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Category Archives: Serena Williams

Quotable Quotes: Serena Defends Her US Open Rant

Undoubtedly one of the most memorable moments of 2011, Serena was once again quizzed on her infamous rant at the US Open final ahead of her first match at the Brisbane International. The last time she spoke on this issue she was forced to issue an apology to Asderaki, but this time it was completely different.

“I honestly think I was really toned down, like I didn’t use any bad language or anything,” she said. “So I wouldn’t change it so much. I’m an emotional player and I’m an extremely emotional person, oh my goodness. It was what it was. It was great [...] I’m always going to be me. If that means I’m giving 200 per cent then that’s how I am. I love that and I think people can respect that when they see me play.”

There’s no doubt that Serena’s rant during that fateful final was a mess. A hilarious mess, yes, but it was childish and completely melodramatic.

However, she does raise a good point as the incident - if we can even call it that - has definitely been blown out of proportion. Considering this sport has spent the last twenty years worshipping every square millimetre of earth that John McEnroe has walked on because of his routine tantrums, daily verbal abuse of umpires and his blatant gamesmanship, I think it may be time for us all to move on in 2012.

I’m not that naive, though. I’m sure we’ll be hearing about this for months and years to come.

Quotable Quotes: Serena Accidently Lets Slip Her Real Reason For Skipping Asia

After her disappointing and already-infamous loss to Sam Stosur in this year’s US Open final, Serena Williams made the decision to withdraw from Tokyo, Beijing and all other remaining events in 2011 and to instead immediately turn her attention to 2012. The 30 year-old’s official excuse for withdrawing from the premier+ has a well-guarded secret, and even as many began to speculate on the disappearance of her name from all fall events, both the WTA and Serena’s camp refused to give anything away.

However, according to ESPN, during the media rounds ahead of her Milan exhibition alongside Venus Williams, Flavia Pennetta and Francesca Schiavone, the 13-time Grand Slam champion herself was controversially candid when discussing her absence from the fall events of 2011.

“I was tired after the Open and didn’t want to go to Asia,” she said before bursting into laughter and correcting herself. Well no, I was injured.”

Oh, Serena.

Of course, anyone with the tiniest amount of common sense knew this immediately after her shock loss to Stosur and had made peace with the fact that that, with no major title to play for after losing the US Open final (Williams was all but out of the race for Istanbul by virtue of losing that final), Williams would likely close up shop on 2011 and recuperate back home. However, though some can say that she has earnt it, Serena sitting there and chuckling heartily not wanting to play in Asia does make quite a mockery of the WTA; we know she’s bigger than the WTA and its rules, the WTA knows she is, and evidently she does too.

But hey, at least she was honest when asked, rather than lamely attempting to blame her withdrawal on non-existent radiation and a natural disaster that occurred a good six/seven months prior to the Asian swing. Ahem.

Quotable Quotes: Serena and Venus Williams Land in Colombia

After arriving in Colombia for their long-awaited return to the courts in a singles exhibition match, the Williams sisters sat down to address over one hundred national and international journalists ahead of Thursday’s matchup.

Serena on getting back to number one.
“I definitely see myself as at least in the top five. Obviously with me being someone who wants to be the best and the greatest, that’s not good enough for me. I am currently ranked twelve, and I think is a good place to start and try to find again the world number one next year. We’ll see how it goes. It’s not like I’m starting at 100 so I have a good chance of getting there very soon. “I didn’t start until summer. I worked really hard to get some good results so that I would have a good year going and a good next year. So I think next year could be a good year for me to try to make some goals and see where I can end up.”

On their rivalry
“When we play, we can’t help but take it very seriously, because we have always tried to get the best from each other, try to play the best games we can play because we are very tough competitors. We always enjoyed playing tennis a lot, we knew we had to train hard and that was part of the work we had to do, but that hard work paid off. What motivated us was the fact that we really liked tennis. Our parents have been very important in it all. They have played an important role in our lives and without their support we would never have come to where we are right now,”

Venus on the oft-discussed WTA number one spot:
“Women’s tennis has experienced two situations. There used to be number ones for long periods, but now it changes a lot. I think this is positive because the tennis is unpredictable and next year the struggle for number one will be very entertaining. My opponent tomorrow night is definitely one of my biggest challenges. I hope maybe she doesn’t play as well as normal so I can have a win. (laughter.)”

After shockingly being diagnosed with Sjogrens Syndrome at the US Open and consequently dropping out of the remaining tournaments in 2011, all eyes will particularly be on the elder Williams as she looks to overcome her biggest hurdle yet after undoubtedly the toughest season of career. And for once, she’s setting a good tone with that weave.

