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Landlubber 08/27/2009 - 5:54 PM

Zeroferry_02

by Pete Bodo

Well, I learned something new about Venus Williams today; she'd make a terrible pirate because merely setting foot on a boat makes her queasy - and this is a girl who spent most of her formative years in proximity to the pretty beaches near her home in Palm Beach Gardens. So what was originally conceived as a little cruise around the East River near the United Nations headquarters turned into a dockside photo shoot and media photo-op.

This little dry-land cruise was arranged by a sponsor of Venus's, the makers of a familiar sports drink spinoff,  Powerade Zero. One of the nice things about writing a weblog is that when the makers of something like Powerade call to say they can get you some time with Venus - if  you promise to mention the product - you can say, "Sure, why not, nice of you to ask!"  I'm not here to protect the citizenry from the horrors of the market place; last I checked, we're a consumer society with a robust interest in products - even when the main appeal of said products is that they're "green," or "healthy."

But there's more - this media event took place on the far East Side of Manhattan, at the 35th St water taxi dock. Throughout the US Open, Powerade will be running free ferry and bus service to the National Tennis Center, which is an option you visitors to New York in the next few weeks ought to keep in mind. There are a lot worse ways to traverse the water to Queens than by water taxi; my only concern would be the logistics - just how many passengers can the ferry/bus set-up move from Manhattan to the USTABJKNTC in any given time frame?  But it would certainly be worth checking out, especially if you're staying nearby.

The taxi dock is a clean, busy place - picturesque in its own urban, quayside way. While I studied the churning waters of the East River for signs of marauding bluefish or striped bass (the "river" has quite a rip at certain times of day, depending on the tide), I called Bobby Chintapalli, one of my two WTA gurus (Master Ace is the other). What would Bobby ask Venus about, I wondered, having learned long ago that I can go to a lot shakier sources than you regular readers for counsel. It's especially true on the WTA side of things, which tend to get short shrift around here.

Bobby reminded me that Venus, now 29, is the oldest player in the top 10 (see what I mean?) and she wondered: How does Venus feel, being the granny of the WTA tour? 

By the time Venus showed up, fashionably late, a few dozen paparazzi types and videographers were waiting. It pains me to say it, but she walked like a veteran, banged up athlete -  as if she were stiff and sore. But oh my, what a specimen she is. Despite being at a bunch of tournaments with her this year, I hadn't noticed until today how much she's filled out recently - the gap between lean and leggy and dense and muscular has been narrowed, and the best word I can come up to describe her physique is "formidable." She radiates power and speed; you almost want to slap a  hood ornament on her. 

She also happens to be awfully pretty; I always thought so. Today she wore pale blue hip-hugger tights and a gray t-shirt advertising her sponsor. She posed for a few snaps as soon as arrived on the dock, and she looked pretty sexy (and turned coquettish) when someone asked her to don a ferry pilot's cap. Venus posed for a few more snaps in the pilot house, and then we all went below, into the air-conditioned, clean passenger area - theoretically to conduct a few one-on-one interviews. The boat wasn't moving much, but Venus suddenly decided that she'd rather be on dry land, so we trouped off the ferry and she fulfilled the rest of her commitments on the firm footing of the concrete dock.

These sponsor appearances are different from the typical media engagements that are part of every tennis player's professional life. There's nothing adversarial about them - the media who turn up usually know little or nothing about tennis, and merely want a few nice sound bites from a high-value celebrity. Venus knew how to work the proverbial room; she was charming. She eventually came over to me, letting down the guard that characterizes her when she's hard at the business of trying to win tennis tournaments. She had a big smile on her face, hand extended, and said she was surprised (a scruffy tennis journalist among the fashionistras!) and glad to see me there.

Maybe I should spend more time at these sponsor things, instead of in that torture chamber called the press interview room, where players are put through the wringer at a time when they're most vulnerable, tense, or both.

Well, it's another year, another Open," I said.

"Not exactly.I don't see it that way at all." Her eyes lit up: "It's more like, wow, here we are, it's the Open!"

But you are the grand old dame of the WTA, if you don't mind the characterization. You're the oldest player in the Top Ten.

"Yeah, but no wrinkles yet." She touched the corners of her eyes, as if to prove her point. So it feels great."

How are you feeling after your up and down summer?

"Well, you know, I didn't have an ideal summer. But you know me, I never base my next match off my last one - whether it was good or bad. But it's nice to have the maturity to understand that it's all about the moment - being in the moment and capitalizing on the moment. That's what it's going to be about. And you know, sometimes its tough to play the summer - especially after Wimbledon. So next year, I might do something a little different, maybe take a few weeks off after Wimbledon."

Do you feel any special incentive, given that you were unable to defend your Wimbledon title?  Is this a good last shot to make a big statement for the year?

"Well, its the last one we have, Slam-wise, so yeah. But everybody in the draw is thinking, ' I want to win this one, it's the last Slam of the year.' Also sometimes when you're out there on the court in the last major of the year you can find yourself thinking, 'I can't miss, I'd better be good and make this ball'. . . That's not a great approach - it's important to be relaxed going into the Open, but I also know that I'm going to go in there to play ball."

