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2019 Met Gala Co-Chair Serena Williams Dons A Unique Combo Wearing Versace and Nike During Fashion's Biggest Night Out

Tuesday, May 7, 2019

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WTA: Through Two Months Of The 2019 Season, What Is The Top Ten Doing Better Than The Field?

Monday, March 4, 2019

WTA Insider Courtney Nguyen

This time last year, the story unfolding in the 2018 WTA season revolved around the return of serve. Twelve months on and it's the serve that has set the current Top 10 apart from the field.

Current WTA Top 10

1. Naomi Osaka (9-2)
2. Simona Halep (10-4)
3. Petra Kvitova (17-4)
4. Sloane Stephens (5-4)
5. Karolina Pliskova (13-3)
6. Elina Svitolina (9-4)
7. Kiki Bertens (10-5)
8. Angelique Kerber (7-4)
9. Aryna Sabalenka (12-4)
10. Serena Williams (4-1)

In 2018, the start of the season was dominated by counter-punchers and aggressive counter-punchers. Caroline Wozniacki, Angelique Kerber, and Elina Svitolina swept the biggest tournaments in Australia, before Petra Kvitova tore through February. This season has been about the power players, highlighted by Naomi Osaka, Kvitova, and Karolina Pliskova picking up the big titles Down Under.

Champions at Premier or higher events: 2018 vs. 2019

Brisbane International
2018: Elina Svitolina (d. Sasnovich)
2019: Karolina Pliskova (d. Tsurenko)

Sydney International
2018: Angelique Kerber (d. Barty)
2019: Petra Kvitova (d. Barty)

Australian Open
2018: Caroline Wozniacki (d. Halep)
2019: Naomi Osaka (d. Kvitova)

St. Petersburg
2018: Petra Kvitova (d. Mladenovic)
2019: Kiki Bertens (d. Vekic)

Qatar Total Open
2018: Petra Kvitova (d. Muguruza)
2019: Elise Mertens (d. Halep)

Dubai Duty Free Tennis Championships
2018: Elina Svitolina (d. Kasatkina)
2019: Belinda Bencic (d. Kvitova)

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The WTA Remembers The First Title Won By Serena Williams On This Date Twenty Years Ago

Thursday, February 28, 2019

Twenty years ago today, one of the greatest careers in tennis began in earnest as Serena Williams won the first of 72 WTA Tour titles to date at the Open Gaz de France in Paris. wtatennis.com looks back at how it all kicked off for the American champion.

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2019 WTA RULEBOOK CHANGES: A New Special Seeding For Players Returning From Maternity Leave, A "Modernized" Attire Rule, The Rollout Of A 25-Second Shot Clock... Among Others

Wednesday, February 20, 2019

The 2019 WTA season will see the introduction of a new Special Ranking rule designed in conjunction with the Player's Council and approved by the Board of Directors to make returning to competition easier for players coming back after pregnancy, starting a family, or medical illness. The Board of Directors also approved new rules to provide greater consistency and speed up the pace of play in matches and modernize the existing attire rules.

In meetings held during the first week of December, the Board of Directors approved several amendments to the WTA Rulebook for the 2019 season, which were also supported by the WTA Players’ Council and Tournament Council.

1. Special Ranking Rule

The previous Special Ranking Rule, which allowed a player to freeze her ranking in the event of injury, illness, or pregnancy, required a player be out of competition for a minimum of 6 months and return to play within 3 years. A returning player could then use her special ranking for 8 tournaments to be completed within 1 year, though their special ranking could not be used for seeding purposes.

The Board of Directors approved a number of changes to the Special Ranking Rule, including adding a provision that allows a player to use her special ranking for seeding purposes at WTA events.

Under the New Special Ranking Rule:

A player who is out of competition for more than 6 months but less than one year may use her special ranking for up to 8 tournaments in a one-year period.

A player who is out of competition for one year or more may use her special ranking for up to 12 tournaments in a one-year period.

If a player is out of competition due to pregnancy or a medical condition, she is allowed 3 years to use her special ranking. In the event of pregnancy, the time period is calculated from the birth of the child.

