London Olympic Games 2012

Monday, June 27, 2011

Girl Power gone mad at Wimbledon as women serve up snoring Saturday

Girl Power gone mad at Wimbledon as women serve up snoring Saturday

Beyoncé will not get away with a 45 minute set when she headlines Glastonbury tonight.

Kelly Smith will not be playing 30 minutes each way in England's opening game of the womens' football World Cup, against Mexico tomorrow.

Tennis is a little different.

Men and women have the same prize money, but different shift patterns.

Serena Williams, Maria Sharapova and top seed Caroline Wosniacki, leading contenders for Wimbledon's £1.1million winners' cheque, each lost precisely five games yesterday.

It may be politically incorrect to support the august members of the All england Club's order of Play Committee, but they have a point.

In terms of entertainment, the womens' game lacks natural rivalries, compelling storylines, and recognisable names.

Complaints about lack of exposure on Wimbledon's show courts do not really stack up.

Ironically, those rallying behind the mildewed flags of past sex discrimination battles are doing Serena a disservice.

The diversion unintentionally belittles her spirit, the resolve required to win a third successive Wimbledon singles title after a 49-week absence.

The background to her attempt, which gathered momentum with a 6-3 6-2 win over maria Kirilenko, is no less compelling for its sudden familiarity.

Two scars, a blemish on the inside of her left foot, and an ugly weal across the top of her right, are the legacy from an accident in a munich restaurant, four days after Wimbledon last year.

Two operations followed, but were not as remotely traumatic as the "near death experience" of finding blood clots on both lungs.

Serena must still inject herself with anti-coagulant before any flight.

even operating at 60 per cent capacity, she has the athleticism, self-belief, and strength of serve to make her a legitimate contender.

She said: "I wouldn't bet against me. I'm here, I'm alive, and I don't take any moment for granted."

Her serve was, on average 20 mph faster than that of Kirilenko, an identikit russian making her eighth Wimbledon appearance at the ripe old age of 24. The ball sounds so much crisper when it leaves her racquet. once Serena acquires match sharpness, it will be all over for the ovas.

She has won 13 Grand Slam titles, only two fewer than the other 127 members of the original draw.

Apart from the Williams sisters, Sharapova is the only active member of the WTA tour to have won Wimbledon.

She's a mini corporation, with annual income of £20m.

Nice work if you can get it, when the likes of Klara Zakopalova, beaten 6-2 6-3 yesterday, do not detain her unduly.

Wozniacki was similarly untroubled against Jarmila Gajdosova. The Centre Court provided the statutory standing ovation - but this was in honour of servicemen, sitting in the royal box.

The search for other heroines is similarly dispiriting.

Victoria Azarenka, the fourth seed, is apparently big in Minsk. She has an inconsistent serve and sounds like Minnie Mouse succumbing to torture.

It doesn't take much imagination to envisage Serena and Venus facing each other in Saturday's final, for the third time in four years.

Serena's vulnerability - the tears and the tenderness with which she treated cancer victim Jack marshall earlier in the week - has not given her universal popularity.

But, as Marion Bartoli, her fourth-round opponent, admitted "she is the ultimate competitor." Almost too good, in fact for her sport.
Girl Power gone mad at Wimbledon as women serve up snoring SaturdaySocialTwist Tell-a-Friend

Saturday, June 25, 2011

Serena Williams Alexandra Willis

Alexandra Willis

Serena Williams, the most dominant female player of the past decade, is an extraordinary anomaly: A decade-long winner in a sport where longevity has often gone the way of wooden rackets and white balls.

The younger of the two Williams sisters, who famously entered her first professional tournament without her father knowing bceause he didn't feel she was ready, made her first impact at Wimbledon in 1998, winning the mixed doubles title alongside Max Mirnyi. Few could imagine what she would go on to achieve. Missing the 1999 tournament because of injury, in 2000 Serena swept all the way to the semi-finals, only to fall foul of her sister Venus. In 2001, Jennifer Capriati was her conqueror, this time in the quarter-finals. Serena seemed to be going backwards.

But all that changed in 2002. Arriving at Wimbledon on the back of her second Grand Slam title, at the French Open, Serena came past first Amelie Mauresmo and then sister Venus, winning the title without dropping a set. Taking the world No.1 ranking, she went on to complete 'the Serena Slam' - holding all four Grand Slam titles at once, the first player to do so since Steffi Graf in 1988. It is an achievement that has not been repeated since.