You're playing doubles again with Serena, any concern about the potential fatigue element, given the split sessions, the heat and all that?

I think we're prepared. We've been working pretty hard and doing the right things, staying strong. And we love playing doubles, so we don't see it as a problem at all. We haven't played here together in, what, nine years? That's nine titles we didn't get a chance to win.  And since we started playing, I don't know how many doubles majors we've won together - I think three? Maybe five? [they have four] So it's been exciting for  us to start winning those."

Do you talk with the Bryan brothers at all about sibling doubles?

"No, never, but maybe we should. . ."

You've played your way through a couple of generations now - the Steffi Grafs, the Hingeses and Henins, now you've got a new crop, with the Jankovics and Azarenkas and Wozniackis. Is there a noticeable difference between those generations?

"Oh, they're better now. All the players. Much better. Back in the day, Steffi was the only one actually playing tennis, and nobody else seemed to want to pick her game up to try to get to that level -  at least not until  Monica (Seles) came along. But then Serena and I came on pretty hard and running fast, and it was like everybody seemed to say, 'No, no no. . . you're not going to run all over us, we're going to do our best to do the same things you're doing'. So the overall level has gone up. These women today are better athletes. They're better trained, there's better knowledge out there in every area, and they're using it. Even down to things like physiclal therapy and fitness. I think if anything, it's gotten more intense."

Do you see any of the  younger players as particularly dangerous? 

"Oh, they all are dangerous. It's because they all have so much desire. Those are the keys - desire and the ability to fight. Even if a girl isn't the best player out there, it's more likely now that she'll be a fighter - that's what I see out there. Nobody wants to give you anything."

But some of these girls, they hit a wall. Their desire seems to fade and they go on auto-pilot, whether they consciously want to or not. Has that ever happened to you, where you couldn't bring yourself to care?

"No, and I'll tell you why. Because I hate losing. Losing is the first - and last - wall I hit."

Our brief, alloted time was up, and I thanked Venus, who thanked me for coming and said she'd see me out at the tennis. The next time I see her, she may be less open, less relaxed, and that's as it should be for a superb athlete who's knocked down every wall she's hit and found a way to come back strong. I'm glad they play this US Open on cement, instead of water.


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Posted by Kenneth 08/28/2009 at 09:34 AM

Ooops, cannot forget the lovely Gabriela Sabatini, who comes roaring in on the (defeat) list @ 29-11 with not only the most wins over Graf, but the most losses.

Posted by Subhadeep 08/28/2009 at 09:45 AM

Go DevVarman ... win another match and reach the main draw! best of luck!

A 1st round match that is very intriguing is the Santoro - Ferrero match

Posted by Subhadeep 08/28/2009 at 09:46 AM

With the fury of discussion on Venus' interview you wonder why these players never want to open up and speak their voice. We need to get a life and not treat these comments to our heart like someone insulting one's family and crying for bloodbath!

Posted by Samantha Elin, awaiting the return of Justine. 08/28/2009 at 09:50 AM

Good morning all, I firmly believe that if Venus or Serena said "You have a nice day." there would be people out there claiming they were insulting someone because they didn't say, "Everyone have a nice day." Go figure. People will find insult no matter what. Truly amazing.

Posted by Samantha Elin, awaiting the return of Justine. 08/28/2009 at 09:57 AM

I think it has to do with two things, people loving controversy and drama,even when there is none they create it and based on some of their comments a genuine dislike for the Williamses.

Posted by Subhadeep 08/28/2009 at 09:58 AM

The crowd here was giving hard time to Roger for the interview after his loss to TSonga in Montreal which was unbelievable to me!

Posted by Subhadeep 08/28/2009 at 10:03 AM

I for one defend the Williamses for boycotting Indian Wells forever. Unless you have faced in real life racial discrimination one will never know how brutal is and how bad it feels. Every year before the tourney they get beaten up and requested by all in media to take part.

I was not a fan of Williamses final, especially early in their career as it always turned out to be not so good as one of the sisters would shut down BUT what happened in Indian Wells was unacceptable and I fully support the Willamses for doing what they have done so far.

On another note, this kind of bashing of a player for saying such an innconent statement only promotes the players to give all safe neutral comments. I would rather have strong comments like Serena saying she is the true number 1 instead of Safina since she has not won any GS!

Posted by kchowcrazy 08/28/2009 at 10:07 AM

I'm sorry but people on here are trying to make something out of nothing. The fact of the matter is Steffi completely dominated and crushed her contemporaries, its the equivilant of Serena have only lost to safina/jankovic/dementieva/azarenka/kuzzy a total of like 7 times. If Serena did that people would look back and say nobody played at her level which is exactly what Vee said about Steffi; before Seles nobody was really playing at her level.

Cosi its funny that when u want to insult Vee you bring up personal insults that she is smug and sly and that her father has poisoned her somehow. These comments are the reason the Williams clan are so aloof and believe thet are the best because if they don't who will?

