cooperating well but giving Mattek-Sands plenty of trouble.

Mattek-Sands called for the trainer at 4-1 down in the second, but it only seemed to be delaying the inevitable. Williams won the next two games with ease, closing out the match in just 62 minutes.

Williams had won all three of their previous encounters, including here three years ago in the second round. Mattek-Sands, once ranked as high as No. 30, needed a wildcard to get into the Open after a series of injuries had dropped her ranking to No. 212 this year.

Venus improved her record in the first round of Slams to 53-4, having lost in the opening round of Wimbledon against Elena Vesnina just two months ago. But she has appeared rejuvinated this summer, getting to the third round at the Olympics and then making a run to the semifinals at Cincinnati, losing to eventual champion Li Na.

Two years ago Venus made an inspiring run to the semifinals here, losing in dramatic fashion to Kim Clijsters, the eventual winner. In the second round Venus will face Angelique Kerber, the German who took her out at the Olympics in two tiebreak sets and was a surprise semifinalist here a year ago.

Source: usopen.org
Photos by: Getty Images

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2012 US OPEN: 16-Year-Old Duval Loses To Clijsters And Says, "...I felt like the luckiest 16-year-old ever..."

Victoria Duval of Miami, Florida during 2012 US Open first round.

It is always gratifying to witness the inception of a career when a player experiences that first tour level match, especially when that match occurs at one of the four majors that comprise the Grand Slam. In this case the 2012 US Open.

Sixteen-year-old Haitian-American Victoria Duval was afforded just such an opportunity on Monday night when she played her first WTA Tour match against veteran and second-time-retiring Kim Clijsters of Belgium.

Duval recently won the singles title at the USTA Girls’ 18s National Championships, giving her a wild-card entry to the US Open. Though born in Miami, Florida, Duval spent most of her first eight years in Haiti with her parents, including time training at the JOTAC Tennis Academy in Port-au-Prince. Her father, Jean-Maurice Duval, a doctor in Port-au-Prince, was injured in Haiti's 2010 devestating earthquake.

The 16-year-old began the first round match against Clijsters fearlessly. She seemed so delighted whenever she won a point and the crowd applauded her effort. She would look up into the stands and smile at what seemed to be incredible moments.

Though Duval lost the match 6-3, 6-1, the talent that brought her to this moment was obvious.

After the match Duval continued to delight during her interview.

"She asked me for a photograph for her memories, but I'm the one who should have been asking for a photo for my memories," Duval said.

"She's been my idol. I felt like the luckiest 16-year-old ever. I was really nervous, I was freaking out. I was so excited I can't even explain."

Clijsters said the tender years of her opponent reminded her of playing Steffi Graf at Wimbledon as a 16-year-old.

"It's been a very long time," Clijsters said. "I obviously wasn't in that position where I played my first-ever match on tour in such a big stadium.

"I played Steffi at Wimbledon and she was my big idol so it kind of takes you back through a lot of emotions and memories.

"We spoke a bit after the match. She was really sweet. She's a very nice girl."

Photos by: Getty Images

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2011 U.S.OPEN: Arthur Ashe Kids Day - Summer's Biggest Hit - Saturday, August, 27

Thursday, August 25, 2011

The USTA announced that reigning US Open Champions Rafael Nadal and Kim Clijsters, world No. 1 ranked Novak Djokovic, former US Open Champion Andy Roddick and the 2010 US Open Wheelchair Champion David Wagner will team up with actor Bradley Cooper, New York Knicks All-Star Carmelo Anthony, Music Sensation Jason Derulo and rising pop stars Cody Simpson, Diggy Simmons, Jessica Jarrell and Mindless Behavior  at the 16th Annual Arthur Ashe Kids’ Day presented by Hess Saturday, August 27 at the USTA Billie Jean King National Tennis Center in Flushing, N.Y., from 9:30 a.m. - 4 p.m. Hosted by TV personalities/actors La La Anthony and Quddus, the popular full-day tennis and music festival for children and adults alike – including interactive games, musical entertainment and tennis activities – will also feature performances from up-and-coming stars including Girls Nite Out, Action Item, Jacob Latimore, Nickelodeon's The Fresh Beat Band, Love Jones Girlz and New Hollow .  Arthur Ashe Kids’ Day Presented by Hess will kick off the 2011 US Open, which runs from August 29 - September 11. 

From 9:30 a.m. – 12:30 p.m., kids and their families can experience an exciting schedule of free tennis games, live music and attractions taking place throughout the grounds of the USTA Billie Jean King National Tennis Center.  Inside Arthur Ashe Stadium from 1 p.m. - 3 p.m., the live tennis and music show will feature fun exhibition matches and skills competitions with Rafael Nadal, Novak Djokovic, Kim Clijsters, Andy Roddick, David Wagner and other top players and celebrities with musical performances by Jason Derulo, Cody Simpson, Diggy Simmons, Jessica Jarrell and Mindless Behavior.

