Williams Sisters Leave an Impact That’s Unmatched

Aug 31, 2015 · 89 comments
MC (Decatur, GA)
I loved this article. These siblings are the best examples of female champions that we have ever seen. The words were such a tribute in a timeline narrative and was well-written and easy to read. But the pictures were FANTASTIC. Thank you so much!
Sophia. (NY NY)
I had not considered that one of the reasons for the Williams sisters' incredible longevity in the sport is an almost throwaway mention from Mouratoglou:
'“People make personal choices, too, and some women, they want families, kids,” he said, referring to Grand Slam winners like Clijsters, Henin and Li Na.'
Venus and Serena are champions, and they've undeniably changed not only the game but the way we watch it. But it's interesting to consider that their career success is tied to the same thing as any woman's our age: not having children.
Black Chat (Bamenda)
Serena is the Greatest of all time.
Jim Tagley (Mahopac, N.Y.)
The article says that at the 2000 Olympics in Sydney Serena and Venus could have been athletes in any sport. Venus, tall and lithe, but in the case of Serena Greco-Roman wrestling or weight lifting comes to mind.
Skywatcher (Bay Area, California)
What a sad and pitiful comment to make about the greatest female tennis player of all time.
Midtown2015 (NY)
Its amazing - Straight outta Compton - should be about these two champions, not some rap stars.

And the dad too. So long ago, he said both his daughters would win multiple slams and become number 1 and Serena would have the better career of the two. That was when Serena was barely ten - the man a fantastic coach and a most formidable forecaster.

Obviously, the white tennis establishment, the most racist among all sports, perhaps bar golf, never liked the girls. Worse transgressions were seen from many white players, but quickly forgiven and even applauded. McEnroe made a TV career out of you can't be serious routine. Roddick berates a lines person for a whole match the very year following Serena's tirade; Kvitova towers over Serena, stosur has bigger biceps, but "Serena is wining only because she is built like a beast". She is tested more than most people, but she is presumed to be a doper and on peds. Oh they said Lance was clean too is their retort. By that logic, every player in any sport must be a doper, right?! No, only Serena according to them. Who said proof is needed for racists?

In the meantime, Serena is already the greatest of all time. Her 21 slams came not because her main rival was stabbed, or she came at an opportune time and accumulated titles before others got in. She did not have a couple of oldies like Martina and Evert to beat up. In fact, she is the oldie by far, today, and beating players ten and fifteen years younger. Just unprecedented.

Shilee Meadows (San Diego Ca.)
Simply the best.
Dr. Bob Solomon (Edmonton, Canada)
They make me glad to be a man, and humble, too, knowing how hard it is to be a woman, let alone a black woman, in America. and become recognized as a role model for all girls.
What's next? How about a 3 round bout in the boxing ring pitting Serena against Big Mouth Trump. Blondie would last 3 seconds plus a ten-count.
Trump is my first choice since he'd fall hardest. Cruz, Walker, Fiorina, Huckleberry Huckabee, and the other clowns? Wouldn't even show up.
And the prize for triumph over Trump? It would be 10 million bucks to support or defeat Planned Parenthood and women's access to health..
You go, girl.
Carole in New Orleans (New Orleans,La)
Champion + tennis player=Serena Williams

Ask Mackie Shilstone he's stated this fact on numerous occasions
Riley Temple (Washington, DC)
I applaud the comments about their father, and want to add kudos for their mother, as well. Notably absent from this article is the great trailblazer, Althea Gibson, the African-American woman who won Grand slam singles titles, the French Open in 1956; the Australian, French, and US Opens in 1957; and also in 1957 and 1958 won the women's singles title at both the US Open and at Wimbledon. Any story about black women and professional tennis is incomplete without at lest a passing nod to Ms. Gibson.
Dmj (Maine)
Forgot to add that the real genius behind all of this was/is Richard Williams. He is probably the world's greatest women's coach that tennis has ever known, but he doesn't get any credit for it because he doesn't 'look the part'.
I hugely admire the guy.
arubaG (NYC)
I am a Black male who once considered himself to be a good tennis player.
There was nothing about Richard Williams that I liked, he looks, sounds and actions all ticked me off, but without a doubt he is one of the greatest coaches ever. He instilled desire and drive in his two fantastic daughters, they can be down five games and forty love, the set is far from over.
They are always celebrated for their physical abilities, their father Richard gave them the dominating mental strength that champions need. There have been other sets of siblings in sport, always one or the other has the drive to be a champion, only the Williams sisters both have that killer instinct. Tennis is a game of the mind, you fight thru your own short comings and impose your will on your opponent and convince them that they cannot win.
It can be match point against either of the two sisters, even on TV, that look in their eyes makes you feel that you are not winning, you just got lucky.
To Venus, Serena and Richard, I say thank you.
Michael S. (Brooklyn)
Interesting Article.
You left out the adversity they have had to face as a result of the racial stuff in tennis which, while not huge, was present and hurtful and presented a side of tennis not presently seen for a long time - perhaps not since - Althea Gibson (I'm guessing here) - and if either one had been there alone would they have been able to withstand that? Since they were together that might have given each strength to pick up, show up, show what tennis is really about: skill, strength and endurance.