Posted by Samantha Elin, awaiting the return of Justine. 08/28/2009 at 10:08 AM

I was just looking at Kenneth record of Graff's H2H with player, the four players who had a very close record with her were Evert, Martina N, S.Williams and V. Williams. Graff was way before my time watching tennis, but I do know that the Williamses improved greatly after first being erratic and making many errors. I think it would have been a very interesting rivalry given the closeness of the H2H and how the Williamses improved over time. Shame they didn't play in the same era.

Posted by Ren (16 won't be too much) 08/28/2009 at 10:16 AM

Thank you for this lovely article. Venus is one great athlete and one of the more sensible ones!

Can't fathom how defensive people can get about all these past great players. Everything is misconstrued. Venus was aked about generations, and she never attacked anyone. She was saying the players now in general are better than those of Steffi's and the rest. It's all about the girls, not individual champions, you %$#@!And how did Navratilova get into the pic? I don't think Venus was asked about Navratilova's generation. She was asked about the generations she had competed against, and definitely not during Navratilova's!

Posted by Subhadeep 08/28/2009 at 10:19 AM

Stabbing of Seles robbed the women's tennis of so many high quality matches.

I think even Steffi's game suffered a bit in that aftermath but still she won since there were not many to challenge her consistently at the top.

What would have been fantastic would have been Seles playing at her peak as the Williamses were becoming the champions they are today.

Posted by Ren (16 won't be too much) 08/28/2009 at 10:19 AM

LOL Samantha!

Just can't please everybody.

Posted by Samantha Elin, awaiting the return of Justine. 08/28/2009 at 10:19 AM

My reading of Vee's comments were that she was simply commenting on how dominant Graff had been and that not many people could top her.(Believe it or not there were people saying this was an insult to Graff)Again, go figure!

Posted by Ren (16 won't be too much) 08/28/2009 at 10:23 AM

On second thought, no way for lumpenic discussion!

Posted by Beckham (Gulbis?! Pffftttt!!!) 08/28/2009 at 10:26 AM

Pete: great post on my girl Vee, it's no secret I'm a KAD, Ros and I finally agree on one player, lol (hi, Ros!), the bashing of all things Williams is hilarious, I remember when they used to be one person, at least people recognise now that Vee is an entirely different person than Rena, baby steps people baby steps...;)

Go Vee, if you could manage not to completely suck at the USO this year, I'll be very pleased...

Posted by Tokyo Tom (tt) 08/28/2009 at 11:24 AM

"people loving controversy and drama,even when there is none" = sounds like a great new slogan for the WTA -- much better than new balls or no balls depending on which ATP player one is addressing.

Posted by Bobby 08/28/2009 at 11:33 AM

Nice questions, Pete, and of course Venus's answers are as Zen as ever. My favorite part though is about how she "turned coquettish". Love your observations on court... and especially off.

Posted by Cosi 08/28/2009 at 02:56 PM

Posted by OK 08/28/2009 @ 9:15 AM

My God, the folks taking offense to Venus' comments need to get a life.

Seriously.

Go on a date. Read a book. Make a friend.

Do *something* so that your Offend-o-Meter doesn't go all the way to 11 because of something this insignificant."

Maybe people who resort to ad hom attacks when they don't agree with something should learn how to debate and provide backup to their own opinions instead of flinging insults? Did your Offend-O-Meter go to 11 about some opinions you don't agree with on Venus Williams comments?

Posted by Cosi 08/28/2009 at 02:58 PM

But Kenneth, don't you realize none of those women you listed other than Graf, were tennis players? Just ask Venus...

Posted by Cosi 08/28/2009 at 03:04 PM

People are unreal in their selective blindness. I wait for the day when DJokovic or Murray or Roger says that players from Laver's era were not really playing tennis, or some other female pro comes along and says women from Suzanne Lenglen's era weren't even playing tennis. The same people feigning ignorance about how rude Venus' comments were in this article will go crazy with outrage . But I won't get to see that reaction, Djoker Murray and Federer would probably never say such a stupid and insulting thing about the players of another era, I would be shocked if any of them did. No matter how many times positive spin is posted about somebody, doesn't make it true. Venus is not always classy and gracious, even though that's the prevailing spin about her all the time. And as for the poster that said Venus has to "share" slam wins with serena blah blah, well it's interesting to note that Venus and Serena's slam totals COMBINED do not yet equal Steffi's total.... did you wonder if that might have something to do with her catty comments? Yeah, think about it.

Posted by nn 08/28/2009 at 03:12 PM

Cosi,

Nothing in life is worth this much effort.

Posted by OK 08/28/2009 at 03:16 PM

I'm enjoying a certain poster's one-man (or woman) band as it continues to sputter.

Please continue to hyperventilate.

