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Landlubber 08/27/2009 - 5:54 PM


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 lollipop 08/27/2009 at 06:13 PM

great post, Pete. I've always loved Venus's attitude towards the game.

Posted by Veruca Salt (360) 08/27/2009 at 06:19 PM

awesome interview pete.

Posted by Rosangel 08/27/2009 at 06:21 PM

Go Venus. My favourite WTA player by some margin. See, I may not agree with my friend Beckham when it comes to the ATP (in fact, there's no doubt about it - we don't agree), but I think we're all squared away when it comes to rooting for favoured ladies.

And yes, Venus is a very attractive woman - and she wears that mantle well.

Posted by beth 08/27/2009 at 06:27 PM

that was a nice read, Pete
Venus and I have something in common
seasickness -

so since we have now bonded over our shared ailment
i am definitely cheering for the older sis this year

go Venus !

Posted by avid sports fan aka "Sigh-Rena" 08/27/2009 at 06:34 PM

Nice read Pete.

Oh Vee did you have to pull this big sis charm again? The last time I cheered for you against ReRe, you won at Wimbledon 08. I will cheer for you only up till the SF ;-)

Seriously, I like Vee attitude towards to the game although it is difficult to see that competitive fire even though it is there. So it is good to read this part from her.

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

Posted by mw 08/27/2009 at 06:41 PM

Very nice article Pete. I love Venus and hope she does well this year at the Open.

I also agree with her as far as how the game has changed since Steffi Graf. It's interesting to see her take on the game.

Posted by aussiemarg [Madame President in Comma Rehab for 2009] 08/27/2009 at 06:48 PM

Great post Pete,

Venus to me is one of the ultimate champions.

She will go down I am sure as of the great female athletes in the history of our game.She always is gracious in defeat.

A great ambassador for the game.

Posted by manuelsantanafan 08/27/2009 at 06:48 PM

Venus says:

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 -

Wonder what day V.Williams is discussing.

Martina Navratilova's day? V.Williams certainly hasn't come close to having the career Navratilova had. Furthermore, V.Williams has not even approached Navratilova's durability and long-term consistency of high level play.

Martina Hingis' day? That would be surprising, cuz Hingis has a winning record against V.Williams, the self-described bringer of the "new era."

Posted by Love&Love 08/27/2009 at 06:59 PM

Hi,first time poster,long time lurker;)Loved the article Pete,Go Venus!!!ManuelSantanafan,and tell me,while Venus is still winning Grand Slams,Martina is...where?She tried to make a comeback and couldn't handle the "new era".You can keep making negative comments and she'll keep winning slams;)

Posted by manuelsantanafan 08/27/2009 at 07:36 PM


Ya think the bogus drug suspension Hingis suffered might explain where she has been.

Bottom line. Hingis has a winning record against V.Williams, won far more tournaments than did V.Williams, and spent far more weeks as No. 1 than did V.Williams.

And Hingis did all this despite being much shorter than much less powerfull than V.Williams.

By the way, if "new era" V.Williams had trained as hard and consistently as Margaret Smith Court and Chris Evert, "new era" Williams might have come close to having the careers Smith Court and Chris Evert have had.

V.Williams is a very good tennis player, obviously. As far as being an accurate tennis historian, V.Williams leaves much to be desired.

Posted by Andrew Miller 08/27/2009 at 07:38 PM

Mr. Bodo! Are the Williams sisters better prepared - competition wise - because they also play doubles?

I read in the New Yorker about the Bryan twins and the argument was that they are among the last "generalists" on tour - rather than singles "specialists".

Posted by GOD 08/27/2009 at 07:58 PM

Dearest Pete
Your recent Federer stuff has been very entertaining. Us Fedophiles knew you'd eventually come around. Fortunately, with Madrid Roger came around too. Back in April I said to a friend, " He should just forget the clay and blow off the whole season, get his ass over to Wimbledon pronto and work on getting that back." If he followed my advice he would have missed his finest hour. So as always I, GOD, know nothing and less isn't more. As for Venus it's amazing to see how she's flowered with age. Not too long ago a Venus and Maria match was a real beauty and the beast proposition. She was a swan all along it would seem. Finally, as always, I would like to now take credit for creating Sweet Caroline Wozniacki and admit to being well-pleased with my labors!
Toodles, GOD