You did manage to put in her "on court machinations and confrontations, most notably with the lineswoman" - giving the passive suggestion the only "conflicts" came caused by her.
In fact you label it as "polarizing" - a label generally applied by white people, onto black people they have a difficult time with - i.e. the republican congress - a collective "hell no" to everything about PresidentObama then accusing him of being polarizing.

I have never thought of Muhammed Ali as "polarizing". I find it disturbing that you would even suggest that. I think it was the racist establishment that had a hard time with Ali and poked and created the polarizing environment.

Also you end with a vague all things must come to an end suggestion which I find strange and almost subliminal and counter to what I thought was the purpose of this article. Why not end on a stronger point that would more fit with your seeming suggestion that the older she got the better she got?
Mary Woodhead (Salt Lake City)
Mohammed Ali was one of the greats but he was also considered a draft dodger by many during the Vietnam War. He was very controversial during his day and while race may have played a role, his decision to become a Muslim was also a factor. But the biggest issue was his refusal to serve in Vietnam. I prefer heroes with a little controversy. It reminds us that they are human, which makes them all the more heroic.
Shilee Meadows (San Diego Ca.)
When Mohammed Ali refused to go to Viet Nam he was atop the heavy weight division at the peak of his game and lost the best three years of his professional life fighting for what he believed; not going to fight in a senseless war because of his religious beliefs.

He stopped doing what he loved and did better than anyone else in a time where great heavy weight fighters were plentiful.

To me a draft dodger was someone who was drafted and refused to go because of being cowardly. Ali lost much more by not going.
joan little (nyc)
As a post- script: the lineswoman Serena had a confrontation with was fired by the USTA. The now infamous match and questionable call was her last US Open, but the damage was already done. Those betting against Serena took it to the bank on match point call, a so-called foot fault, not verified by cameras, asserted by an Asian lineswoman wearing coke bottle thick glasses. Match-fixing moving from soccer to tennis? It seemed a possibility that day.
L.G. (New York)
Venus is my favorite, but, as their Dad said back in the day, Serena will br the best. Maybe because she is mentally tougher. Thanks to both sisters and thank you to their Dad, Mr. Richard Williams and their Mom, Ms. Oracene Price.
Take the US Open Serena. 'El Grand Salami".
If not you, why not Venus?
Mina Montgomery (Paris)
What a great article about two such great athletes. When will we witness the likes of Venus and Serena and their amazing story again? They are miracles to behold, and Serena inspires nothing less than awe at what she has accomplished over two decades -- not to mention what they both have accomplished for tennis as a whole. They make me so proud -- as does such in depth, objective writing as this.
Bern Dukehart (Nottingham, MD)
Back in 1993, Venus and Serena Williams appeared at the annual Pam Shriver Charity event in Baltimore to play a doubles match with Cal and Billie Ripken. Serena was only 12 years old and Venus barely 14. When they first took to the court, everyone was saying “Oh, they are so cute!” As the exhibition game got underway and we watched their fierce play on the court, I looked at my friend and commented that these two girls were going to be making a major impact on womens tennis in the future. I have followed the sisters ever since and enjoyed watching both of them become two of the best female tennis players in the sport. If Venus had not struggled with health issues, I’m sure she would still be among the top 5 players today. I admire both sisters and there is no question in my mind that Serena is the greatest female athlete of all time.
BJ (Chicago)
I have watched tennis for over 55 years.
I have read the NYTimes for 50 years;
I feel some writers talk about the Williams sisters but seldom about how they were treated when they first started playing.
The behavior of he fans at Indian Wells horrible.
When I read articles written about the William sisters I realize the struggle continues.
dapepper mingori (austin, tx)
Serena Williams is awesome in victory and graceless in defeat.

Has she ever acknowledged that anyone beat her (granted not many have)?
As I recall she always has had an excuse: an off day, an injury, etc. Always something. Never a clear "I brought my best game and she beat me."

A spectacular athlete for sure. Not exactly the complete role model outside the narrow definition of her particular skill at her sport.
Anthony Bailey (New York)
Serena does not say that she brought her best game and has been beaten because it has never happened in her long career. When Serena has brought her "A "game to the court, no player ( past or ciurrent) has EVER beaten her. FACT !!!