Posted by Cosi 08/28/2009 at 03:18 PM

Posted by nn 08/28/2009 @ 3:12 PM

Cosi,

Nothing in life is worth this much effort. "

Gosh, you better speak for yourself. It takes me a very minimum effort to shoot down strawman, ad hom, and baseless arguments in debate.. perhaps it takes incredible effort for you, I don't know...I would say alot of things in life are worth at least a one minute effort to type something and much much more effort.

Posted by nn 08/28/2009 at 03:34 PM

An ardent participant in fruitless debate, aren't we?

Posted by nn 08/28/2009 at 03:39 PM

"My God, the folks taking offense to Venus' comments need to get a life.

Seriously.

Go on a date. Read a book. Make a friend.

Do *something* so that your Offend-o-Meter doesn't go all the way to 11 because of something this insignificant."


Wonderful advice. I sincerely hope you benefit from it.

Posted by Evia 08/28/2009 at 03:56 PM

I'm so happy that Venus and Serena exist, mainly because they enrage people that can't bear the joy that their success brings to them, and those who support them. If they decided to never give interviews, they would be hated even more, although this should make some people very happy. The sisters will never go unnoticed, living mundane lives, unlike those who cannot resist bitter retort to every statement in their favour. If you don't like someone, why read their interviews or comments? Just so you can be offended?

Posted by manuelsantanafan 08/28/2009 at 05:09 PM

Cosi's statements, as well as mine (altho I could have been less viriolic), are completely supported by the pertinent facts.

Additionally, the above advice has much merit: "Go on a date. Read a book. Make a friend."

I, for one, would benefit from following said advice more often.

So, I'm finished posting on this particular thread.

Posted by P. 08/28/2009 at 05:28 PM

I think Venus's comment is very revealing, though I'm not offended by it. In fact, I think it sheds some light on her sister's behavior. Here's why:

Mary Carillo coined the term "Big Babe Tennis" to describe the big-hitting style of play practiced by Venus, Serena, Sharapova, et al. Graf and Seles were the two players who really laid the foundation for that approach. Between them, Steffi and Monica won 22 of 25 consecutive slams, so Venus is quite correct in saying that no one was even approaching their level in those days. Their success, and their style of play, were obvious and appropriate role models for a young player.

What's revealing is how she refers to that as "actually playing tennis", because I think it sheds some light on the Williams sisters' mindset. I don't think that Venus just means "winning", I think she means "playing Big Babe Tennis", because that's what she and her sister think of as real tennis: flashy shotmaking with lots of oomph behind every ball. There's not really any room in that world for the tricky, cerebral play of a Patty Schnyder or Martina Hingis, or the loopy junkballing of a Sanchez Vicario or Martinez. It may win matches, but it's not "real tennis".

Venus is usually gracious in defeat, but Serena is notorious for the opposite. I think part of that comes from a shared belief that (1) their brand of tennis is real tennis, and (2) they're the best at it, so (3) if they lose, it's either because they played badly, or because their opponent played "B.S. tennis". Venus has either outgrown or learned to (mostly) conceal that belief, but Serena hasn't, or doesn't want to.

By the way, for those of you whetting your knives, this sort of thing isn't at all restricted to the Williams sisters, or women's tennis for that matter. John McEnroe famously told Brad Gilbert that "You don't deserve to be on the same court with me" as Gilbert junkballed his way to a three-set victory at the Masters in New York. Marat Safin, who thinks that "real tennis" is hitting a succession of clean winners, finds Fabrice Santoro infuriating. There are dozens of other examples, and many from other sports as well. Power players hate losing, but I think they hate it most when they lose to a non-power player.

Posted by jdtennisusa 08/28/2009 at 06:57 PM

Manuelsantanafan, I don't take issue with what Venus said in her interview with respect to Steffi Graf. What is implicit in her statement is that no one (other than Seles) at the time was able to rival Steffi's performance consistently.

It is apparent that you have an ax to grind and used Venus' statement as a thinly-veiled excuse to attack her. However, inevitably, you are the one who ends up looking like a "jerk" with your rants.

Posted by manuelsantanafan 08/28/2009 at 07:07 PM

jdtennisusa:

I gave a detailed, rational explanation for the positions I took.

You resort to name-calling.

Bravo for you.

Posted by jdtennisusa 08/28/2009 at 07:11 PM

I need not reiterate all of the points that others have made to effectively rebut your posts.

As for the name-calling, yes, I am guilty of following your example. Since you deemed it appropriate to, in essence, call Venus a jerk, I thought it aptly describes your behavior here as well.

Posted by manuelsantanafan 08/28/2009 at 07:27 PM

jdtennisusa:

Nobody, including you, effectively rebutted my posts.

Venus Williams combined historically inaccurate statements with insulting fellow members of the WTA by impugning their professionalism.

That constitutes jerkish behavior. (Does that make her a jerk? Not necessarily. Nobody I know, including me, for sure, has led a perfect life.)

If you want to continue your ad hominem attacks lacking any rational support, by all means, go for it.

The floor is all yours. I have more rewarding activities in which to engage.