Posted by Samantha Elin, awaiting the return of Justine. 08/27/2009 at 08:03 PM

Love this article on Venus, one of my favorite player. I have to say I completely disagree with Manuelsantanafan, when did we start determining who was the better player by using the smaller tournaments and the world's#1? Players are judged by their singles slams total, Venus won 7. Hingis won 5. Roger was just crowned the GOAT for one simple fact, he has more slams then Sampras, nobody talked about #1 or smaller tournaments. Nobody talked about his H2H against Nadal. It's the slams and we don't get to change the rules in the middle of the game. Nor do we get to change the rules because we like one player better than the other. Also, would disagree that a five time Wimbledon chammpions leaving much to be desired. Venus haa a great career and unfournately Hingis is no longer playing so she can't exceed the slam number of Venus. The only thing I agree with about Manuelsantana's post is that Hingis got a raw deal. Sorry, but when 5 slams is greater than 7, then I'll agree Hingis was better.Go Venus. P.S. until Justine exceeds Serena's 11GS, Serena will be the better player, and I don't care how many singles titles Justine owns, or how much longer Justine was at world's #1, or how much more I like her.

Posted by Samantha Elin, awaiting the return of Justine. 08/27/2009 at 08:09 PM

Should read leaves much to be desired. and Venus has a great career.

Posted by thebigapple 08/27/2009 at 08:10 PM

GOD has a friend!! Is it the Holy Spirit?

We know it is not the double horned, fire breathing, fun guy with the loud party going on in the hot room down below.

Is the friend that guy that used appear on Star Stek and mess with the Enterprise. I forgot his name. But GOD you should know. Is it him? Does he call you GOD? Or do you have a nickname...

Posted by Samantha Elin, awaiting the return of Justine. 08/27/2009 at 08:12 PM

Manuelsantanafan, why was Roger declared the GOAT? Here's my view on it, One reason and one reason only, his slams were greater then Sampras.

Posted by Love&Love 08/27/2009 at 08:15 PM

Manuelsantanafan,If i can recall,Hingis had problems before the drug suspension.People sure do have selective memories=P Comparing eras is kinda pointless,the game has changed so much,athletes are stronger and faster.If you put Venus against Chris Evert,who do you think wins 9 out of 10 times?I think Venus would crush her;)Venus is still here and Hingis is not.I'm only counting slam titles and Venus is not done winning those or tour titles yet,so just wait until she retires before you go comparing stats and wins.Have a nice night/day;)

Posted by Samantha Elin, awaiting the return of Justine. 08/27/2009 at 08:15 PM

God loves Caro. God in Caro's native lanuage which is my own, Tack, du er den bedste, God. LOL!

Posted by GOD 08/27/2009 at 08:17 PM

You are aptly named, Big Apple. You are a huge, sprawling mess that conceals many things. I know nothing of this Star Trek about which you speak. Must be one of Satan's efforts. I ignore that measely little twerp at all times and suggest you do the same. Remember.....there is only Roger!

Posted by thebigapple 08/27/2009 at 08:20 PM

What kind of GOD does not know Star Trek. You are sorely testing my faith. And I am no Job.

Posted by manuelsantanafan 08/27/2009 at 08:21 PM


What I object to is Venus Williams insulting tennis greats like Hingis, especially when the insults are warranted by facts.

For V.Williams to state that players like Hingis, Sanchez Vicario, etc. were NOT PLAYING TENNIS, constitutes Stupidity of the highest order.

So Samantha, if you want to defend idiotic statements, I won't try to stop you.

However, doing so won't do anything to promote your credibility.

Posted by Samantha Elin, awaiting the return of Justine. 08/27/2009 at 08:21 PM

Love&Love, another difference between them is that at the age of 18, Hingis was done winning slams, Venus in her late twenties is still winning them. Her last at age 28, just a year ago. Taking nothing away from Hingis she was a great champion, but I don't feel the fact support was the poster was trying to show.

Posted by GOD 08/27/2009 at 08:22 PM

As for you my dearest Samantha.....the heart flutters whilst the mind does impossible equations....see you in Heaven my darling!