Having won Wimbledon again in 2003, Serena suffered a surprise loss to Maria Sharapova in the 2004 final, lost in the third round to Jill Craybas in 2005, and missed the 2006 tournament entirely. With rumours swirling about her absence from the game, Serena entered the 2007 Australian Open ranked just No.81 in the world, and pulled off one of the performances of her career to win the title. Although her success in Melbourne did not translate to Wimbledon, exiting the tournament at the hands of Justine Henin, the following three years saw the Williams sisters reclaim their hold on the Venus Rosewater Dish. A finalist in 2008, Serena won back-to-back titles in 2009 and 2010.

Not only that, the younger Williams is also a tremendous doubles player. She and sister Venus have completed a career Slam of the four Major doubles titles, winning the Wimbledon ladies' doubles on four occasions, when every time, one or other of the sisters had won the singles trophy earlier in the day.

There is no doubt that Serena is intimidating. When she gets that banshee wail going, double-fisting left, right and centre from all corners of the court, hooped earrings flying all over the place, most of today's opponents simply stop and stare. And you can't blame them. But reputation alone does not make you a world-beater. Nor does talent. No matter how well Serena wallops the ball, she has beaten far more talented ball-strikers than herself. And for that, she has to thank her approach to the sport.

Half the battle in tennis is staying healthy, but staying interested is most of the rest. The Williams sisters, first Venus, and then Serena, have always played sparingly, which lent them a certain mystique long before they were champions. Everyone knew about the Williams sisters, they just didn't know what made them tick. Since then Serena and (to a lesser extent) Venus, have picked and chosen when to be immersed and when to step back. Few athletes have the self-assurance to do that and to handle the inevitable fallout. But Serena has it in spades. No matter how much you may like or not like her, there's no denying that Serena has a passion for life, and a passion for tennis. That unusual ability to combine the two seems to be her secret. We wish her all the best on her road to recovery, and hope to welcome her back to The Championships to defend her title in 2011.

Singles Champion:2002, 2003, 2009, 2010

Doubles Champion:2000, 2002, 2008, 2009

Mixed Doubles Champion:1998

Serena Williams Alexandra WillisSocialTwist Tell-a-Friend

Friday, June 24, 2011

Wimbledon 2011 Serena Williams wins support from head of WTA over Court 2 'exile' claim in sexism row

Wimbledon 2011: Serena Williams wins support from head of WTA over Court 2 'exile' claim in sexism row

Defending champion Serena Williams has been backed by the head of the women's tour after complaining about being forced to play on Court Two at Wimbledon.

Williams believes she and sister Venus, who played her first-round match on the same court, are getting a raw deal in comparison to the elite men.

Rafael Nadal, Novak Djokovic, Roger Federer and Andy Murray's matches have been played exclusively on Centre and Court One so far.

The 29-year-old Williams overcame an early scare to beat Romanian Simona Halep 3-6, 6-2, 6-1 on the court situated in the corner of the All England Club closest to Wimbledon Village.

And then she expressed dissatisfaction with the scheduling, notably with the fact the top men are rarely asked to leave the main two show courts.
"Yeah, they're never moved across," said Williams, who will play Russian 26th seed Maria Kirilenko in the third round.

Wimbledon Championships, Wimbledon Championships 2011.
Wimbledon 2011 Serena Williams wins support from head of WTA over Court 2 'exile' claim in sexism rowSocialTwist Tell-a-Friend

Friday, June 17, 2011

Vera Zvonareva shakes hand with Serena Williams at second round single tennis

Russia's Vera Zvonareva, left, shakes-hand with U.S.'s Serena Williams at the end of their second round single tennis match at the Eastbourne International grass court tournament in Eastbourne, England
Vera Zvonareva shakes hand with Serena Williams at second round single tennisSocialTwist Tell-a-Friend

Wednesday, June 15, 2011

Serena Williams of the U.S. reacts during her singles tennis match

Serena Williams of the U.S. reacts during her singles tennis match against Tsvetana Pironkova of Bulgaria at the Eastbourne International grass court tennis tournament in Eastbourne, England
Serena Williams of the U.S. reacts during her singles tennis matchSocialTwist Tell-a-Friend

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