Rapper Drake Professes His Undying Love For Serena Williams

This summer, Serena Williams and Canadian rapper Drake made headlines as the rapper attended various Williams matches during her title run in Toronto, loudly cheering her on from her box. And this week, the Canadian finally sat down to address their relationship with Complex Magazine.

“I really, really love and care for Serena Williams. She’s incredible. That’s someone I’m proud to say I know. She’s definitely in my life and I’m in her life. It’s great to watch her play tennis. Very impressive.”

Whether intentionally or not (after all, he does have an album to sell) - following his stints with Nicki Minaj and Rihanna - the emotional Rapper has now used the ‘l’ word to describe his relationship with three major female celebrities. However, I think Serena can be content in the knowledge that only a fool would attempt to prise a man away from the arms of Serena Williams.

Serena Williams’ US Open outbursts: An uncharacteristic ticking timebomb?

Yesterday, history repeated itself as yet another one of Serena Williams’ US Open outings ended in outburst and shame. This year’s events certainly weren’t anywhere close to what unfolded two summers ago, and rather than being threatening, she turned into a hysterical half-crying half-ranting mess. But it was still bad, and naturally the reaction has been overwhelmingly negative.

What surprised me most wasn’t the actual outburst, but the fact that she really appeared to believe that Eva Asderaki - one of the best umpires in the game - was part of some conspiracy deliberately out to get her and “screw her over”, as she so eloquently put it. It was just insane paranoia.

But then again, if you really think about what has gone on in her career, can she really be blamed for thinking that the whole tennis world is conspiring against her?

Throughout the years of her career we have seen Serena the victim of an unprecedented amount of incidents and drama. We all know the story of the Williams sisters and how they rose to the top of the game their own way; defying the traditional country club barriers of race, social class and the traditional process that most go through to get to the top. For that reason, from the age of 10/11/12 people have been rooting against her, hoping that she would fail and the hype surrounding her would be nothing but hype.

And that was before she even made it onto the main tour. Since she has established herself as one of the best and greatest players ever, incidents involving her as the victim have come thick and fast. In 2001, Venus withdrew from their Indian Wells semifinal match long before their match. However, the WTA decided to wait until only minutes before they were due to go on-court before announcing it. The crowd then booed (which may or may not have been racially motivated) a 19 year-old Serena in the final. Though she admitted in her autobiography that as a teenager, having to stand there and watch as 16,000 of her own people booed her for doing absolutely nothing wrong was one of the most painful moments of her life, she stayed classy.

In 2003, we watched as Serena’s bitter rival Justine Henin resorted to dirty gamesmanship and cheating in order to triumph over Serena at the French Open. Henin’s coach Carlos Rodriguez later claimed that she would have owned up to any player but Serena. The same match also saw her left to effectively left call her own lines and continually stop points as the linespeople made abysmal call after abysmal call against her. Williams was then booed off Philippe Chatrier in tears, bursting into fresh tears in the press conference. Even so, she complimented Henin’s play through the tears; she stayed classy.

A year later came yet another controversial incident in the quarterfinals of the US Open against Jennifer Capriati, which has become infamous for being the match that ushered in the era of electronic line-calling. It was a farce and a joke, with bad calls coming in all sets with completely different linespeople. She could have easily lost her mind - and it was so bad that no one would have really blamed her for doing so - but to her credit she once again didn’t put a single foot out of line. In parts of the match she looked completely exhasperated and other parts she looked ready to cry, but she always stayed classy.

These are only a few of the countless incidents involving Serena over the years, and it’s why I can’t help but think that - without condoning her awful behaviour towards Shino Tsurubuchi in 2009 and Eva Asderaki this year - Williams seems to have just reached her breaking point. She was never angry and it was so rare to see her even politely complain, let alone insult an umpire. But after 13 years of inexplicably hostile crowds, racist hecklers, lying and cheating opponents and so on, she has finally broken, and all that anger suppressed and pushed deep down in these incidents throughout the years is rearing its ugly head all at once.

One incident that really re-affirmed this to me was when Serena played Jelena Jankovic in Rome last year. In the tiebreak, Serena was leading 5-2 when she was distracted and put her hand up to ask for more time. Jankovic only saw the hand after she served and immediately launched into a tradmark moan and groan towards the umpire as only she can. Meanwhile, you could see Serena standing there watching the exchange, squinting while looking nervous and rattled. She then lost a shaky 5 points in a row to lose the match and instead of showing her frustration at losing such a tight match and big lead, the very first thing she did was make a bee-line for Jankovic in order to make sure Jankovic knew she wasn’t trying to cheat, infamously telling her ‘I would never cheat you like that; I’m not Justine’. Many criticized her words and for not having gotten over the 7 year-old incident, but I was more touched. Even seven years down the line, the wounds of that event were still raw and painful; and rather than breaking her racket at losing a big lead and tight match, she wanted to first make sure that Jankovic knew she wasn’t trying to make her feel that way too.