Stadium show tickets are on sale now through Ticketmaster (1-866-OPEN-TIX), usopen.org and at the USTA Billie Jean King National Tennis Center box office.  American Express is the official card of Arthur Ashe Kids’ Day.  General admission promenade tickets cost $10 and loge tickets are $20.  Arthur Ashe Kids' Day will be broadcast nationally by CBS on Sunday, August 28, from 12 p.m. – 1:30 p.m (ET).  Kids 12-and-under with stadium show tickets will receive a free Arthur Ashe Kids’ Day hat from the USTA and Hess on a first-come, first-served basis.

“We are excited to kick off the 2011 US Open with the biggest names in sports and entertainment at the 16th annual Arthur Ashe Kids’ Day presented by Hess,” said Harlan Stone, Chief Business and Marketing Officer, USTA. “We look forward to serving up a day of family fun as we celebrate the life of a tennis legend whose mission was to empower kids through sport and education.”

Over the years, Arthur Ashe Kids’ Day has featured many of music’s biggest acts including Justin Bieber, Rihanna, Jonas Brothers, Demi Lovato, Sean Kingston, Jordin Sparks, Britney Spears, Ne-Yo, Gavin DeGraw, Jessica Simpson, Backstreet Boys, Bow Wow and Hanson.

source: usopen.org

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US OPEN SERIES ROGERS CUP: The Serena Sensation Surges On As She Earns 2011 Rogers Cup Title

Monday, August 15, 2011

American Serena Williams celebrates immediately after winning point that earned her the 2011 Rogers Cup title.

Ten years after winning her first Rogers Cup presented by National Bank title, Serena Williams once again lifted the trophy of Canada's most important tennis tournament.

A lot has changed for the 13-time Grand Slam champion in the decade gone by, but one thing is still for certain - she sure is one impressive tennis player.

Williams won the title on Sunday in emphatic fashion, nailing an ace at match point to defeat Samantha Stosur 6-4, 6-2.

Though the contest was evenly matched through the first eight games, the American turned it up a notch to break at 4-4 and never looked back. She was dominant in the second set, ripping seven aces while losing just one first service point.

It was clear the championship meant a lot to her, as upon clinching victory she immediately jumped and spun around in elation. In her post-match press conference she talked about how Toronto was definitely a tournament she had targeted as an event she really wanted to win this year.

With her mission now accomplished and her 39th career title in her pocket, the 29-year-old should move up nearly 50 spots in the rankings to around the No. 35 spot.

Though Stosur's tournament ended with a loss, her successful week should help her gain confidence heading into the final Slam of the season. Prior to coming to Toronto, the Australian had lost in her opening round twice in a row, but she turned it around here and improved her play with each match up to the final.

Her performance means she'll move back into the Top 10 after spending just one week outside of the upper echelon of the sport. If she keeps it up, she'll definitely be in the conversation at the final Slam of the season.

With the entertaining final between Williams and Stosur now over, Rogers Cup wraps up a successful week of tennis. Though the back-end of the tournament was lacking in the star power provided by such players like Kim Clijsters, who retired in the second round, Maria Sharapova, who was a third-round dropout, and world No. 1 Caroline Wozniacki who fell in her opening match, Williams shines brighter than almost anyone on the tour.

She now has two titles in just four tournaments played since her return to tennis following a year-long absence due to serious health issues, and both of those triumphs occurred on hard courts. She will no doubt be a huge threat at the US Open in two weeks times.

For now, the pair will head to the next tournament in Cincinnati, where a Rogers Cup re-match could occur in the second round as Stosur and Williams were drawn in the same quarter.

Photos by Getty Images
Source:  rogerscup.com

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The Wimbledon Draw, Has Been Drawn - Let The Pursuit Of The Venus Rosewater Dish Begin!

Friday, June 17, 2011

 American Venus Williams, 2000, 2001, 2005, 2007 and 2008 Wimbledon Ladies Champion

Serena Williams will return to Centre Court almost exactly 50 weeks after she won her fourth Wimbledon title, opening her 2011 campaign against France's Aravane Rezai.

Williams, seeded seventh after the withdrawal of Kim Clijsters, won the opening match of her comeback in Eastbourne before losing out to Vera Zvonareva in a repeat of last year's Championships final, and will be closely monitored when she plays her first match on Monday.

The former world No.1 has faced the talented Frenchwoman just once in competition, rallying from a set down to defeat the current world No.56 3-6, 7-5, 6-4 in the pre-Australian Open tournament in Sydney in 2010. And so Rezai will not be a cakewalk for the four-time Wimbledon Champion, especially given the latter's lack of match fitness.

American Althea Gibson, 1957 and 1958 Wimbledon Ladies Champion

Sitting alongside Williams in the top half of the draw is current world No.1 Caroline Wozniacki, who will open her grass court season against Spain's Arantxa Parra Santonja, the world No.107. Wozniacki, who comes into Wimbledon with 17 titles under her belt in what has still been a relatively short career, will once again be the focus of much attention on the lawns of SW19 as she attempts to win her first Grand Slam title.

But in order to do so, she will have to contend with Maria Sharapova, her opposite number in the top quarter of the draw. Viewed by many as a favourite for this year's title, Sharapova is deemed to have finally fully recovered from the shoulder injury that has blighted her for the past two years, and comes into Wimbledon fighting fit and full of confidence at what is one of her favourite Grand Slams. She opens against fellow Russian, world No.50 Anna Chakvetadze.