If a player is out of competition due to adoption, surrogacy, or legal guardianship, she is allowed 2 years to use her special ranking.

If a player's special ranking would earn a seeded position, that player will be drawn as an "additional seed" to play a non-seed in the first round. A ”additional seed” does not bump an otherwise seeded player.

Upon her return, a player is eligible to use her special ranking for seeding purposes at the 1st 8 WTA tournaments she plays.

A player may freeze her ranking up to two times. Under the previous rule, a player was allowed to freeze her ranking just once.

2. Leggings and Compression Shorts Without a Skirt Approved

Though the WTA had no rule explicitly prohibiting a player from wearing leggings without a skirt, the Board of Directors approved language making the Tour's position regarding such attire explicitly clear: Leggings and mid-thigh-length compression shorts may be worn with or without a skirt, shorts, or dress.

NOTE: The dress code applies only to WTA tournaments on the calendar, while Grand Slams, which come under the jurisdiction of the International Tennis Federation, are entitled to set their own rules.

3. 25 Second Shot Clock Rollout

After trialing the rule during the US Open Series last summer, the WTA will continue to implement a 25-second shot clock at Premier events in 2019, with a full rollout for all WTA tournaments in 2020. Previously, the rulebook allowed for 20 seconds between points.

In addition to the shot clock, the WTA will codify the 1:5:1 pre-match warmup rule, which allows the players 1 minute to reach the net for the pre-match coin-toss, 5 minutes to warm up, and 1 minute to start play.

4. Reduced Toilet Breaks

Players will be allowed one toilet/change of attire break per match.

Previously, the rulebook allowed for up to 2 breaks per player per match.

5. Prize Money Distribution On Withdrawals

If a main draw singles player (excluding wildcards) is on site and withdraws from a tournament between the start of qualifying and her first-round match, the player is eligible for 100% of her first round prize money. This rule is designed to improve player health and competitive integrity by disincentivizing playing through injury and retiring mid-match.

The Lucky Loser who takes the player's spot in the main draw will receive either (a) final round qualifying prize money if she loses in her first main draw match, or (b) final round qualifying prize money plus main draw prize money from the round she reached, minus the first-round prize money that went to the withdrawing player.

A player may use this rule a maximum of 2 times per season at non-consecutive WTA tournaments.

6. 10 Years of Service Rule for Additional Wildcards

Currently, a player is allowed a maximum of 6 WTA wildcards a year, with allowances for additional wildcards under certain circumstances. If a player has played 10 years or more, they are allowed 3 additional wildcards.

Starting in 2019, a player must play at least 6 tournaments in a year for that year to count towards the 10 Year Service Rule. Previously a player had to play just one tournament for the year to count. This rule only applies to future seasons, as any years prior to 2019 are still counted according to the old rule.

7. Prize Money Distribution at International and WTA 125K events

International-level tournaments offering prize money above the minimum but below $500,000 and WTA 125K Tournaments offering prize money above the minimum must distribute 100% of the prize money above the minimum to on-site prize money.

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TWITTER FILES: The WTA Salutes African American Pioneers In Women's Tennis - Leslie Allen

Tuesday, February 19, 2019

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TWITTER FILES: Serena Williams Continues To Historically Evolve Over Active WTA Players

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DOUBLES GLORY: Raquel Kops-Jones and Abigail Spears Win Doubles Title At Aegon Championships

Tuesday, June 24, 2014

(L)Raquel Kops-Jones and (R)Abigail Spears win doubles at 2014 Aegon Championships.

BIRMINGHAM, England - Raquel Kops-Jones and Abigail Spears were pushed for the third straight match in the final of the Aegon Classic on Sunday but were resilient once again in beating defending champions Ashleigh Barty and Casey Dellacqua and securing their first WTA title of the season.

No.3 seeds Kops-Jones and Spears were extended to match tie-breaks in their quarterfinal win over the Chan sisters and in their semifinal win over No.1 seeds Cara Black and Sania Mirza, in the latter case being two points from defeat in the match tie-break.