So often we look at Serena with her bulging muscles and brash American swagger and just assume that she brushes off those incidents without a care in the world, but without sounding all sentemental and cliché, underneath the muscles and confidence is a normal person inside. Her recent behaviour has been ugly, unpleasant and horrible, but really, was this all a matter of when rather than if?

Let’s just hope that with time, she can let this anger and paranoia go and revert back to the sporting and non-complaining Serena Williams that, though rarely spoken about, has defined the vast majority of her illustrious career.

Quotable Quotes: Sam Stosur Wins The US Open

Yesterday, Sam Stosur demolished Serena Williams 6-2 6-3 in a dramatic but routine championship to capture the very first Grand Slam of her career at Flushing Meadows.

On her feelings after the match:

“Yeah, I’m still kind of speechless. I can’t actually believe I won this tournament. I guess to go out there and play the way I did is obviously just an unbelievable feeling, and you always, you know, hope and you want to be able to do that, but to actually do it, is unbelievable.”

On her tactics against such a tough opponent:

“Well, I think me being able to go after her second set serve, obviously she’s got a huge first serve. If she had not quite on, you get slight chances there on her second. Today I was able to step in and hit my favorite shot nearly off every single one and really put her under pressure every time she missed a first serve. I think that was big. Maybe that made her feel a little more pressure to start making more first serves and it’s a little more difficult. And on serve I felt like my percentages were good. I hit the right spots at the right time and tried to vary it as much as I could. Probably felt like she didn’t get a clean hit on a lot of my balls. As soon as I got opportunities to go for winners or set myself up, I did it. I guess you can always go into a match having your tactics, but you’ve got to execute them. Today I was able to do it very well.”

On Serena sitting next to her and chatting after the match:

All of a sudden, yeah, turned around and she was right next to me, which is kind of unusual. No, she was great, actually. She just said, How do you feel? Are you really excited? It’s unbelievable. I played really well. Yeah, I was really surprised to, you know, see her sitting next to me at that moment in time. I guess it, you know, shows what a nice person she is and what a true champion she is of the sport. To be able to separate the result a few minutes later and be able to come over and congratulate your opponent I thought was pretty classy.

On all the sacrifices made early in her career:

“My story is probably no different to many others, but when I was younger, no doubt my family gave up a lot. My parents especially and my younger brothers probably and my older brother probably got dragged through the tennis clubs more often than not when they didn’t necessarily want to. But I’m lucky that I had a really supportive family. They saw that I had this dream and drive and determination to be a tennis player, and, you know, obviously none of us knew if that was ever gonna pay off. Lucky for me, I had that support behind me. Playing all those small tournaments and, like you said, I’ve slept in train stations and stayed in dodgy hotels and done the hard yards through many places, and it awful pays off in the end. I’d do it all over again if I had to.”

I’ve really warmed to Stosur recently. She is, of course, one of the most understated and quiet players on tour, but at the same time for me, there is just a little something about her personality that is charming. And the way she stepped up against Serena and delivered one of her career performances on such a big stage was nothing short of stunning.

We all saw how she fell apart in Paris last year and she could have easily fallen into a routine of straight sets slam final blowouts like so many before her, but she stepped up to the plate and maximized her game in probably the biggest match of her career. She deserves only respect. Let’s just hope that, unlike her other first-time slam champion counterparts, she can build on this form in the coming months.

Quotable Quotes: Richard Williams: Caroline Wozniacki is “like a daughter to me”.

We’ve heard from Wozniacki’s twitter page about her countless rendezvous with “her friends” - the Williams sisters - and after Serena Williams’ 6-2 6-4 victory over Wozniacki, her dad Richard decided to repay some of the grovelling compliments that Wozniacki has given to his daughters over the last few years.

“It was a nice fight, said Richard Williams. Caroline Wozniacki is one of the finest players I’ve seen since Martina Hingis… Tonight Serena was lucky to win, and I hope she can maintain the good momentum against Samantha Stosur, who she lost to in French Open.”