Why do you wish for Serena to tell a lie?
Dmj (Maine)
To Anthony
Serena has been beaten many times with her 'A' game, but, I agree with dapepper that she will never admit it and always has a classless 'excuse'.
The exact same way Rafa and Roger and Djokovic occasionally get blown off the court.
Serena is a fabulous player, but she needs to work on her grace.
Laura (California)
I am so glad the NYT is beginning to take the measure of the Williams' sisters. Extraordinary athletes and very special women. Nice essay.
frankly0 (Boston MA)
The great thing about Serena is that if she keeps up her fitness regimen, she'll likely be able to keep winning into her 60s.

I won't speculate as to what the regimen involves, but it's done wonders for her so far.
frankly0 (Boston MA)
Really, I haven't seen such an impressive, record breaking athlete since Barry Bonds himself.

Sometimes I just dream to myself what it would be like if Williams and Bonds were to get married. Imagine the children! They would be like no other athletes on earth! They would have almost supernatural powers, because there's nothing in nature that seems to explain either the gifts of Bonds or of Williams.
Wendy Sherman (New York, NY)
what are you implying? What a sorry thing to say.
Wendy Sherman (New York, NY)
that is a disgraceful thing to say. it embarrasses me. why don't you embrace Serena as one of the greatest athletes in the world today and cheer her on? I become incredibly upset when I read such poor-spirited comments, but I imagine she has read them all her life and shrugs them off. As a white woman your comments make me ashamed and I cannot shrug them off.
Christina (Portland Oregon)
The Williams sisters are the greatest athletes of this century. We are so lucky that they represent us around the globe. They have made the sport of tennis watchable, playable and yes, a conversation piece especially at my table. I love to listen to commentators talk about their technique and craft even when their not playing. What they have done is incredible! My hope is that someday in my lifetime there will be a Latina from the USA that can play the great sport of tennis as they do.
Brian P (Austin, TX)
These two make me proud to be an American. No joke.
harry (SLC)
Both sisters are a serious talent in women's tennis, their physical size has disrupted the dominate character of the sport, will we see beefier players in the future?
Willie (Louisiana)
I love the Williams sisters, always have, and I'm not even a tennis fan. I'm middle class, old and beyond my own athlete days, heterosexual and generally optimistic. The Williams sisters turn me on. They're sexy, tough looking, athletic and beautiful. They win and they win consistently. They contribute to that constellation of ideals at the pinnacle of America's psyche. May they live forever!
Madigan (New York)
I, seriously, have a question for the tennis commentators, such as the McEnroe brothers and their peers: MUST YOU TALK ABOUT SERENA WILLIAMS SO MANY TIMES EVEN WHEN SHE IS NOT ON THE COURT AND WHILE OTHERS ARE PLAYING? Are you lost for words? Do you get extra dollars per the number of times you utter her name?
fast&furious (the new world)
Serena Williams is our greatest athlete.
Jay Strotkamp (Laguna Beach, Calif)
Tennis made the Williams family rich & famous, not the other way around.
marjorie (atlanta, georgia)
But one could argue that it brought more non-white viewers to the game, and perhaps made players of some. You cannot argue with that.
John (Washington, DC)
Really? Talk to the players (and agents and tournament directors). As this article notes, it's the Williams sisters who have created an explosive growth of interest in women's tennis that has hugely increaed the sport's worldwide audience, and its purses. Just as with Tiger Woods in men's golf, the players themselves know that their paychecks are much bigger because of the vast TV audiences that these great, unique stars have brought to their sports.
DS (Miami)
They are the best hands down. Serena will break all of the records and go down as the best in history.
CathyZ (Durham CT)
I'm glad you mention Serena as one of the greatest athletes of all time. For me, she IS ALREADY on the pedestal with Ali, Jordan, and only a few others. She has shown us the ability to fight back from serious injury, the indominatable will to win even when challenged in a particular match.
To those who complain about her rough edges, to me it sounds sexist, as no one complained about how brutal MJ could be verbally to his teammates and competitors, Ali was a major trash talker, Roberto Alomar spat on an ump but was forgiven, McEnroe is making a living off his history of being a verbal bully, Ray Lewis has a nice TV job even after his ?criminal antics, etc. Let's just recognize that the attribute that makes a person a champion comes with those rough edges. Serena has never punched anyone or been in legal trouble, does not gamble, is a model citizen by all accounts.
By the way, she had a nice cameo in Pixels, I suspect we will see more of her in the silver screen once she is done with tennis.
Old School (NM)
The Williams sisters are great athletes and tennis is definitely a difficult one to master. What I wish is that they would also master a bit of self respect and demeanor to match their swagger and lack of cool.
JLG (New York, NY)
Yeah, it's so uncool for two beautiful and capable African-American women to dominate tennis and strut their stuff. I mean compare them to the boys at the top of tennis, no swagger or lack of cool there.
Roman (NYC)
What does that even mean? Master self respect....and lack of cool? Clearly you know very little about the Williams sisters.
Charles Michener (<br/>)
OK, "Old School." I wish your comment had been longer, particularly on the subject of "self respect and demeanor." What are your standards on those two criteria? Are you implying that the Williams sisters' fierceness as competitors, their fire in the way they hold themselves, their affection with each other and, yes, their displays of indignation when they disagree a referee's call is somehow deficient in "self-respect and demeanor?" What about the way their black skin glistens with perspiration in the heat of battle? Or the way Serena pumps her fist after a great point or victory? Tennis is a beautiful game that was written for white, privileged people. It's now being dominated in the women's arena by black people from non-privileged backgrounds. And it's still a beautiful game.
J.C. (Luanda, Angola)
Williams sisters are inspirational. The typical story of hard work and discipline paying off.
R (Brooklyn)
Come on NYT. Where is the objectivity? Tennis is a truly global sport and you could hardly attribute growth of world wide tennis to Venus and Serena. No, those Russian women are not picking up rackets because of Venus and Serena. Actually, sad as the truth sounds, Anna Kournikova has more to do with that.