Second-seeded Barty and Dellacqua, whose first WTA title as a pairing came here last year, came into this encounter 12-1 on grass. The finalists had split their two previous clashes, with Kops-Jones and Spears losing the most recent one at Wimbledon last year.

This time, Kops-Jones and Spears had to overcome three set points down 6-5 on Kops-Jones' serve but then cruised through the tie-break and the second set for a 7-6(1), 6-1 triumph. The key stat was break point opportunities, with the Americans converting on three of five compared to just one of six for their opponents.

"We were working on a lot of things this week," Spears said. "It was good to come out on top. They're a good team. It was good to get a chance to play them the first week on grass.

"We never give up. We have played together for a long time. We'll have some bad matches, maybe some bad days but we're always wanting to get better. Our friendship as well is a huge thing. We're pretty much best friends. I think that really helps us to be able to talk through things."

Kops-Jones and Spears improved to 9-6 in WTA finals, with this being their fifth Premier-level title - the previous ones coming at Carlsbad and Tokyo in 2012 and at Stanford and Carlsbad in 2013. The duo also ensured they will rise a spot to fifth on the Road To Singapore leaderboard, helping their chances of qualifying for the season finale for the first time.

Birmingham was Kops-Jones's 11th WTA doubles titles and Spears' 13th.

source: wtatennis.com

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2011 U.S.OPEN DAY 2: 18-Year Old Sloane Stephens Debuts With A Win!

Tuesday, August 30, 2011

Sloane Stephens, USA
Reka-Luka Jani, Hungary
American Sloane Stephens, three-time junior Grand Slam doubles champion will now break into the WTA top 100 for the first time due to her win over Hungarian Reka-Luca Jani.

It took some doing, and three sets to accomplish the 6-2, 3-6, 7-6 (3) victory over Jani, but Sloane hung in there and tactics outlasted errors.

Israli Shahar Peer awaits Sloane in round 2 - she won't be nearly as generous with errors.

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WTA: Getting To Know ... Sloane Stephens

Wednesday, March 23, 2011

Black Tennis Pros Sloane Stephens WTA Getting To Know

American prospect Sloane Stephens was a three-time junior Grand Slam doubles champion in 2010, but having celebrated her 18th birthday on March 20, her attention is very much on the big leagues now. A native of Plantation, Florida, Stephens played her first three WTA main draws in last year, reaching the second round at Indian Wells and Bastad, and falling to seeds both times. Currently ranked No.192, the 170cm player takes to the court in Miami on Tuesday, gunning for a main draw berth at what should feel like her home tournament, the Sony Ericsson Open.

We caught up with Sloane during the BNP Paribas Open at Indian Wells, where as a wildcard she reached the second round before bumping into eventual champion Caroline Wozniacki.

How did you get into tennis?
SS: When I was young we lived across the road from a country club. My late stepfather played there every day, and when I was about nine I started playing there after school.

Tell us about your family.
SS: My mother and my brother are in Los Angeles - I live with them when I'm not on the road. My brother Shawn is 12 years old, and he plays baseball. My mom, Sybil, is a teacher.

What's your coaching situation at the moment?
SS: I work with Nick Saviano and Roger Smith, who was my former USTA coach in Carson, California and still travels with me. They are the main coaches I've worked with for the past three or four years.

How do you describe your playing style?
SS: I'm an aggressive baseliner, looking to come in.

Are you working on any particular aspect of your game at the moment?
SS: Yes, everything. Serving, returning, coming in more, approaching…

If you could steal a shot from another player, what would it be?
SS: I would steal Roger Federer's 'tweener.

Favorite surface or tournament?
SS: My favorite surface is red clay. My favorite tournament is the French Open. And my favorite city is… Paris! I love the architecture, the history.

What are your goals in tennis?
SS: Just to be the best player I can be. Not based on rankings, but based on doing my best to fulfill my potential.

Did you have a tennis idol when you were growing up?
SS: Of course… Venus and Serena, and also Kim Clijsters - she is a great person and I love the way she carries herself. They have been my main tennis inspirations through my career up until now.

Who has been your toughest opponent to date?
SS: I'd have to say Vera Zvonareva at Indian Wells in 2010.