Should Sharapova triumph, she will face the winner of world No.77 Angelique Kerber against former junior Champion Laura Robson, awarded a wild card into The Championships this year. Fellow Brit Heather Watson, who broke into the top 100 last week, is also in the top half of the draw, meeting world No.64 Mathilde Johansson, as is British No.1 Elena Baltacha, who plays a qualifier. Emily Webley-Smith faces Klara Zakopalova.

 American Serena Williams, 2002, 2003, 2009 and 2010 Wimbledon Ladies Champion

French Open champion Li Na joked that she would be forgotten in China if she doesn't do well at Wimbledon, and so she should be pleased at a first-round match up with world No.70 Alla Kudryavtseva. But danger lies in the prospect of a second round meeting with the in-form wild card Sabine Lisicki, quarter-finalist at The Championships in 2009, who won the warm-up event at the Edgbaston Priory Club last week.

Ana Ivanovic, who plays American Melanie Oudin, Marion Bartoli, who meets a qualifier, and Agnieszka Radwanska, who will face Olga Govortsova, are other notable names in the top half of the draw.

2010 finalist Zvonareva occupies the top spot in the bottom half of the draw, as the No.2 seed, and will open against talented American Alison Riske. The world No.118 broke onto the scene at last year's AEGON Classic in Edgbaston, qualifying and powering her way to the semi-finals, so could provide a brief speed bump for the Russian. Last year's surprise semi-finalist Tsvetana Pironkova is also in Zvonareva's section, as is five-time Wimbledon champion Venus Williams, seeded at No.23. Williams meets Akgul Amanmuradova of Uzbekistan in the first round, with Britain's Katie O'Brien or the ageless Kimiko Date-Krumm a potential second-round opponent.

Speaking of British players, Wimbledon will be guaranteed at least one "local" in the second round as former British No.1 Anne Keothavong and wild card Naomi Broady meet in the first round. The winner could play Petra Kvitova, the exciting Czech prospect who battled her way to the 2010 semi-finals, in the second round. Svetlana Kuznetsova and Jelena Jankovic also feature in the lower quarter of the draw's bottom half.
2010 French Open champion Francesca Schiavone could have a handful to deal with when she takes on Jelena Dokic, no stranger to causing an upset at SW19, while 2010 Eastbourne winner Ekaterina Makarova against highly-touted American Christina McHale is certainly one to watch.

The in-form Daniela Hantuchova meets a qualifier, while fourth seed Victoria Azarenka, the highest seed in the third quarter, will have to get past Magdalena Rybarikova.Witty German Andrea Petkovic, talented youngster Anastasia Pavlyuchenkova, and shock 2010 quarter-finalist Kaia Kanepi are other seeds to watch out for.

The bottom half of the women's draw are scheduled to play their first-round matches on Monday, with the top half due to commence on Tuesday.

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Roland Garros 2011: Getting To Know Sloane Stephens

Saturday, May 28, 2011

American Sloane Stephens, French Open 2011 
Photo ©FFT

Smiles and easy conversation go hand in hand for Sloane Stephens. The Floridian with the sunny disposition has qualified for her first main singles draw in a major event. As luck would have it, not only is it a Grand Slam, it is also her favourite tournament. "Americans usually don't like clay but I like it a lot. Also, here, I have to share my good moments with my worst moments and that stays with you," explains Sloane. For example, this year "it's my high school prom, which breaks my heart. I am missing so many important events, but I guess the more I miss, the better it is for my career"

Patience and confidence

Two years ago, Sloane had to deal with the death of her father who had been absent from her life until she was 13 years old, and this has made her even more sensitive to missing important family events. "I am missing my brother's baseball games, which makes me sad but that's the way it has to be," she confides.

After studying at Evert Academy, she decided to concentrate on her tennis and is now coached by former pro Roger Smith, who like her is a doubles specialist (Sloane has three wins in the juniors at Grand Slams). She is new on tour and approaches everything with excitement, like talking to the media ahead of her first round tie against Elena Baltacha. She answers questions with humour and an ease that lets one imagine that she would be just as comfortable doing stand-comedy up on a stage as she is hitting her two-handed backhand on the French clay.


Being confident does not mean that Sloane Stephens is not realistic. She is a fan of Kim Clijsters and the Williams Sisters, and the Belgian recently complimented the world no.138. Sloane simply talks about patience and hard work. "Fulfilling my potential may take time, but it will happen. There is a lot of pressure and expectation, but this is true for all the other young American players. Right now, no one really believes in us, and we know it. I also know that when I start having good results, the same people will say that they supported me from the start and they knew I could do it." She is travelling with her aunt, who she says is "my good luck charm because since she's been with me in Europe, I haven't lost."

Stephens certainly does not shy away from telling things like they really are. "I'm on a mission, but so are all of my friends because we all have to face the critics. In the US, no one believes in us and some have even questioned our work ethic. Some even say that there is no hope for professional women's tennis in the medium term..." said Stephens, firmly but without losing her trademark smile. "I'm really happy though," she continues, as well she might be after winning the 50,000 dollar tournament at Reggio Emilia on 15 May. She is reaping the rewards of a "really intensive week of work in Barcelona with Francis Roig (one of Rafael Nadal's coaches) in early May". Stephens has now entered the big leagues, but "one thing is certain, and that's that I'll be home on 4 July to celebrate the holiday with my family." In the meantime, she will have settle for going out to dinner with her aunt in Paris, with a thought for her father, as always since September 2009.