Posted by Samantha Elin, awaiting the return of Justine. 08/27/2009 at 08:24 PM

Manuelsantanafan, please point out to me in my post where I said I supported what Venus said or didn't say. I mentioned nothing about that I simply argued that based on the criterias we use to judge players in tennis, Hingis couldn't be considered the better player.

Posted by Cosi 08/27/2009 at 08:26 PM

So, Venus is basically saying that Steffi Graf and Moncia Seles achievements are nothing because none of the people they played could even play tennis? She literally said none of Steffi's competitors were even playing tennis. How charming of her.... NOT!
one thing is for sure, she knows she will NEVER get close to Steffi's record in slams and Steffi's level of dominance in her sport, so no wonder she dismisses Steffi's era and competition, typical sour grapes. I guess she also forgot that MARTINA NAVRATILOVA is the one who really promoted fitness and was incredibly FIT, and she was around before the girls of today... Why do people always coo and sigh about this massive egotist as if she is so "nice" she's almost never nice, she's always saying things to rip other people down and elevate herself in some way, just like she did in this interview, rip down the greatest female tennis player in history in a subtle round about way, and try and elevate herself as playing in a "much better era of tennis" which in some ways is a crock. Her era of tennis, other than her sister, Justine, and Maria is a very weak era in alot of ways, and Justine and Maria and SErena were never all fit and present at the same time for any extended periods.

Posted by Samantha Elin, awaiting the return of Justine. 08/27/2009 at 08:26 PM

God, you're to much, you're a blast, I can't stop laughing. Glad you love Caro, I have seen her play many times in Denmark and in my own country of Sweden. She is lovely, very sweet.

Posted by GOD 08/27/2009 at 08:26 PM

Bad television?....As your GOD I am above such things.....unlike Satan who rigged Wimbledon in 1966! Some punk won that year....what was his name?

Posted by GOD 08/27/2009 at 08:29 PM

Big Apple, be not in despair for I am with you always and bring you many good things. I gave you Roger and gave him Mirka. I gave Miss Wozniacki a sweet disposition but alas it was Satan who gave Stepanek that face, ugh!

Posted by thebigapple 08/27/2009 at 08:30 PM


Good GOD!

Posted by carnap - PTSD from screaming Mimis 08/27/2009 at 08:31 PM

While everyone is arguing Vee vs Hingis et alii, Amelis and Sveta are smoking up the court.

Posted by carnap - PTSD from screaming Mimis 08/27/2009 at 08:32 PM

make that Amelie

Posted by Cosi 08/27/2009 at 08:32 PM

Maybe I was too hard on Venus, this could be something her daddy put into her head "Venus honey, don't you worry how many more slams Chris Evert and Steffi Graf have than you, or that their stats of winning and being ranked number one blow yours away even when you are nearly thirty years old, Chris is a white (racial slur) that can't hit a ball and Steffi Graf didn't even play against any real tennis players".. now the first line we all know Richard Williams did say once, wouldn't surprise me if he said the second idea as well and that's where Venus got it....for her to say something like that about Steffi Graf is ubelievable disrespectful, but she's certainly not ever worried about being disrespectful it seems to come easy for Miss Smug Sister.

Posted by Samantha Elin, awaiting the return of Justine. 08/27/2009 at 08:33 PM

LOL GOD! I'm watching Carnap.

Posted by carnap - PTSD from screaming Mimis 08/27/2009 at 08:35 PM

Stop looking at me!! I see dead people.

Posted by carnap - PTSD from screaming Mimis 08/27/2009 at 08:35 PM

oh, you're watching them, not me. WHEW

Posted by Samantha Elin, awaiting the return of Justine. 08/27/2009 at 08:36 PM

Wow Cosi, is the racial stuff needed?? Venus isn't responsible for anything her father says or does unless you believe in collective guilt which I sure don't.

Posted by Cosi 08/27/2009 at 08:41 PM

Posted by Samantha Elin, awaiting the return of Justine. 08/27/2009 @ 8:36 PM

Wow Cosi, is the racial stuff needed?? Venus isn't responsible for anything her father says or does unless you believe in collective guilt which I sure don't."

I didn't use any racial stuff, just alluded to somebody else using it, Venus is only responsible for what she says, and as you can see if you have been reading her interviews for the past several years and read the one posted above, what she often says is pretty much the same insulting ego boosting drivel that her father said about other tennis players, she just does it in a more subtle way. As they say, often times, the fruit doesn't fall far from the tree.