Best tennis memory to date?
SS: Beating Venus in World TeamTennis a couple of years ago.

How far did you go in your education?
SS: I'm still going… I'm a senior in high school! And after that I'm going to start at Kaplan University, an online college.

What do you like about like on tour? What's tough?
SS: Traveling such a lot is tough, but I love seeing new places and cultures, meeting new people and being involved in everything.

What do you do to relax?
SS: I go on my computer, I Skype with family, read on my Kindle.

Favorite book, film, music?
SS: Books... the Twilight series; film, I'd have to say Inside Man; music - anything with a good beat!

What non-tennis skill do you wish you had?
SS: I really wish I could sing, and speak Spanish. I need to work on both of those areas, because at the moment my skills are very limited.

If you had to describe yourself in one word, what would it be?
SS: Giggling.

What quality do you most appreciate in others?
SS: I appreciate people who are considerate of others at all times. Just understanding situations and being open to adjusting and adapting.

Apart from family and friends, what's your most treasured possession?
SS: I have to say a necklace that my grandparents gave me. I wear it the whole time. Every match, all day long. I don't even take it off to shower.

If you could meet anyone in the world, who would you like it to be?
SS: That's a hard one. I'd have to go with Elton John.

What might you have done if you didn't become a tennis player?
SS: I'd probably go to university. But I don't know what I'd study… right now I can't see myself doing anything other than playing tennis.

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WTA, ATP And USTA Pro Circuit Tennis Action This Week

Monday, March 7, 2011




(WC)Sloane Stephens, USA defeated (Q)Jamie Hampton, USA
6-2, 6-4


Racquel Kops-Jones, USA and Abigail Spears, USA
Julia Goerges, GER and Lisa Raymond, USA
7-6(7), 6-3



(13)Jo-Wilfried Tsonga, FRA vs. BYE

(WC)James Blake, USA vs. (Q)Chris Guccione, AUS

(Q)Donald Young, USA defeated Potito Starace, ITA
2-6, 6-3, 6-2


Gael Monfils, wrist




(WC)Madison Keys, USA defeated Junri Namigata, JPN
6-4, 6-4


Phillip Simmonds, USA defeated by Flavio Cipolla, ITA
2-6, 2-6

Raven Klaasen, RSA defeated Matteo Viola, ITA
5-7, 6-1, 7-6(5)

Donald Young, USA defeated Denis Kudla, USA
6-2, 7-6(4)



Madison Keys, USA defeated by Laura Pous-Tio, ESP
3-6, 6-7(2)


Raven Klaasen, RSA defeated by Marinko Matosevic, AUS
6-7(4), 4-6

Donald Young, USA defeated Rudolph Siwy, CZE
6-2, 7-6(5)



(WC)Alexandra Stevenson, USA vs. (5)Sesil Karatantcheva, KAZ

(WC)Alexis King, USA vs. Kristyna Pliskova, CZE

(2)Stephanie Foretz Gacon, FRA vs. (Q)Melinda Czink, HUN


(1)Stefanie Foretz Gacon, FRA and Irena Pavlovic, FRA
Melinda Czink, HUN and Courtney Nagle, USA

(3)Ahsha Rolle, USA and Mashona Washington, USA
Katarzyna Piter, POL and Michaela Pochabova, SVK

Eliminated during singles qualifying rounds:

Jennifer Elie, USA
Ahsha Rolle, USA

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WTA, ATP And USTA Pro Circuit Tennis Action This Week

Thursday, January 20, 2011


Women's Singles

(4)Venus Williams, USA defeated Sara Errani, ITA
6-3, 6-2


Raquel Kops-Jones, USA and Abigal Spears, USA
Polona Hercog, SLO and Petra Martic, CRO
6-3, 77-65

Men's Singles

(12)Gael Monfils, FRA defeated Thiemo de Bakker, NED
65-77, 2-6, 7-5, 6-2, 6-1

(13)Jo-Wilfried Tsonga, FRA defeated Philipp Petzschner, GER
4-6, 2-6, 6-2, 6-3, 6-4