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Venus Williams Withdraws From 2011 Sony Ericsson Open

Wednesday, March 23, 2011

Venus Williams at the 2011 Sony Ericsson Open Players Welcome Party at the Paris Nightclub Key Biscayne, Florida.
(Photo by Mike Ehrmann/Getty Images)

MIAMI, FL, USA - Venus Williams has withdrawn from the Sony Ericsson Open, where she is a three-time champion, due to an abdominal injury.

Williams, who has a phenomenal 47-9 record at the Premier-level stop, which includes title runs in 1998, 1999 and 2001 and one more final (last year, falling to Kim Clijsters), is currently receiving ongoing rehabilitation at home.

"I am very sorry to not be playing in the Sony Ericsson Open this year. It is one of my favorite tournaments, especially because it is so close to my home in South Florida," Williams said. "I look forward to returning to the tour soon."

"It is unfortunate that Venus Williams will be unable to play at this year's," Tournament Director Adam Barrett added. "She will be missed and we wish her a speedy recovery. We hope to see her back on court soon."

Williams has only played two events since Wimbledon last year, making the semifinals of the US Open (losing to eventual champion Clijsters in a tight three-setter) and reaching the third round of this year's Australian Open (where she retired against Andrea Petkovic after one game in the third round).

Photo by WireImage

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U.S. Open Draw Hit Hard: Serena Williams Pulls Out

Friday, August 20, 2010

Associated Press - Serena Williams pulled out of the U.S. Open on Friday, saying she still is recovering from surgery to repair cuts on her right foot.

The top-ranked Williams has won three titles at Flushing Meadows, part of her 13 Grand Slam singles championships, the most among active women. Last year, she lost in the U.S. Open semifinals after a tirade at a line judge over a foot-fault call, an outburst that drew a record fine.

"It is with much frustration and deep sadness that I am having to pull out of the U.S. Open," Williams said in a statement released by her publicist.

Williams went on to add: "My doctors have advised against my playing so that my foot can heal."

She called missing the tournament "one of the most devastating moments of my career."

The 28-year-old American reportedly was hurt by a broken glass at a restaurant while she was in Munich last month — shortly after winning her fourth Wimbledon singles title on July 3, and before playing in an exhibition match against Kim Clijsters that drew a tennis-record crowd of 35,681 in Brussels on July 8.

Williams had surgery in Los Angeles on July 15. She already had pulled out of three hard-court tournaments she was scheduled to enter in preparation for the U.S. Open and also skipped playing World TeamTennis.

Williams has participated in the last 16 major tournaments; the last one she missed was Wimbledon in 2006.

She won her first Grand Slam singles championship at the 1999 U.S. Open, and also took home the trophy from New York in 2002 and 2008.

Both of Williams' titles this season came at major championships: the Australian Open and Wimbledon.

If healthy, she would have been considered the favorite at the U.S. Open, where play starts Aug. 30.

"We regret that Serena Williams is unable to play the U.S. Open and wish her a speedy recovery," Curley said Friday in a statement e-mailed to The Associated Press. "She will be missed, but the tournament is about the competition and the players on the court."

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Around The Net... Venus And Serena At The Sony Ericsson Open

Thursday, March 25, 2010

Black Tennis Pro's Venus and Serena Williams Win WTA Player AwardsVenus and Serena Williams
(Photos by Getty Images)

The Sony Ericsson WTA Tour announced the 2009 winners of the annual Player Awards during a special ceremony Wednesday at the Sony Ericsson Open in Miami, Florida. Seven players were honored for their remarkable on and off court achievements during the 2009 season.

Serena Williams was voted the Sony Ericsson WTA Tour’s 2009 Player of the Year for the third time in her career, having previously earned the accolade for the 2002 and 2008 seasons. Serena had a stellar 2009 season, winning two Grand Slam singles titles (the Australian Open and Wimbledon), the prestigious year-end Sony Ericsson Championships in Doha, and reaching the final of the Sony Ericsson Open in Miami.

Additionally, she was a semifinalist at five more Tour events and recorded 14 wins over Top 10 opponents during the season. Williams finished 2009 as the top ranked singles player in the world, marking the fifth time in her career that she ascended to the pinnacle of the rankings.

Serena and Venus Williams won the Doubles Team of the Year award for their collective achievements in 2009, highlighted by winning four titles which included three Grand Slams (the Australian Open, Wimbledon and the US Open) and the Bank of the West Classic in Stanford. The pair ended the year with a 24-2 win-loss record.

“2009 was one of the best seasons of my career and winning the Player of the Year award for the third time is a great achievement for me,” said Sony Ericsson WTA Tour World No.1 Serena Williams. “2009 will always be memorable for me not just for my singles accomplishments, but because Venus and I won four titles together and I am thrilled to be sharing the Doubles Team of the Year award with my sister.”