Posted by jdtennisusa 08/28/2009 at 07:39 PM

She did not impugn anyone's professionalism. That little gem was contrived by you solely by extrapolation.

It matters not to me whether you believe I (or anyone else) effectively rebutted your posts. As has been stated here before, Venus' statement was inocuous. However, you chose to attack it because you, obviously, don't like the person who made the statement.

If your "points" (such as they were) were strong enough on their merits, you would not have needed to attack Venus as you did with an ad hominem attack.

I hope that some of the more rewarding activities you have to engage in include someone telling you to quit the pontification and self-important rants.

Posted by Cosi 08/28/2009 at 10:02 PM

Mary Carillo coined the term "Big Babe Tennis" to describe the big-hitting style of play practiced by Venus, Serena, Sharapova, et al."

supposedly, she coined that term while watching Mary Pierce. And it's funny, most people moan about Big Babe tennis because to them it is not real tennis, just ball bashing. Whereas before so called big babe tennis the accumulation and perfection of many tennis SKILLS was the way a person played good tennis, not just hitting hard, harder hardest, like venus, Maria, and Serena. As we see Maria Serena and Venus and other younger versions struggle to hit volleys unless those volleys are right in front of them, rarely throw up a lob, or use much spin on the ball, and dump drop shots in the net three quarters of the time they try to hit them, one has to wonder who the REAL TENNIS PLAYERS really were/are. Regardless of what venus thinks real tennis is or why she said that (which I think is just cattiness toward Graf myself), she was extremely dismissive and rude to a whole lot of mnore than decent tennis players with her comment.

Posted by Cosi 08/28/2009 at 10:07 PM

What is implicit in her statement is that no one (other than Seles) at the time was able to rival Steffi's performance consistently."

what is implicit in her statement was that she said nobody that played Steffi Graf (until Monica) was a real tennis player or even playing tennis. That's a nasty thing to say, for alot of reasons. I'm sure she thought nothing of it and it rolled of her tongue without a moment's hesitation, Foot in Mouth disorder runs in her family.

Posted by Cosi 08/28/2009 at 10:11 PM

Posted by Evia 08/28/2009 @ 3:56 PM

I'm so happy that Venus and Serena exist, mainly because they enrage people that can't bear the joy that their success brings to them, and those who support them"

Evia, I can't be bothered to get "enraged" over the obnoxious comments of a spoiled,sometimes thoughtless and conceited tennis player, nor do I begrudge Venus her money or her success, I just like to call things as they are, and Venus said something pretty crummy and insulting, and it can't be denied no matter how hard you ad hom attack those who just state the facts.

Posted by jdtennisusa 08/28/2009 at 10:44 PM

There are plenty of ad hom attacks in your post. That is a fact. As to whether Venus is spoiled, thoughtless and conceited, that is a matter of opinion.

You and manuelsantanafan must be tired from carrying those heavy axes.

Posted by jdtennisusa 08/28/2009 at 10:50 PM

Oh, and one more thing, say hi to Sal for me.

Posted by Idris Kazzanah 08/29/2009 at 01:14 AM

That is a very nice post, actually a sincere saying that time, i think that was the best worded, most graceful interview i've seen. I could just imagine, and i love the detail. Its truly amazing and inspirational all taht Venus is and what she brings to the table as a human being and a role model for sooo many people. I'm really puttin all my money on her winning the Us Open, if she can avoid early round hiccups, take advantage of the opportunities with Serena in the Semi's and get to the final with anyone, either Dementiva, Sharopova, Dinara, so on so forth, even an Azeranka, i think she can defantley take any of them out, its jusst a matter of the early round whoas, and i think this'll set the tone for year 2 of the williams domination, (sheer domination i mean) becasue they did dominate the Us and WImby last yr as well. Just cant wait to c Venus excel, shes the most gracious and elegant player and person i've ever seen. All that you can ask for in a Human Being, and even more as a role model.

Posted by OK 08/29/2009 at 03:53 AM

Posted by manuelsantanafan 08/28/2009 @ 5:09 PM

"Cosi's statements, as well as mine (altho I could have been less viriolic), are completely supported by the pertinent facts.

Additionally, the above advice has much merit: "Go on a date. Read a book. Make a friend."

I, for one, would benefit from following said advice more often.

So, I'm finished posting on this particular thread."

Snort.

I guess not.

Posted by Cosi 08/29/2009 at 04:26 AM

Posted by jdtennisusa 08/28/2009 @ 10:44 PM

There are plenty of ad hom attacks in your post. That is a fact. As to whether Venus is spoiled, thoughtless and conceited, that is a matter of opinion.

You and manuelsantanafan must be tired from carrying those heavy axes."