Dustin Brown, GER defeated by (25)Albert Montanes, ESP
4-6, 2-6, 6-3, 6-2, 5-7

(Q)Donald Young, USA defeated by (15)Marin Cilic, CRO
3-6, 2-6, 1-6


Dustin Brown, GER and Rogier Wassen, NED
Dmitry Tursunov, RUS and Mischa Zverev, GER
6-2, 6-3

Eliminated during qualifying

Sloane Stephens, USA
Stephanie Foretz Gacon, FRA
Josselin Ouanna, FRA


Women's Singles

(4)Venus Williams, USA defeated Sandra Zahlavova, CZE
66-78, 6-0, 6-4


Raquel Kops-Jones, USA and Abigail Spears, USA
(10)Monica Niculescu, ROU and (10)Zi Yan, CHN

Men's Singles

(12)Gael Monfils, FRA defeated Frederico Gil, POR
6-4, 6-3, 1-6, 6-2

(13)Jo-Wilfried Tsonga, FRA defeated Andreas Seppi, ITA
6-3, 77-61, 77-65


Dustin Brown, GER and Rogier Wassen, NED
Colin Ebelthite, AUS and Adam Feeney AUS


Women's Singles

(4)Venus Williams, USA defeated by (30)Andrea Petkovic, GER
0-1 Retired

Men's Singles

(12)Gael Monfils, FRA defeated by (19)Stanislas Wawrinka, SUI
64-77, 2-6, 3-6

(13)Jo-Wilfried Tsonga, FRA defeated by Alexandr Dolgopolov, UKR
6-3, 3-6, 6-3, 1-6, 1-6



(WC)Jennifer Elie, USA defeated Lenka Wienerova SVK
6-2, 6-4

Ahsha Rolle, USA defeated Jan Abaza, USA
6-1, 6-2


(3)Ahsha Rolle, USA and Mashona Washington, USA
Amanda Fink, USA and Elizabeth Lumpkin, USA

(2)Megan Moulton-Levy, USA and Courtney Nagle, USA
defeated by
Story Tweedie-Yates, USA and Natasa Zoric, SRB
6-4, 3-6, [8-10]

Eliminated during qualifying:

Mashona Washington, USA
Alexandra Stevenson, USA



Jennifer Elie, USA vs. Galina Voskoboeva, KAZ

Ahsha Rolle, USA vs. Alexandra Cadantu, ROU



(Q)Phillip Simmonds, USA defeated Pierre-Hugues Herbert, FRA
6-4, 6-3

(5)Nicholas Monroe, USA defeated (Q)Haydn Lewis, BAR
7-6(6), 6-2

(Q)Devin Mullings, BAH defeated by (LL)Lucas Renard, SWE
3-6, 7(4)-6, 3-6


Marvin Rolle, BAH and Haydn Lewis, BAR
(1)P Herbert, FRA and Stefano Ianni, FRA
6-4, 3-6 [10-8]

(3)Phillip Simmonds, USA and Daniel Yoo, KOR
Marcos Giron, USA and Alexios Halebian, USA
6-3, 6-7(4) [10-3]



Marvin Rolle, BAH and Haydn Lewis, BAR
Suk-Young Jeong, KOR and Ji Sung Nam, KOR
6-3, 7-5

(3)Phillip Simmonds, USA and Daniel Yoo, KOR
(WC)Diego Ayala, USA and Andrew Lake, USA
6-2, 6-3


Marvin Rolle, BAH and Haydn Lewis, BAR
Phillip Simmonds, USA and Daniel Yoo, KOR

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Serena Williams: Dead Or Alive, Show Up Or Be Fined

Monday, May 11, 2009

Black Tennis Pro's Serena Williams Madrid Press ConferenceSerena Williams, USA

MADRID (Reuters) - World number two Serena Williams hit out at the WTA Tour injuries policy on Sunday, commenting that players would be fined for pulling out of a tournament even if they were dead.

The American 10-times grand slam winner was asked why she played at last month's Andalucia Tennis Championships when she had clearly not recovered from a thigh problem that hampered her in the final of the Sony Ericsson Open the previous week.