Posted by GOD 08/27/2009 at 08:41 PM

One last profound insight before I go. In a shocking twist of lemon Vincent Spadea who is apparently now sometimes afraid of ya will win the US Open! Place your wagers now! GOD knows these things!

Posted by GOD 08/27/2009 at 08:43 PM

I mean it man!

Posted by Cayman Karen 08/27/2009 at 08:43 PM

Venus Williams - the greatest tennis player ever - my favourite tennis player and a woman with a great deal of class and grace. She does not make a whole lot of noise but she accomplishes a lot by walking softly and speaking slowly. Love her to death and much as I love Serena as well I hope she takes the USO this year.
I dont care about champions past or champions to come. Every player has their era. Every player brought their own strenghts and distinctive styles to tennis. The game has changed from wooden racquets to titanium, from slicing and dicing to power beyond measure. As a tennis fan I can appreciate all eras. I saw Graf play for the first time when she played at the exo against Clijsters and I was impressed. I was also impressed by Hingis especially in her match against girls who were bigger and hit harder than her. I am impressed with Serena and her capacity to dictate play off the first ball. I am impressed with Sharapova and her never say die attitude (different from mental strength). I am impressed with Dinara and Jelena and their ability to withstand criticism from the multitude and continue to ply their craft. I am impressed with Venus who is a successful businesswoman and profesional athlete who still has a love and yearning for the game.

I could give 2 hoots about who is the greatest of all time, as no such person exists. Wish that some of us here would recognise that fact.

Posted by manuelsantanafan 08/27/2009 at 08:44 PM


According to my records; winners of 1966 Wimbledon trophies include Billie Jean King, Maria Bueno, Nancy Richie, John Newcombe, and Ken Fletcher.

That you found any of them to be a punk, surprises.

But you are God and I only believe I am.

Btw, I've never argued that Hingis was a better singles player than either V.Williams or Serena Williams. I actually believe that the the accomplishments of all three are especially impressive considering either their less than impressive physical gifts (Hingis) or their less than ideal socio-economic backgrounds (the Williams Sisters). Compton, CA isn't known for being a tennis hotbed.

Posted by Samantha Elin, awaiting the return of Justine. 08/27/2009 at 08:50 PM

"Steffi was the only one actually playing tennis and nobody else wanted to pick her game up to try and get it to that level." Now English mayn't be my first lanuage, but even I understand that NO WHERE in this quote is an insult. In fact, she's praising Graff. But hey Cosi, if you say it's an insult to say that someone(Graff) is playing at a high level then I get it is. Go figure! Hey if anybody wants to say the same thing about Caro and Justine, PLEASE do.

Posted by GOD 08/27/2009 at 08:51 PM

Dearest Not A CarloSantanaFan
It's good that you recognize the difference between us. There is hope for you yet young man! As for Manuel he sold his soul 43 years ago and there is simply nothing that can be done about it now. Sorry, but live life to the fullest, go for the gusto and then retire with leg cramps like any self-respecting Spaniard! That is all.........

Posted by Samantha Elin, awaiting the return of Justine. 08/27/2009 at 08:54 PM

Manuelsantanafan, agreed, both Hingis and the Williamses have achieved alot. It was a shame that Hingis was robbed of her career. It's a disgrace what happened to her. And I subcribe to the Rob Laver belief that you can't compare players over era when there is a large gap in the eras they played in.

Posted by Samantha Elin, awaiting the return of Justine. 08/27/2009 at 08:58 PM

Could anyone whose native lanuage is English, please show me in Venus's quote above where she insult either Hingis or Graff?? I don't see in Venus's reply where she specifically mention Hingis???