Who are you talking to? If you are talking to me, it would b e nice if either you would quote me or say my name or something so I am sure it's me you are adressing. There are no Ad homs in my posts to you or posters, I don't make a habit of doing that, because it's against the rules and because I don't need to use AD Hom attacks to debate or support my position, and I'm not so upset or scared of somebody elses opinion that I will use ad hom just to shut them up, that's the typical reason people use ad hom and the posters here are no exception. yes it is a matter of opinion as to whether she is spoiled, sometimes thoughtless and conceited, it's my opinion, that's what we all do around here, give our opinions. As to your "ax" comment, just another weak Ad Hom type of comment, I guess you can't come up with anything else? I mean you could stop the Ad Hom and tell me why you think it's not rude or nasty to tell a whole generation of hard working tennis players they weren't even playing tennis... but that case would be nearly impossible for you to make.

Posted by jdtennisusa 08/29/2009 at 01:17 PM

Stated another way, you chose to interpret Venus comment negatively because it is clear you dislike her. One could reasonably interpret Venus' comment to mean that Steffi was the dominant player of her era. That is a FACT.

Cosi/Sal: The ad hom attacks in your post are directed at Venus. You can quibble about Venus' comments without resorting to calling HER names. Doing so does not buttress any of your so-called arguments.

I don't fear your posts or your rationale. Why should I? If it were anybody else making those comments, I'm sure you would have given them the benefit of the doubt. Your unwillingness to do so here clearly indicates to me that you are content to wield your ax.

Posted by jdtennisusa 08/29/2009 at 03:36 PM

One more thing, Cosi/Sal, is it rude or nasty to tell a whole generation of players they were dominated by one player?

Posted by manuelsantanafan 08/29/2009 at 04:13 PM

jdtennisusa:

Reiterating some of my previous comments:

By stating that only Graf and Seles were "playing tennis" during the Graf and Seles era, Venus Williams is also insinuating that Martina Hingis, Aranxta Sanchez Vicario, Gabriela Sabatini, Conchita Martinez, etc., were not playing tennis. Intimating that these four players were not playing tennis is ASININE.

Furthermore, V.Williams insults the professionalism of a host of female pro tennis players by stating:

" . . .[N]obody else [other than Seles] seemed to want to pick her game up to try to get to that [Steffi Graf's] level."

Numerous players not named Seles, who were far smaller and less powerful than Graf, worked extremely hard to prevail over Graf. Examples include Sanchez Vicario, Amanda Coetzer, and Kimiko Date. More often than not, they did not succeed. However, they were giving professional efforts, in some cases overachieving tremendously. For Venus Williams to say otherwise is also ASININE.

If V.Williams had overachieved like these three players, V.Williams probably would have won more majors than she has.

Hopefully, V.Williams will refrain, in the future, from casting unwarranted aspersions at a generation of players.

Posted by jdetennisusa 08/29/2009 at 06:58 PM

"By stating that only Graf and Seles were "playing tennis" during the Graf and Seles era, Venus Williams is also insinuating that Martina Hingis, Aranxta Sanchez Vicario, Gabriela Sabatini, Conchita Martinez, etc., were not playing tennis. Intimating that these four players were not playing tennis is ASININE."

This is why you cannot make a literal interpretation of Venus' statement. Of course, the other players were playing tennis--maybe not tennis that was good enough, but tennis nonetheless. That is why, I believe, that what Venus meant is that those other girls were being dominated and did not do enough to compensate for their shortcomings against the mighty Graf.

With such an interpretation, Venus' statement is not only innocuous, but also true!

Posted by manuelsantanafan 08/29/2009 at 07:54 PM

Amanda Coetzer and Aranxta Sanchez Vicario are considerably smaller and less powerful than Steffi Graf.

V.Williams states: " . . .[N]obody else [other than Seles] seemed to want to pick her game up to try to get to that [Steffi Graf's] level."

If V.Williams was correct, neither Coetzer or Sanchez Vicario would have beaten Graf.

Yet, Coetzer and Sanchez Vicario have multiple victories over Graf.

How did that happen?

Did Coetzer and Sanchez Vicario cheat?

Or were asinine and disrespectful comments emmanating from V.Williams' mouth?

jdtennisusa asserts: "This is why you cannot make a literal interpretation of Venus' statement."

Why? Are there special rules that apply to V.Williams that dont' apply to others?

Posted by jdtennisusa 08/30/2009 at 12:06 AM

You are applying the same rules I did to Venus' statement. The only difference is, you imbue her statements with a whole host of negative connotations.

Did Venus literally say that the other players were not professionals? What rules were you applying to interpret her statements when you said that she was impugning the professionalism of other players? Are there special rules that apply to you that don't apply to others?

Posted by manuelsantanafan 08/30/2009 at 12:59 AM

jdtennisusa's most noteworthy contribution to reading comprehension:

"[Y]ou cannot make a literal interpretation of Venus' statement."

I wonder if this approach lends itself to statements made by other members of the Williams family.

E.g., Serena Williams at the 2009 French Open, during her match against Maria Jose Martinez Sanchez, directed the following to her opponent:

“I’m going to get you in the locker room for that; you don’t know me."

How should one interpret Serena Williams' statement?

Literally?

Figuratively?

S.Williams trying to establish/reestablish her street cred with her fellow WTA players?

S.Williams being a lout?