“I love playing doubles with Serena as we have so much fun on the court together,” said Sony Ericsson WTA Tour World No.5 Venus Williams. “At the beginning of the 2009 season Serena and I decided to put a lot of emphasis on doubles and I am thrilled that we were able to achieve so much together.”

Black Tennis Pro's Venus and Serena Williams pose with other WTA player award recipients.L-R) Elena Dementieva, Venus Williams, Serena Williams, Yanina Wickmayer, Kim Clijsters and Liezel Huber

Black Tennis Pro's Serena Williams poses with WTA player of the year awardBlack Tennis Pro's Venus Williams at Sony Ericsson Open Press ConferenceVenus speaks to media at press conference

Black Tennis Pro's Venus Williams poses with the WTA players councilVenus and the WTA Players Council pose for a photo at Crandon Park Tennis Center on March 22, 2010 in Key Biscayne, Florida.

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Serena Withdraws From Billie Jean King Cup Exhibition

Saturday, February 20, 2010

Black Tennis Pro's Serena Williams Withdraws From Billie Jean King Cup ExhibitionNEW YORK — Serena Williams has pulled out of an exhibition at Madison Square Garden because of a left leg injury.

Williams announced her withdrawal from the BNP Paribas Showdown for the Billie Jean King Cup on Thursday. She'll be replaced in the four-player field by former No. 1 Ana Ivanovic.

The 12-time Grand Slam singles champion was to face Kim Clijsters on March 1.

The leg injury has forced Williams to miss tournaments in Paris and Dubai.

Williams' sister, Venus, will play Svetlana Kuznetsova in the other semifinal at the one-night event in New York.

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BNP Paribas Showdown For The Billie Jean King Cup

Thursday, January 28, 2010

Press Release

Serena Williams, Venus Williams, Svetlana Kuznetsova & Kim Clijsters

Headline The Second Annual

"BNP Paribas Showdown For The Billie Jean King Cup"

Madison Square Garden On Monday, March 1, 2010

A Tennis Night In America Event

New York, NY, December 2, 2008 – The top women in the world of tennis, including current World No. 1 player Serena Williams, seven-time Grand Slam champion Venus Williams, 2009 US Open champion Kim Clijsters and 2009 French Open champion Svetlana Kuznetsova, will face off in the one-night, single elimination $1.2 million “BNP Paribas Showdown for the Billie Jean King Cup” at Madison Square Garden on Monday, March 1, 2010.

Limited VIP tickets and additional tickets for $250.00, $125.00, $75.00, $50.00 and $25.00 went on sale TODAY and can be purchased at the Madison Square Garden box office, all Ticketmaster outlets and online at www.thegarden.com.

“At Madison Square Garden we strive to bring the biggest and best in sports and entertainment under our roof,” said Joel Fisher, executive vice president, MSG Sports. “We are thrilled that these women’s tennis champions will be plying their trade at the second annual BNP Paribas Showdown for the Billie Jean King Cup, and that our fans will get to witness a great, great night of tennis at The Garden.”

“We are looking forward to an exciting night of tennis with some potential interesting matchups including a rematch of the US Open semifinals between Serena and Kim,” said StarGames president Jerry Solomon, referring to the matches controversial ending. “With the return of great sponsors like BNP Paribas and the growth of our Tennis Night in America partnership with the USTA, the BNP Paribas Showdown for the Billie Jean King Cup is emerging as a night that brings tennis fans around the country together to celebrate the sport. It is certainly a night that tennis fans should have on their annual calendar.”

The “BNP Paribas Showdown for the Billie Jean King Cup” is the featured element of the national “Tennis Night in America” promotion. Through “Tennis Night in America”, the USTA will continue its efforts to grow youth participation in the sport of tennis. “Tennis Night in America” is among the sports largest ever grass roots initiatives.

The USTA has made this event a major component for its Youth Registration Night, where youth from all over the country can begin signing up for spring and summer league play.

The caliber of players for the event is unparalleled, boasting three of 2009’s Grand Slam tournament winners, including defending champion Serena Williams and Kim Clijsters, who stunned the tennis world with her Cinderella-like U.S. Open victory only two years after retiring from the sport. The grouping also consists of 2009 French Open Champion Svetlana Kuznetsova and seven-time Grand Slam Singles Champion, Venus Williams.

Serena Williams, the current top-ranked women’s player, captured two Grand Slam events this past year winning her 10
th and 11th singles titles at the Australian Open and Wimbledon. She holds an astounding total of 52 titles (35 singles / 17 doubles) at Tour events. Serena, 28, defeated her sister, Venus, in this past summer’s Wimbledon singles’ finals, and the pair teamed up to once again win the doubles tournament.

Venus Williams, a 29-year-old former World No. 1, is currently ranked No. 6 and won the 2008 Wimbledon and Tour Championship titles. The Williams sisters paired up for patriotic pride to capture their second consecutive Olympic gold medals in women’s doubles.

Rounding out the field is defending French Open Champion, Svetlana Kuznetsova. The Russian-born player is currently ranked No. 3 in the world and her Grand Slam title was her first since winning the US Open five years ago.

In this fast-paced no ad scoring format, each participant will compete in a one-set semi-final with the winners advancing to a best of three-set final for the Billie Jean King Cup.