"Unfortunately it doesn't matter if you're injured, if you're dead or if you're alive, if you don't play they're going to fine you heavily," Williams said at a news conference ahead of this week's Madrid Open.

"So I have to play whether I am injured or not. That's just how it is so I have no choice."

Williams suffered a shock defeat to Klara Zakopalova of the Czech Republic in the first round in Marbella having lost heavily to Belarussian teenager Victoria Azarenka in Miami.

The WTA introduced a new Roadmap for 2009 designed to reduce the number of tournaments and shorten the season to make it less physically demanding on the players.

Top 10 players must still compete in at least 10 of the 20 Premier events -- previously known as Tier 1 and 2 tournaments -- and the four grand slams and are also obliged to play the events at Indian Wells, Miami, Madrid and Beijing.

Justine Henin's retirement last year at the age of 25 highlighted the problem of burnout and Russia's Maria Sharapova has accused the ruling body of women's tennis (WTA) of being ignorant of the players' needs.

Men's world number one Rafael Nadal has repeatedly complained about the congested ATP calendar and reiterated his concerns on Saturday in Madrid at the combined men's and women's clay event.

"It's a fact that there are too many matches but that's the way the calendar has been set," the Spaniard, who suffered a knee injury at the end of last season, told a news conference.

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Serena Williams Wins WTA Player Of The Year Award

Thursday, March 26, 2009

MIAMI (Reuters) - World number one Serena Williams has won her second WTA Player of the Year award, the tour announced on Thursday at a ceremony.

Williams, who did not attend the event, won the U.S. Open last year and reached the Wimbledon final. She also claimed a gold medal with sister Venus in the doubles at the Beijing Olympics.

In her career, the American has claimed ten grand slam titles and she was also the WTA Player of the Year in 2002.

"Winning the Player of the Year award for the second time in my career is a great personal achievement," Williams said in a statement released by the WTA.

Cara Black of Zimbabwe and Liezel Huber of South Africa won the doubles Team of the Year award.

Russia's Dinara Safina was Most Improved Player of the Year after finishing the season ranked second while China's Zheng Jie was awarded Comeback Player of the Year, after returning from injury to climb over 100 places in the rankings.

Denmark's Caroline Wozniacki was Newcomer of the Year after picking up three wins on tour while Serbian Ana Ivanovic was named Humanitarian of the Year for her work with the United Nations Children's Fund.

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Venus Wiliams Hopes To Play Serena At Garden

Monday, February 16, 2009

Note: Near the end of this article, after stating that Venus Williams has not changed her mind about playing Indian Wells, the article implies that the sole reason she and Serena are not playing is because they were booed after Venus defaulted with an injured knee.

If you recall, the sisters and their father, Richard Williams, have stated that they encountered racist behavior in Indian Wells.

In a November 2008 interview with the New York Times Serena Williams stated:

“I’m not going to be playing at Indian Wells. I’ve had some extremely life-altering things that happened to me there. So I told Larry Scott there are things that happened there that he understands shouldn’t happen, especially me being African-American. We’ve been struggling for so long. I try to stand up for what I believe in. I won’t be able to say anything positive about Indian Wells. If they really want me to promote it, then honestly, I don’t know what to say.”


AP/New York: Venus Williams wants to play her top-ranked sister when women's tennis returns to Madison Square Garden for the first time in nearly nine years.

Williams will join Serena Williams, Ana Ivanovic and Jelena Jankovic on March 2 in the BNP Paribas Showdown for the Billie Jean King Cup. They will compete for $1.2 million in prize money.

"I'm hoping for an all-Williams final," Venus said Wednesday during a conference call. "That would be most exciting for us and, of course, for the fans. I love playing with Serena, against her and in doubles."

The single-elimination exhibition will feature three players who won Grand Slam titles in 2008. Ivanovic won her first major at the French Open, Venus won Wimbledon and Serena won the U.S. Open and this year's Australian Open. Jankovic held the No. 1 ranking for part of last season.

The draw will be held later this month, and they will compete in a one-set, no-ad scoring semifinal. The winners will play a best-of-three final.