Posted by Cosi 08/27/2009 at 09:01 PM

"Steffi was the only one actually playing tennis"

Yeah Samantha, maybe your reading comprehension needs a tweak, this is her exact QUOTE as you posted, so basically Venus said that Martina Hingis, Conchita Martinez, Gabby Sabatini, Arantxa Sanchez and Jennifer Capriati, to just mention a few,were not ACTUALLY PLAYING TENNIS.. so if Steffi's opponents were not playing tennis, then how EASY for Steffi to be such a champ, right? Very disrespectful, not only to Steffi, but to several real TENNIS PLAYERS from the past. Could anybody imagine Roger federer saying that nobody in Rod Laver's era was really playing tennis? OMG the furor would be instant and incredible. But he would never say that because he's a gracious man who respects other tennis players,I can't say the same about Venus Williams. I think our writers would have a field day if Roger OR Rafa OR DJokovic or Murray said this too about players from a different era, but I think they turn to Sycophants instead of writers when it comes to Venus and her sis sometimes. Since Venus thinks Arantxha wasn't really playing tennis, we might want to ask her why she lost to her

Posted by Cosi 08/27/2009 at 09:02 PM

Posted by Samantha Elin, awaiting the return of Justine. 08/27/2009 @ 8:58 PM

Could anyone whose native lanuage is English, please show me in Venus's quote above where she insult either Hingis or Graff?? I don't see in Venus's reply where she specifically mention Hingis???"

I have twice, but you aren't going to see what you don't want to no need to keep asking about what you don't want to admit or see.

Posted by Samantha Elin, awaiting the return of Justine. 08/27/2009 at 09:03 PM

Cosi, explain to me how that is an insult to Graff which you claimed. No, maybe your reading comprehension need a tweak.

Posted by Samantha Elin, awaiting the return of Justine. 08/27/2009 at 09:05 PM

Cosi, with all due respect, I think you are reading far too much into the quote, mentioning names that Venus never mentioned. I think that is calling putting words into a person mouth which they didn't say. Thank you very much.

Posted by Samantha Elin, awaiting the return of Justine. 08/27/2009 at 09:06 PM

This is going around in circle so I'm done, come on Amelie. Kom nu, Amelie.

Posted by Samantha Elin, awaiting the return of Justine. 08/27/2009 at 09:07 PM

Amelie of all the players reminds me the most of Justine, beautiful backhand.

Posted by GOD 08/27/2009 at 09:08 PM

Ladies, ladies, either make up and be friendly or enact a scene that would be best left to another site. If you vote for the latter please inform me as I would love to see that. Allah be praised!

Posted by Cosi 08/27/2009 at 09:09 PM

Samantha, I think I understood the quote completely, when you say "nobody else was even playing tennis" I think that's EXACTLY WHAT YOU MEAN, what is it about that quote that you can't comprehend, you think that is a compliment to anybody? It's an insult to everybody, it's an insult to anybody who is dominating a field of people who "Aren't even playing tennis" and to the field you say "isn't even playing tennis"... Gee, can't make it much more clear.

Posted by Samantha Elin, awaiting the return of Justine. 08/27/2009 at 09:11 PM

One last time, HOW IS IT AN INSULT TO GRAFF which you claimed?? Come on Amelie, hold serve.

Posted by Samantha Elin, awaiting the return of Justine. 08/27/2009 at 09:13 PM

Cosi, let's both move on and agree to disagree. You view it as an insult to Graff, I don't. Again agree to disagree. God, LOL.

Posted by Cosi 08/27/2009 at 09:13 PM

Posted by Samantha Elin, awaiting the return of Justine. 08/27/2009 @ 9:11 PM

One last time, HOW IS IT AN INSULT TO GRAFF which you claimed?? Come on Amelie, hold serve."

LOL Figure it out.. tired of "splaining" it to you...

Posted by GOD 08/27/2009 at 09:14 PM

PEOPLE.....I bring GOOD news......Saint Roger will be on CBS Early Morning Show tomorrow. Still, I have to wonder if this new US Open outfit is a sign that Rog has signed on with the devil. As always it ain't easy being GOD.....Seacrest Out!

Posted by Samantha Elin, awaiting the return of Justine. 08/27/2009 at 09:14 PM

Fight Amelie fight! Kom igen!!

Posted by Samantha Elin, awaiting the return of Justine. 08/27/2009 at 09:17 PM

You win Cosi, it's definetly an insult to say someone is playing at the highest level and nobody can match them. Whew!! God, can you do something to help Amelie out tonight?

Posted by Cosi 08/27/2009 at 09:19 PM

Posted by Samantha Elin, awaiting the return of Justine. 08/27/2009 @ 9:13 PM

Cosi, let's both move on and agree to disagree. You view it as an insult to Graff, I don't. Again agree to disagree. God, LOL."