“I see her as one of my daughters”, he says, looking intently at the questioner. “When Serena was sick after her blood clot, she came and visited her. I will never, never forget what she did. What care she showed. She is like an adopted daughter to me.” says the older gentleman with something that looks like a tear in the eye hook.[/b]

Hilarious stage directions from the Ekstra Bladet journalist. Granted, Richard hugs and kisses 90% of the players and probably likens most of them to being his adopted daughters, but this is still nice. Venus was always surprisingly quick to take Wozniacki under her wing from a young age, even playing doubles withher back in 2008. It’s clear that there is a lot of respect and admiration between the two families. It’s nice.

Also, at least he got her name right this time.

Players Clash With The USTA; What To Take From It.

After Tuesday’s Day and Night sessions were completely washed out, today brought similar woes as rain threatened to completely throw off the US Open’s schedule and only around 10-12 minutes of play was managed before the players were carted off-court and play was eventually suspended. In a desperate attempt to get players on-court and the fourth round finished, officials decided to put the players on-court during a brief window where the heavy rain became the lightest drizzle. Needless to say, the players were unhappy.

Read more of this post

Open or Closed? US Open Women’s Preview

Open. In the absense of Serena Williams, Venus Williams and Kim Clijsters for so much of 2011, that one word sums up to a tee the first 7 months of the year. With the greatest players momentarily out of the picture, new players have risen to prominence, both confirming and exceeding expectations, going further on the road to greatness than ever before.

This batch of players is, of course, led by the two brand spanking new Grand Slam champions of 2011. Madame Li, who shocked none by storming to the finals of the Australian Open before shocking all by going one further on the dirty red clay of Paris, and Queen Petra who simply validated the buzz surrounding her for the best part of a year by coronating herself as Queen of Wimbledon for both 2011 and undoubtedly many more years to come.

But are there indications that the door is closing and real order is slowly being restored? She has only been back for four and a half events, and it’s almost as if Serena never left, picking up from where she left off in July of 2011. She needed just two tournaments to find her game and fitness, and already she is back to overpowering, outserving, outgutting and outhinking the rest of the tour to two titles and an unbeaten record on the US hardcourts, clinching the US Open Series for the first time in her career. She goes into the US Open the heavy favourite to add one more to her current tally of 13 slams and 3 US Open titles.

And then there’s Maria Sharapova, the bookies second favourite, also by a considerable distance. Her serve is still shaky and unreliable, her groundstrokes and footwork still prone to inexplicably falling apart, but she’s still winning and that speaks volumes. She is winning so much that though she has played only 11 tournaments to Wozniacki’s 17, this week (Wozniacki will pass her again after her finals showing at New Haven) she sits at the very top of the race for the first time in over 3 years. The recovery of her game and form since her return 2 years ago has been such a long and treacherous process, but her recent form indicates that the curve of improvement continues to move steadily upward..

Outside of the two warriors, there are many worth more than a mention; The aforementioned Li and Kvitova, though out of form since their big victories, have proven that they are deadly any day, on any surface and at any time. We also have yet another ‘comeback’ from Venus Williams who has seemingly picked up every injury and illness there is to pick up over the last year. But you count her out at your own peril, and looking at her draw, it’s certainly not all bad for the unseeded 2-time US Open Champion. And then there are the others who will be looking to bite and scratch their ways up the pecking order - Zvonareva, Stosur, Azarenka, Bartoli, Petkovic, Lisicki, Jankovic, Ivanovic, and of course that number one girl… (you know the one dating that Golfer dude? Yeah, that one), to name but a few.

So here begins a fortnight of the insanity that has come to epitomize the US Open. We’ll see parts of draws falling to pieces while other parts hold together like superglue, epic classic matches right next to complete and utter crapfests, in addition to more drama than every current New York Broadway production combined. And, as usual, we will love every minute of it.

Predictions, predictions, predictions
Serena Williams def. Li Na
Maria Sharapova def. Venus Williams

Serena Williams def. Maria Sharapova

Full Draw

How Did Rafa Do On Letterman?

Yesterday, Rafael Nadal was on the US talk show Letterman ahead of the US Open. I can’t even deny that I was pretty nervous for him - these days his English is fine when talking about tennis, but as soon as the subject veers away from tennis it quickly becomes awkward silence after awkward silence with Rafa struggling (and usually failing) to find the right word to express himself.

Thankfully, it all turned out fine. Letterman stuck mostly to tennis questions and he even set Rafa up with a chance make a funny(!!!), with Rafa joking “sometimes it’s better if he’s not here” when asked about Federer.

I also love that the main point of the interview was to promote his book, and yet they spent more time shamelessly promoting Rafa’s Babolat racket than actually talking about the book itself.

So a good interview and nice effort from Rafa. But as a rule, I think he should leave all the talk shows to the likes of Maria, Serena, Andy, and of course the great Marat Safin:


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