Posted by yupper 08/30/2009 at 01:56 AM

Posted by manuelsantanafan 08/28/2009 @ 5:09 PM

"Cosi's statements, as well as mine (altho I could have been less viriolic), are completely supported by the pertinent facts.

Additionally, the above advice has much merit: "Go on a date. Read a book. Make a friend."

I, for one, would benefit from following said advice more often.

So, I'm finished posting on this particular thread."

Find a friend, read a book, or go on a date yet?

Posted by manuelsantanafan 08/30/2009 at 01:59 AM

yupper:

Thanks for your interest.

Two for three.

Posted by manuelsantanafan 08/30/2009 at 02:15 AM

Sampras throws up and gets a delay of game warning.

Posted by jdtennisusa 08/30/2009 at 11:16 AM

If you don't know that context counts when interepreting statements, you are more lost than I thought.

In your world, apparently, there's no room for metaphor, innuendo, hyperbole, humor, etc.--just the literal when it suits you to to attack someone.

I guess you think that I believe that you actually have an ax in your possession. What an absurdity!

Posted by jdtennisusa 08/30/2009 at 12:27 PM

"How should one interpret Serena Williams' statement?

Literally?

Figuratively?

S.Williams trying to establish/reestablish her street cred with her fellow WTA players?

S.Williams being a lout?"

No. However, one could reasonably consider you to be a lout based on your statements on this board.

Posted by manuelsantanafan 08/30/2009 at 07:14 PM

jdttennisusa:

You indicated that you have greater expertise than me concerning Williamspeak when you lectured me in the following fashion:

"[Y]ou cannot make a literal interpretation of Venus' statement."

When I read the following Serena Williams 2009 French Open comments, apparently directed at a fellow competitor, I was puzzled:

“I’m going to get you in the locker room for that; you don’t know me."

Due to my puzzlement regarding the meaning of S.Williams' statement and your proclaimed expertise in the field of analyzing Williamspeak, I deferred to you and requested your assistance.

Instead of mining your alleged wealth of knowledge concerning Williamspeak, you responded by insulting me, thereby violating site rules.

Let me try again.

What did Serena Williams mean when she stated:

“I’m going to get you in the locker room for that; you don’t know me."

Posted by jdtennisusa 08/30/2009 at 08:16 PM

Why don't you tell me what Serena Williams means by that statement and, more importantly, pray tell what did Serena Williams DO after she purportedly made such statement?

Do I need to provide context for you? Since I am not optimistic that you would be able to do so if left to your own devices, shall I provide more tools for you to interpret said statement correctly?

By the way, why bring up Serena's supposed statements when the article is about Venus? I know, I know, they look alike, don't they?

Posted by jdtennisusa 08/30/2009 at 08:26 PM

One more thing, manuelsantanafan, other than Monica Seles, was Steffi Graf the most dominant player of her generation? Yes or no?

If yes, does such an answer insult a whole generation of players who worked very hard to hone their tennis skills and play to the best of their abilities?

Posted by Cosi 08/31/2009 at 01:57 AM

Cosi/Sal: The ad hom attacks in your post are directed at Venus. You can quibble about Venus' comments without resorting to calling HER names. Doing so does not buttress any of your so-called arguments.

I don't fear your posts or your rationale. Why should I? If it were anybody else making those comments, I'm sure you would have given them the benefit of the doubt. Your unwillingness to do so here clearly indicates to me that you are content to wield your ax."

let me explain something that you don't seem to understand, here is the definition of an ad hom attack:

An ad hominem argument, also known as argumentum ad hominem (Latin: "argument to the person" or "argument against the person") consists of composing an argument about the validity of a premise with reference to a characteristic or belief of a person advocating the premise."

Since I am not and have never been arguing here with VENUS WILLIAMS, just how is it that you think I have done an ad hom attack on her? And you again have resorted to more ad hom attacks in this post, are you capable of doing anything but ad homs on this subject?

And may I ask, who is SAL? It sure isn't me.

Posted by Cosi 08/31/2009 at 02:01 AM

Posted by jdtennisusa 08/29/2009 @ 3:36 PM

One more thing, Cosi/Sal, is it rude or nasty to tell a whole generation of players they were dominated by one player?"

Not if it was true..... and don't change the subject simply because you have no rebuttal to the comments about it being nasty to say nearly an entire generation of tennis players were not even playing tennis... You are probably a polite person in real life, I'm sure you realize how crummy that sounded for Venus to say that and I'm sure you would never insult people that way yourself, sweet of you to defend Venus even when her warts are clearly showing, you must be a big fan.

Posted by Cosi 08/31/2009 at 02:02 AM

No. However, one could reasonably consider you to be a lout based on your statements on this board."

One more example of your ad homs! lol.. you're an expert!

Posted by jdtennisusa 09/01/2009 at 03:28 AM

Cosi, I have rebutted your comments--you just choose not to accept them. That's your problem, not mine.