Yes let us move on, to this perhaps,her last name is GRAF, not GRAFF, just an FYI for you.I figured you would want to get the name of the world's most successful and greatest female tennis player right.

Posted by ralph 08/27/2009 at 09:20 PM

Wonderful post. Venus is my favorite WTA player. Wishing she wins her 8th Slam September 12. Good luck Venus

Posted by Samantha Elin, awaiting the return of Justine. 08/27/2009 at 09:25 PM

God, sehr gut. Thank you Cosi. I love Amelie and would love to see her get back her game. God is on fire tonight.

Posted by GOD 08/27/2009 at 09:29 PM

My last post for this evening is simply this.....Maybe I'm not GOD....maybe I'm a fairly successful Swiss Tennis Pro having a laugh....I'll leave you now to discuss this and other things as you wish.....with love, GOD......or......?

Posted by GOD 08/27/2009 at 09:30 PM

p.s.......I'm not Stan

Posted by Samantha Elin, awaiting the return of Justine. 08/27/2009 at 09:31 PM

Allez Amelie!

Posted by thebigaaple 08/27/2009 at 09:32 PM

GOD you are the best! On fire.

Posted by Samantha Elin, awaiting the return of Justine. 08/27/2009 at 09:32 PM

Ja! Ja! Amelie break, now hold. God, LOL!

Posted by thrbigaaple 08/27/2009 at 09:37 PM

I really think this GOD character could be Federer. He's got the ego for it.

Posted by thebigapple 08/27/2009 at 09:42 PM

Please get a different name...I did not write 9:37pm.

What is the matter with you???

Posted by GOD 08/27/2009 at 09:46 PM

Satan did it!

Posted by Samantha Elin, awaiting the return of Justine. 08/27/2009 at 09:49 PM

God Amelie won tonight. Allez Amelie!

Posted by Cosi 08/27/2009 at 09:52 PM

Mods, are you asleep? This used to be called a "family friendly site".... maybe it has changed.

You're welcome Samantha.

Posted by stella 08/27/2009 at 09:57 PM

hello, I want to go to US Open. Can anyone tell which day is Nadal playing his match? I only want to see him. thanks!

Posted by thebiggestapple 08/27/2009 at 10:01 PM

I'm reeling! Bodo didn't just notice what Venus was wearing, he knows the term 'hip huggers.' That sounds so poofy, I think Federer must be writing for Bodo. But seriously, Bodo's a macho man, we get it.
(I'm only baiting because the about-face turn Bodo did between ragging on Federer's image as effete then proclaiming him "stud" -- as if it were some new revelation - was so self-serving.)

I can see how Venus' quote can come across as less than flattering to women's tennis. But there's also some truth that the game, like the men's, has gotten more athletic and competitive in the last 10 years.

Posted by thebiggestapple 08/27/2009 at 10:17 PM

Stella, I don't think the specific order of play is not set yet. But keep checking, and maybe the fan guide from SI might help.

Posted by jb (Go Smiley Fed!!!) 08/27/2009 at 10:48 PM

Pete - i really enjoyed this one! You SHOULD do more of these non-tennis thingys!

I’ve always liked Venus, just love how she moves and carries herself on and off the court. I thoroughly enjoyed the glimpse of the non-competative, Venus you were able to give us. She’s really grown from a gangly athletic girl to a such a lovely woman.

Posted by Jonathon 08/27/2009 at 10:55 PM

"instead of water." ?


Posted by Jenn 08/27/2009 at 10:59 PM

I really enjoyed this article, Pete! Sounds like it was well worth it for you to go out to this sponsor photo op. Venus always comes across as very intelligent, thoughtful and sincere. She has been such a great champion. I was just watching footage of her in her beads the first time she made the US Open final (I was there for that match). Hard to believe she is 29 now! I wonder how much longer she will play.

Posted by Syd 08/27/2009 at 11:00 PM


Like this post. Too bad about Venus not liking the water though, because the view of the city at dusk when you're on the East River coming back from Hell's Gate is out of this world.

Posted by Master Ace 08/27/2009 at 11:04 PM

Good questions to ask Venus. And, Venus gave some good answers. Hope you have a chance to interview again in a relaxed environment and it does pay off to attend fashion events once in a while.