Depending on the draw, which will be announced at a later date, a potential rematch of the 2009 US Open semifinal (Serena Williams vs. Kim Clijsters), Wimbledon finals (Williams vs. Williams) and French Open quarterfinal (Serena vs. Kuznetsova) could take place.

The “BNP Paribas Showdown for the Billie Jean King Cup” is produced by StarGames in association with Madison Square Garden.

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Australian Open Hit For Haiti A Huge Success

Sunday, January 17, 2010

You know you are part of something special when eight of the world’s top tennis stars are under the same roof.

Roger Federer, Rafael Nadal, Novak Djokovic, Andy Roddick, Serena Williams, Kim Clijsters and Aussies Lleyton Hewitt and Samantha Stosur united as a tennis family today by taking part in the Hit for Haiti fundraiser at Rod Laver Arena.

The 90-minute exhibition match was organised in less than 24 hours. The charity event proved to be a huge success, with a sell-out crowd. Representing the colours of the Haiti flag, Team Red (Federer, Williams, Hewitt and Stosur) defeated Team Blue (Roddick, Nadal, Djokovic, Clijsters, and late substitute Bernard Tomic) 7-6. Former Grand Slam champion turned tennis analyst Jim Courier was the chair umpire for the afternoon.

Spectators over the age of 12 paid $10 to watch the entertaining match, buying their tickets on the door. Russian star Maria Sharapova donated $10,000, while $20,000 was also collected in tin cans around the arena and around the grounds at a packed Garden Square. Today, $159,000 was raised through ticket sales and public donations alone.

It is very rare that you are given an opportunity to see Williams and Djokovic exchange banter from across the court or see Federer doing push-ups during a match, and the crowd lapped up every minute.

As soon as the gates to Melbourne Park opened on Sunday, thousands of excited tennis fans flocked into Rod Laver Arena for the charity event. From the moment the players stepped onto court, the crowd knew they were in for a special treat. The players were wearing microphone headsets, which meant the crowd were able to hear them joke amongst themselves and tease each other during the match.

After the opening game, Djokovic gave Roddick a shoulder rub when he sat down. It’s also not very often that you see defending Australian Open champion Nadal playing the role of a ballkid, handing out water bottles and towels.

Tournament Director Craig Tiley was delighted with the outcome of the charity event.

“It’s fantastic to see the tennis family from around the globe band together to help make a difference in this time of need” Tiley said.

“I would like to thank the players, staff and everyone involved in pulling off this event in such a short amount of time.”

Haiti was decimated by a devastating earthquake that measured 7.0 on the Richter Scale last Tuesday. The United Nations has launched an appeal for hundreds of millions of dollars to try to help around three million people in need.

Donations can be made online to Partners in Health: www.pih.org

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(VIDEO) Serena Williams: "What Athlete Really Is At 100% Every Time? Probably Never"

Saturday, January 16, 2010

Black Tennis Pro's Serena Williams Australian Open Sydney Interview

World No. 1 Serena Williams says she is happy with the condition of her knee ahead of her Australian Open title defense.

Williams suffered from knee soreness during her straight-sets loss to Elena Dementieva in Friday night’s Medibank International final in Sydney.

At Melbourne Park for a press conference this afternoon, Williams said her knee was much better and that the injury had not hampered her preparation for the year’s first Grand Slam.

“If anything, it helped. I played a lot of matches (in Sydney) in a row, you know, back to back. I had a long three‑set match. Eventually, you know, I had a quick turnaround time,” she said.

“But that was good preparation for me because I do plan on playing both singles and doubles here (at Melbourne Park).”

The American said she did not like to use injury as an excuse for her 6-3 6-2 loss in the Sydney final.

“I don't know if that would be very nice,” she said.

“I definitely wasn't at my best. But, you know, I feel like it's very comforting to know that I wasn't at my best in that particular match … I think Elena played well. She always plays me well. I think we always have really fun, tough, tough matches. With that being said, I thought she played amazing.

“What athlete really is at 100 per cent every time? Probably never.”

The top seed will begin her Australian Open campaign on Tuesday against Poland’s Urszula Radwanska, who she defeated at Wimbledon in 2008. Williams described her as a “tough cookie”.

“She's a tough player, and she's definitely no push‑over. She's a younger sister (of 10th seed Agnieszka Radwanska), and younger sisters always want to play really hard and really tough. I know that for a fact,” she said.

“It's definitely not an easy first round.”

Talk inevitably shifted to the return of Belgian star Justine Henin, a player with whom Williams shares a fierce – and occasionally acrimonious - rivalry. However, the American said she was pleased to see Henin competing again.

“What an amazing effort and quality for both her and (fellow Belgian comeback queen) Kim Clijsters. It's so good to see two such good players back,” she said.

Williams will be attempting to win her fifth title at Melbourne Park, having previously lifted the trophy in 2003, 2005, 2007 and 2009.

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Jasmyne Cannick: Serena Williams' Record Fine Is Just A Distraction

Friday, December 11, 2009

Black Tennis Pro's Jasmine Cannick Serena Williams ITF Fine/Probation CommentaryIt 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.