In her only appearance at Madison Square Garden, Venus lost in the 1999 WTA season-ending tournament.

"There is an unbelievable amount of tennis tradition there for the women," she said. "It was the pinnacle of the season. I feel honored to be playing."

The Garden hosted its final WTA season-ending championships in 2000. Williams captured her first season-ending event last November in Doha, Qatar.

Roger Federer and Pete Sampras played an exhibition match last March at the Garden, the first men's pro tennis competition there since 1996.

The Williams sisters last faced off at the Wimbledon final. They've combined to win the last three Grand Slam singles titles, so the goal is to stay healthy throughout the season.

"As long as that happens, I really play good tennis," said Williams, who teamed with Serena to win the Australian Open doubles title. "I love the challenge. If it wasn't challenging, we wouldn't love it as much as we do."

Williams will compete in the Dubai Tennis Championships, which begin Sunday. She hasn't changed her mind about skipping the tournament next month at Indian Wells, Calif., one of the mandatory events on the WTA schedule. In 2001, Venus defaulted with a knee injury before a semifinal match against Serena and they were booed by the crowd.

She said King, an investor in the Indian Wells tournament, hasn't tried to persuade her to play.

"I don't think that's her job or her aim," Venus said. "With Billie, her whole intention has been if I'm OK and happy more than anything else."

Venus said she hasn't been paying close attention to the recent steroid revelations in baseball. She considers tennis "a completely different sport."

"You have to hold your nerve, and I don't know if there's a drug for that," she said. "Tennis has a pretty good record and we continually test."

The showdown will be broadcast on HBO. It's part of "Tennis Night in America," an effort by the U.S. Tennis Association to get youth signed up to play.

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Serena Williams Builds School In Kenya

Monday, November 10, 2008

Tennis icon and super star Serena Williams will officially visit Kenya for three days this week to officially inaugurate a school built using her funds.

Ms Williams will officially open the Serena Williams Secondary School in Matooni, Makueni constituency in Eastern province, on Friday, November 14.

The school was built through partnership between the Build African Schools initiative - an American non profit making organization - and Hewlett Packard, the world's largest technology firm.

Hewlett Packard, as part of its commitment to support education in developing countries, will install in each school a computer laboratory and classroom, laptop, printers, the World Wide Web, and facilitate training for the teachers and students.

It is the first time for Ms Williams, who is ranked number three in the world, to visit Kenya.

She will be accompanied by among others, her mother.

Mr. Patrick O'Sullivan, Founder and CEO of Build African Schools, said the objective of the Non-Profit Organisation to build primary and secondary schools in marginalized areas to give chance to students to access secondary school education in a bid to empower them.

"We are indeed honored to have Ms Williams visit Kenya at this momentous time in American history when we have a new President elect who has roots in Kenya," said Mr Dickson Mutaiti, the Director of Projects Build African Schools in Kenya.

"During her visit, Ms Williams will officially open a secondary school put up in her name, to give chance to needy primary school students who want to pursue secondary school education," Mr Mutaiti said.

Serena Williams's secondary school is located in Mutyamboa location, Makueni Constituency, near Sultan Hamud Township along the Nairobi Mombasa Road.

The school will give chance to hundreds of primary school pupils in the location to pursue secondary school education.

The area is semi arid, with schools far in and between.

The area suffers from high school drop out rate, and most students are orphans due to the high HIV /Aids prevalence rate in the area.

Build African Schools and HP have joined together since 2004 to help children in Africa have access to education.

The partnership will result in new schools constructed by Build African Schools which will then be fully equipped by Hewlett Packard with their state of the art computers and printers. Solar Power and the internet will also be installed at each school.

By building schools and equipping them with electricity, computers and other teaching aids, Build African Schools and Hewlett Packard offers children educational opportunities and choices that will ultimately empower them to determine their own future.