Posted by V 08/27/2009 at 11:15 PM

"Maybe I should spend more time at these sponsor things"?
As if the tennis journalism isn't a "sponsor thing" in another form.

Posted by Rsquared 08/27/2009 at 11:20 PM

No insult in Venus's observations at all. One or two here are clutching at straws or have no appreciation for hyperbole. Venus's basic point is beyond reproach: athleticism has become a more integral part of the game over the years and as a result the performance level of its players has improved. That's a pretty uncontroversial claim for any student of the game and applies equally to the men's side. How simple is that?

Some tennis watchers just manufacture controversy at the mere mention of a William sister. The dead-giveaway is how personal their invective quickly becomes. Sooooo transparent. Now back to our regularly scheduled program.

Posted by Annie (Vamos Heavenly Creature) 08/27/2009 at 11:41 PM

pete, great article and venus comes across as a grounded (clearly that's where she wants to stay) and lovely person. She is by far my favorite WS. Glad they're playing dubs together.

Posted by Annie (Vamos Heavenly Creature) 08/27/2009 at 11:45 PM

And i think a poster mixed up pete's remark with one of GOD's. Because of her aversion to seasickness, he's glad the open is played on terra firma than on a floating dock or aircraft carrier.

Posted by izidane 08/27/2009 at 11:49 PM

Thanks for this Pete.
Venus is my fav. WTA player out there, even with the heartbreak she doles out every now and then to her fans.

'Because I hate losing. Losing is the first - and last - wall I hit.'
Wonderful to hear this and hope she comes out swinging next week. Sometimes I don't blame them for being cagey with their answers at all, she was forthright today and gave her opinion today.

She was wearing 'hip-hugger tights'..Oh Pete, you fashionista!
And yes, she is lovely too.

Posted by Corrie 08/27/2009 at 11:54 PM

I don't think Venus meant any insult but she left out an awful lot of good players by mentioning Steffi only, then Seles.

For the first time in recorded history, I semi agree with MSF - about Hingis. She was severely shackled by her lack of height and power but she managed to keep beating Venus. But I'm biased - I was a big fan of Hingis' variety, and as a fun player to watch. I still don't think there's anyone quite as good as her in that respect, only Henin came close.

Posted by manuelsantanafan 08/28/2009 at 12:03 AM

Anyone who says that Martina Hingis, Aranxta Sanchez Vicario, Gabriela Sabatini, Conchita Martinez, etc., were not playing tennis is an ASS.

No controversy.

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.

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 Andrew Miller 08/28/2009 at 12:48 AM

"Doubles makes the Williams sisters better players". They simply play more tennis, when it matters most.

Serena Williams wins the Aus Open singles and Wimbledon singles in 2009.

(She gets her additional match practice in the doubles rounds, which she also wins with her sister Venus - at both events).

Some of the best players do not play doubles, to their detriment.

The very best players get something from the doubles.

Posted by Pat frm Philippines 08/28/2009 at 12:50 AM

hi manuelsantana...
i think venus doesn't want to be mean to the other great athletes as aranxta, gabriela or conchita...

she just pointed out how steffi and monica was leading their generation...and more to that, it isn't venus's job to praise aranxta, gabriela or conchita on their tennis achievements...more rightly she didn't say anything rude to them basing on her interview...

to read it more profoundly...venus was saying 'better'...means, playing tennis better than clearly venus's way of saying only steffi and monica had played the better tennis is mostly true for only these two women had accumulated 22 and 9 slams respectively....

and lastly i love venus that much...pls don't combine venus with disrespect...she deserves more respect than you accord to her////

Posted by Pat frm Philippines 08/28/2009 at 12:51 AM

agreed andrew...

Posted by Pat frm Philippines 08/28/2009 at 12:56 AM

just about the us open draw????

vee got the most testy draw...she had to face kim clijsters and marion on her way to the fourth round...elena had also a tougher she could meet shrieky on her way to the fourth round and face the dangerous jie zheng for a place in the quarters...

hahahah...and for serena, THE FIRST WEEK IS A BIT testy for her, she could get sam stosur, daniela hantuchova and sybille bammer before she reaches the for a tough draw?...