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Serena Williams Withdraws From Pan Pacific Open

Friday, September 25, 2009

TOKYO (Reuters) -- World No. 2 Serena Williams has pulled out of next week's Pan Pacific Open with knee and toe injuries, organizers said on Thursday.

The Australian Open and Wimbledon champion has not played a singles match since her rant at a lineswoman in her semifinal loss to Belgian Kim Clijsters at the U.S. Open earlier this month.

The rest of the women's world top 10, including Serena's older sister Venus, is among the field at the $2 million event.

World No. 1 Dinara Safina, who was not on the initial entry list, has opted to compete in Tokyo in a bid to retain the Pan Pacific crown she won last year.

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Jasmyne A. Cannick: Don't Be Afraid Of The Black Girl - Serena Williams

Monday, September 14, 2009

What happened Saturday during the women’s semifinal at the United States Open between Serena Williams and Kim Clijsters is just another example of how Black women are still seen as threatening and hostile.

Serena Williams may be one of the world’s greatest tennis players, but don’t get it twisted, she’s still a sista who is known to be a very serious and tense player. So if she feels that she is being intentionally targeted with bad calls, she’s not going to just take it lying down. This includes challenging foot faults on match point.

Was Serena intense, yes. It was an intense moment in the match. After all, this is the U.S. Open’s women’s semifinal. Under an extreme amount of pressure, maybe it got to her. It can happen to the best of us. After all, a person can only take so much and it’s not as if the field of tennis rolled out the red carpet for her and sister Venus. From day one, the Williams’ sisters have had to fight for everything they’ve accomplished in tennis, including the continuing racism that keeps the Williams’ sisters from Palm Springs’ Indian Wells Tournament and allows for commentators to credit the sister’s “strength” and “athleticism” for their victories while their white counterparts win because they “play smart” and “have a good strategy” It’s also the reason that my hometown paper the Los Angeles Times can feel confident in reporting this latest news while using a photo of Serena Williams from the back seemingly towering over the lineswoman and gives license to every other news media outlet to have a field day.

It wasn’t that long ago that Serena Williams wrote on her blog 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…."
What ensued Saturday was nothing more than a few angry curse words that turned into Serena having to defend herself against unmade threats towards the lineswoman who was obviously suffering from a typical case of a white-woman-afraid-of-the-Black-girl syndrome. How else do you explain the lineswoman accusations of Serena threatening to kill her?

Williams could be heard saying to the lineswoman: “I didn’t say I would kill you. Are you serious?”

Yeah, are you serious?

Most Black women can relate to what happened to Serena. We get mad like everyone else. The only difference is that for some reason when white women get angry, they’re not seen as threatening as we are. Maybe it’s the expression on our face. Maybe it’s the seriousness with which we address issues when we are upset. Maybe it’s the tone of our voice. You know that “don’t fuck with me today” tone that can stop a person dead in their tracks and scares the shit out of most white people.

Like comedian Dick Gregory said about Black people’s hair, when we’re 'relaxed', white people are 'relaxed'. You could say the same applies in tennis.

Look—I’ve said nothing more than “good morning” to a white person and had that taken the wrong way. Maybe I didn’t smile big enough when I said it, I don’t know. What I do know is that I can recount the many times I have had to explain something I did or said that someone white took out of context or found “troubling.” So I am not surprised that Serena’s outburst on the court towards the lineswoman turned into a death threat.

Serena Williams is a very smart woman. She knew that when she opened her mouth to contest the call and the first curse word rolled off her tongue that there was going to be a price to pay for it and she did, she lost the match to Kim Clijsters. Kim Clijsters. It was obviously important enough to her at the time to have her say and that she did to the tune of $10,500.

What’s more of a concern to me as a Black woman is that white people recognize that we all aren’t foot stomping “aww heck!” kind of girls when we get upset, some of us are “what the fuck?” kind of girls, but that doesn’t mean that our words should be taken out of context, our actions scrutinized and then generalized to represent how all Black women act. Because come Monday morning, from Rush Limbaugh to Los Angeles’ shock jock Bill Handel, that’s exactly what is going to happen and once again Black women are going find themselves the brunt of crude and tasteless jokes meant to further demean and dehumanize not only Black women but Serena Williams.

Just ask former Congresswoman Cynthia McKinney about her altercation with the the Capitol Hill police. Better yet, ask First Lady Michelle Obama who endured months of ridicule and scrutiny at the hands of the mainstream media that eventually resulted in an immediate campaign to “change” her image to a much kindlier and gentle Michelle right before the election that catapulted her husband into the presidency. And while many will say that the campaign was a success—Michelle’s image enhancement campaign, I must say that I never did quite understand what was wrong with the old Michelle.

There’s nothing wrong with Serena Williams. Perhaps when more Black women tennis players ascend to the level of the Williams’ sisters and the Women’s Tennis Association has the opportunity to interact with more Black women outside of Serena and Venus, they won’t be so afraid of the Black girls. Perhaps.