With respect to your point regarding the ad homs, the bottom line is that you took issue with Venus' statement and resorted to calling her names. Your arguments (such as they are) should be able to stand on their own merits without resorting to such tactics. Why is it okay to attack Venus' character or call her names because you disagree with a statement she made? How is that different with from the so-called ad homs you accuse me of here?

To the extent that I am guilty of any ad hom attacks, I am simply mirroring your tactics here.

I think Venus' statement is just another way of saying the other players (with the exception of Seles) were simply dominated by Graf, period. If you don't consider such a statement to be an insult to a generation of players, you shouldn't take offense to Venus' statement unless, of course, there's something else at play here.

Posted by manuelsantanafan 09/01/2009 at 08:55 AM

jdtennisusa:

In addition to much other nonsense, your attempts at rebuttal contained the following gem:

"[Y]ou cannot make a literal interpretation of Venus' statement."

You have yet to explain why Venus Williams benefits from special rules, whereby, when she blurts out ignorant comments, those comments are not accorded common-sense interpretations

Free piece of advice for you. Don't ever try these type of ridiculous arguments in a courtroom. If representing yourself, you will be the proverbial "fool for a client." If, heaven forbid, you are allowed to become a member of a bar and are representing a client other than yourself, your type of irrational arguments would be deemed frivolous and would likely constitute malpractice.

Posted by jdtennisusa 09/01/2009 at 12:12 PM

Tell me, oh wise member of the bar, do you always have to take statements people make literally? Do you?

Why do you benefit from special rules? Do hyperbole, humor, metaphor, etc. exist in your world?

I offered a reasonable interpretation of Venus' statement, but you disagree with such an interpretation and deem your interpretation to be the "common-sense" one. I hope you don't bring this type of hubris to a court room, because I'm sure you lose more often than you (most likely a self-important, self-absorbed, glorified trial lawyer) would be willing to admit.

Posted by jdtennisusa 09/01/2009 at 12:15 PM

Oh and one more thing, manuelsantanfan, I am glad the "advice" you gave me was free. I certainly got what I paid for.

Posted by jdtennisusa 09/01/2009 at 12:22 PM

Manuealsantanfan, tell me wise member of the bar, do you take everything people say literally? When is it permissible not to take what people say literally? What about humor, hyperbole, metaphor, etc--do those things exist?

I offered a reasonable interpretation of Venus' statement with which you obviously disagree. Reasonable people can interpret her statement differently--as the posts on this board cleary indicate. This is not vitiated by your bombastic declaration that yours is a "common-sense" interpretation of her statement.

If you display the type of arrogance and hubris you have shown here, I am sure that you (most likely a self-important, glorified trial lawyer) lose more cases than you are willing to admit.

Posted by jdtennisusa 09/01/2009 at 12:25 PM

One more thing, manuelsantanafan, thank you for the free "advice"--I certainly got what I paid for!

Posted by Nancy J 09/01/2009 at 06:04 PM

Quote from Venus:

""Oh, they're better now. All the players. Much better. Back in the day, Steffi was the only one actually playing tennis, and nobody else seemed to want to pick her game up to try to get to that level - at least not until Monica (Seles) came along."
----------------------

What hubris from Ms Venus Williams! Although the underlying point that Venus makes is correct (in my opinion), the disrespect of her wording is NOT accurate.

Yes, the way that tennis (and nearly every other sport) has evolved in terms of technology, tactics, eating to success, and cross training (not to mention the big MONEY!) has made for a larger pool of stronger, larger, perhaps more naturally gifted athletes playing a faster and physically tougher sport than twenty years ago (although for me, not necessarily as visually or emotionally interesting).

One must also consider how the plight of young girls and athletics has changed. Now, girls take pride in athletic pursuit and muscles (hello, Serena!), and parents want to take advantage of their gifts to make money!

However, can anyone who truly loves this sport seriously say/write/think that players of the such as Evonne Goologong was not a tennis player? Chris Evert? Billie Jean King? Madge Court? Tracy Austin? How about Maureen Connolly? Althea Gibson? Maria Bueno? Suzanne Lenglen?!!!!! Many other ladies in the history of this illustrious sport! Of course, Martina Navratilova PLAYED WELL into her 30's against both Graf, and Seles -- both of whom had a great respect for Mighty Mart's ability as a player!

I wonder: if not for Gladys Heldman, the eight women and Billie Jean, along with the next generation player of ChrissieE attracting attention and the BIG BUCKS to the PROFESSIONAL game of womens tennis, would Richard Williams have been so hell-fire bent to produce and train two Hall of Famer black female champs??!!! Me thinks not! Venus, if not for the TENNIS players of the past, there would be no YOU!

I rushed home from work and stood cheering Venus' comeback last night in front of my TV set! I'll do so again (although hoping that Venus shows -- as Steffi Graf once said of Hingis -- "more respect of her elders!"

Posted by Nancy J 09/01/2009 at 06:16 PM

Oh, by the way. Yes, I know Venus claims a great respect for Billie Jean King as a person. It's both disappointing and surprising to me that Venus would insult tennis players of the past eras.

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