Photo Getty Images

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ESPN's Bonnie Ford Interviews WTA Chairman And CEO Larry Scott: Indian Wells Issue Explored

Thursday, September 11, 2008

Editor's note:

WTA Chairman and CEO Larry Scott on Wednesday formally announced changes in the circuit's calendar and other rules and standards, including on-court coaching, the rankings system and mandatory player commitments. Many of the questions from reporters afterward concerned the Williams sisters' stance that they will not play at Indian Wells -- which will be one of four mandatory events in 2009 -- because of a racially tinged incident in the stands there in 2001. That's where ESPN.com writer Bonnie D. Ford decided to start when she had a chance to sit down one-on-one with the former player and ATP executive.

Bonnie D. Ford: You made this announcement Wednesday morning, you put all this work into these reforms, and yet much of the press conference was dominated by an incident that happened seven years ago, that involves two of your hundreds and hundreds of players, albeit two of the most important ones. How personally difficult and frustrating is it for you that you haven't been able to get closure on this?

Larry Scott: I'm disappointed that there's not an easy solution, but by the same token, I'm looking at moving on, the sport's moving on, the tour's moving on, and I don't think it's going to hold us back from making the type of progress we need to make. As I've dug into the issue, I've gotten heightened empathy for how Serena and Venus feel about the situation and I also feel empathy for the tournament. I've tried to do what I can to bridge gaps. You can only do so much. I respect where they're coming from.

Ford: Do you have any realistic hope that there's going to be movement on this between now and March?

Scott: Not for the 2009 tournament. I'm not expecting they're going to play; they've told me they're not planning on playing. If they do, it's a bonus. I think everyone's expectations are managed. I'd like to think that by the time both Venus and Serena's careers end, fans at Indian Wells will see them again, but I'm certainly not predicting that.

Ford: And the promotional activities players can do in lieu of attendance, they've agreed to do that, so you don't anticipate a suspension coming out of this?

Scott: No.

Full Interview Here

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Serena's Back!!

Thursday, August 9, 2007

NEW HAVEN, Conn. -- Serena Williams, who has been out with a thumb injury since reaching the quarterfinals at Wimbledon, will return to the court later this month in the Pilot Pen tournament. Williams, an eight-time Grand Slam champion, will be making her first appearance in the tournament. Williams, ranked No. 8 in the world, struggled with injuries in 2006 before entering the Australian Open as an unseeded player and walking away with the win. She also reached the quarterfinals of the French Open and Wimbledon, climbing back into the top 10 of the WTA Tour world rankings.

"I am ready to get back onto the courts and hope to return to the form I had earlier this year," she said. "My sister always loved New Haven and was incredibly successful there, and I hope to have the same kind of results."

Williams joins fourth-ranked Svetlana Kuznetsova; No. 10 Daniela Hantuchova; No. 11 and Wimbledon finalist Marion Bartoli; No. 13 Elena Dementieva; and three-time Grand Slam champion Lindsay Davenport as women's players committed to the tournament.

"Serena is truly a household name around the world, and we are thrilled to add her to the Pilot Pen field in New Haven," tournament director Anne Worcester said. "The Pilot Pen fans always adored Venus, and I am certain they will have the same kind of warm and welcoming support for Serena."

Ninth-ranked James Blake, a Connecticut native, will be headlining the men's side along with defending champion and fifth-ranked Nikolay Davydenko; No. 7 Tommy Robredo; and No. 14 Andy Murray.

The tournament runs Aug. 17-25 at the Connecticut Tennis Center at Yale.

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Venus Williams is #1 in New WTA "Power Index" Stat

Tuesday, August 7, 2007

The WTA Tour has come up with a new statistic called a "power index" to explore just how powerful the sport's women have become. The stat is figured by combining a player's fastest groundstroke (forehand or backhand), first and second serves, first and second serve returns and smash or volley into one score.

Venus Williams, on the heels of becoming the lowest seeded player to ever win Wimbledon, was top-ranked in the new stat during last week's Acura Classic, averaging 94.5 mph on her hardest shots.

Maria Kirilenko was second to Williams at 92.7 mph, while Victoria Azarenka was third at 92.3 mph. Tournament champion Maria Sharapova proved being the most powerful player on the tour isn't everything as she was fourth at 90.5 mph.

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