Posted by Cosi 08/28/2009 at 02:04 AM

MSF, I have to note this because it probably won't happen too often, but we are in complete agreement, you said it all with your post at 12:03. You're darned right she insulted a whole generation of players, and absolutely many of those pro TENNIS PLAYERS tried to attack Graf's game and break her down, but the problem was, Graf was too good for them to do it most of the time. Venus needs to take lessons in how to be less of a jerk with some of her offhand comments, we heartily agree.

Posted by sblily (Meh > Wheeeeeeeee!!!/Vamos Maymo!) 08/28/2009 at 02:18 AM

She’s really grown from a gangly athletic girl to a such a lovely woman.

WORD. Just when I think that Miss Vee couldn't get any more awesome, I read something like this piece that makes me appreciate her attitude and bearing that much more.

Here's a blast from the past -- an SI article from 1991 written about 10-year old Venus.

I especially love this description of her:

"The object of all this attention weighs 80 pounds and measures 64 inches -- the majority of which is located in the space between her waist and her ankles. She wears her hair in braids that are sometimes cornrowed and sometimes left dangling from various parts of her head. She is a straight-A student in the fifth grade and occasionally leaves her sweater at the playground. She likes playing soccer, tag and hide-and-seek with her four sisters. When she grows up, she wants to be -- in order of preference -- a tennis player, an archaeologist or an astronaut."

Posted by jewell - Make tea, not war. 08/28/2009 at 02:32 AM

Morning, everyone. :)

Fun read, Pete - I loved this: "No, and I'll tell you why. Because I hate losing. Losing is the first - and last - wall I hit."

I guess the tennis history in Venus's head is a little simplified, but, so what? She's making a brief response to a question she might not have been prepared for. Maybe she doesn't have the entire history of the WTA right at her fingertips, but, I don't think it makes her disrespectful or ignorant or anything else. She was trying to summarise the history in terms of eras, incredibly quickly.

And if she thinks that she and Serena ushered in a new era, well, I'm not going to disagree, and even if I did - that attitude is probably partly what's got them both where they are today, no? Not a bad thing in my book. Think we take all this stuff *far* too seriously at times.

Anyway, I also loved her praise for the current WTA. :) No credit for that one? LOL.

Posted by mcakron 08/28/2009 at 08:05 AM

Venus Williams joins TW's weak-era debates! A few words of advice, Venus. You'll also need a GOAT candidate, have to choose a side in the Fedal Civil War, and also know your strict clay-court specialists of the given eras discussed. Won't hurt either if you have an opinion on how Wimbledon's grass has changed over the years. Anyway, welcome.

Posted by Master Ace 08/28/2009 at 08:42 AM

Manuelsantana Fan,
Remember that game where Steffi and Arantxa had at the finals of 1995 Wimbledon where one game lasted almost 30 minutes as it had a little of everything. That game has to be the best one in WTA's history.

Posted by TennisFan2 08/28/2009 at 08:46 AM

sbiliy, thanks for sharing the link to the '91 Venus article. I very much enjoyed reading that one!

Pete, I love your "Landlubber" article. I've been a fan of Vee and Serena since they hit the professional scene...can't tell you how many negative comments I've heard over the years from other tennis "fans" about them, their game, their father, etc...IMO they've been fabulous for women's tennis and tennis in general.

"formidable" and "awfully pretty" - fantastic!

Posted by Master Ace 08/28/2009 at 09:05 AM

Should have asked her do she read TennisWorld? I doubt it but could not hurt to ask.

Posted by OK 08/28/2009 at 09:15 AM

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


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.

Posted by Kenneth 08/28/2009 at 09:27 AM

Venus has had the not-so-good furtune of having to share her slam wins with her sister. If not for Serena (or if you're a Serena fan, if not for Venus), Venus is a powerhouse of slams.

Funny how every poseter uptop whose pissed about Venus' comments, conveniently leave out this phrase..."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..."

Last I checked, all those players named came AFTER Seles starting beating up on Graf, not before. Graf's record against her MAJOR contemporaries, starting with Navratilova:

Graf v: Navratilova 9-9
v: AS Vicario 28-8
v: J Capriati 10-1
v: M Seles 10-5
v: C Evert 7-6
v: C Martinez 13-1
v: S Williams 1-1
v: V Williams 3-2
V: M Hingis 7-2

Make your own decisions from that, lol. Seems pretty fclear to me.

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