The author of Ebony Magazine’s July 2008 cover story on Serena Williams, unexpected and unapologetic, at Jasmyne Cannick, 31, is a critic and commentator based in Los Angeles who writes about the worlds of pop culture, race, class, sexuality, and politics as it relates to the African-American community. She can be reached at www.jasmynecannick.com

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Serena Williams Issues Formal Statement

Sunday, September 13, 2009

Black Tennis Pro's Serena Williams Issues Formal Statement“Last night everyone could truly see the passion I have for my job,” Williams said in the statement released by her management.

“Now that I have had time to gain my composure, I can see that while I don’t agree with the unfair line call, in the heat of battle I let my passion and emotion get the better of me and as a result handled the situation poorly. I would like to thank my fans and supporters for understanding that I am human and I look forward to continuing the journey, both professionally and personally, with you all as I move forward and grow from this experience.”

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Serena Williams And Kim Clijsters Headline U.S. Open Semifinal Friday

Friday, September 11, 2009

Serena Williams brings her trademark intensity to the women’s semifinals, and opponent Kim Clijsters needs no reminding.

“I’ve seen her play here, and she has that face where she’s like, ‘Okay, I’m here to do business,’’’ Clijsters said.

Williams knows exactly what the Belgian is talking about. “I see it after in photos,” Williams said. “I’m pretty horrified sometimes. I think, ‘Oh, my God, who is that?’

’Despite Clijsters’ stellar play since coming out retirement, Williams goes in as the favorite. She’s also expected to clinch a third Grand Slam title this season and 12th overall.

The Williams-Clijsters showdown highlights Friday’s action, weather permitting, with teens Caroline Wozniacki and Yanina Wickmayer facing off in the other semifinal. Wozniacki, Denmark’s darling, and Wickmayer, Clijsters’ fellow Belgian, had never before appeared in a Grand Slam quarterfinal, much less a semifinal.

Williams leads Clijsters 7-1 in their head-to-heads and hasn’t dropped a set through five matches, avoiding the blips that sometimes accompany her early round Grand Slam encounters.

Williams heads the tournament in aces and points won behind her first serve. Ominously for Clijsters, Williams has only been broken in two matches, in the first and third rounds. She stepped up her game as the competition got better, overpowering Slovak Daniela Hantuchova and cruising past surging Italian Flavia Pennetta.

And here’s a stat – Williams’ last defeat in a Grand Slam semifinal came six years ago on the clay at the French Open, her least productive surface.

“It doesn’t mean that you don’t get a chance when you get to play her,” Clijsters, officially a wild card because she has no ranking yet, said. “That’s something I’ve always felt in the past, too. Every player always has a moment in a match where, whether it’s one or two games, they just kind of lose that aggressiveness a little bit or lose focus. It’s up to the other player to kind of feel that and step it up at that time.”

Clijsters, who captured her lone major at the US Open four years ago, has had a few bumps on her road to the semis, beginning in the first round against unpredictable Frenchwoman Marion Bartoli. Then in the fourth round, Clijsters fell 6-0 to Serena’s older sister, Venus, in the second set, recovering in the third.

Clijsters, like Williams, enters the clash with a 12-match winning streak in New York. A feel good story thanks to being one of the few moms on tour – and one of the most popular players around – Clijsters had the crowd on her side against Williams.

Her forehand is still big, and the movement still impressive. Williams, too, is coming off a marathon 2 ½ hour doubles semifinal Thursday.

“Seems like she’s even faster than what she was before,” Williams said after eliminating Pennetta. “I was thinking that maybe I should have a baby, and then I’ll come back faster. That was my observation, so I’m thinking about it.”

Source: usopen.org

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Williams Sisters, Clijsters Lead U.S. Open Field

Saturday, July 25, 2009

WHITE PLAINS, N.Y. — Defending champion Serena Williams and four other past winners, including her sister Venus and wild-card entry Kim Clijsters, are in the provisional women's field for the U.S. Open.

Ninety-nine of the top 100 women in the current WTA rankings received direct entry Thursday into the hard-court Grand Slam tournament, played Aug. 31 to Sept. 13 in New York. The one missing is No. 88 Nathalie Dechy of France, who announced her retirement this week.

Serena Williams will be bidding for her fourth U.S. Open championship and third major title of 2009, after those at the Australian Open in January and Wimbledon this month. She owns 11 Grand Slam singles titles overall, most among active players.

Clijsters will be playing at Flushing Meadows for the first time since winning her only major title at the 2005 U.S. Open. She is making a comeback after retiring in 2007.

She asked the U.S. Tennis Association for a wild card and was granted one. To prepare for the U.S. Open, the 26-year-old Belgian — who is married and has a daughter — will be playing in WTA hard-courts events at Cincinnati and Toronto.

The other past U.S. Open champions in the field are Venus Williams (2000-01), Svetlana Kuznetsova (2004) and Maria Sharapova (2006). Other Grand Slam singles title winners in the field are Amelie Mauresmo and Ana Ivanovic.

Kuznetsova also won this year's French Open, beating No. 1-ranked Dinara Safina in the final.

Safina is atop the list of 104 direct entries. They'll be joined in the 128-player field by the eight women (including Clijsters) who receive wild cards and the 16 who will earn berths in Aug. 25-28 qualifying.

The provisional men's field was announced Wednesday, led by five-time defending champion Roger Federer.

The winners of the U.S. Open men's and women's singles title will each receive a record $1.6 million.

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