Serena and Venus were well into the careers when they started embracing the sport as their friend not their adversary. Serena or Venus today, are far cry from their old selves. Selves that frankly did not respect tennis enough and take it seriously enough. Thankfully that has changed. Serena of today is different, she loves competing, she is thankful for all tennis has given her, and she is forging a path that we can all be inspired by. But please don't fail to acknowledge the past. And no, despite all, it is simply not true that tennis needs her more than she needs tennis.

Also, the evolution of the prototypical tall and strong player on both men's and women's side was inevitable. Advances in racket and string technology permitted slower movers to be more effective on the court, their strength and power offsetting their diminished mobility. Venus and Serena are excellent movers and would have dominated in any era. The current crop of power players more closely resemble Lindsay Davenport, the first power player to run Martina Hingis ragged despite being a less than stellar mover.

P.S : All this rubbish about Serena doping should stop.
em-deville (san francisco)
What has Anna Kournikova done in her career to inspire anybody beside getting ten trillion Google hits, mostly from middle aged men?
Jon Davis (NM)
"Williams Sisters Leave an Impact That’s Unmatched"
The Williams sisters are fine athletes, two of the finest tennis players of all time.
But ALL pro sports are utterly meaningless and a complete waste of time... merely entertainment for the masses to enrich the wealthy unless the athlete retires and does something meaningful with her/his life.
Jonathan (Philadelphia)
You sound profoundly jealous.
Robert Prehatney (Brasil)
Steffi was a great, classy player but she didn't have the charisma that the Williams sisters have. Martina, great also, but a harder edge. Venus and Serena are part of the American work ethic and prove that it can be done. To see another sister combo like this - it could be a long time! They matured as players and people, on the court and off.
G.P. (Kingston, Ontario)
Agree, both are terrific players. Can lose the smashing of the racquet though.
Its not the equipment.
RobW (Seattle)
I am sure the Williams sisters' agent must be very, very proud of them, but his statement that Serena's recent wins “puts her in the conversation with people like Jordan and Ali, among the greatest professional athletes” is absurd. It most certainly does nothing of the sort. It might put her in the conversation for being among the greatest FEMALE athletes, but even that is arguable. To be considered to be among the greatest athletes, with no qualification to that statement, she would have to be dominant among the greatest male players--which obviously she is not (by her own admission, she would likely not win a single point against the top men). Furthermore, there is not even a single MALE tennis player in history that would make anyone's list of "greatest professional athletes of all time," because there are far better athletes in a number of other sports. So let's be very honest, however un-PC and un-feminist it may sound: Serena Williams is a great female tennis player, possibly the best ever, and let's leave it at that.
planetwest (CA)
Nonsense. Athletes can only be compared to others in their sport at that specific time. Serena is easily the best athlete of all time for what she has accomplished. By your definition, the only qualified athletes would be decathletes or weightlifters.
Lilly (Las Vegas)
NO I won't leave it at that. Serena is one of the greatest professional athletes ever!!!
Jonathan (Philadelphia)
Wow ... are you wrong. Got some chauvinism in your DNA??
OGI (Brooklyn, NY)
It is such a glorious time to be a woman athlete. When I was in my teens and twenties, for a woman to be actively athletic was frowned upon. You were considered tomboyish (akin to gay or lesbian) something that was greatly discouraged. Watching Serena and Venus these last 20 years has encouraged me to be more athletic. With them are the U.S. Women's Soccer team, the women of the WNBA, the Misty Copelands. I'm proud to say I not only eagerly play tennis thanks to the William sisters, I swim, bicycle and do aerobics. Their example has helped me and other women appreciate how important it is to be active and athletic - translation - HEALTHY.
Paul King (USA)
Any microscopic focus on any athlete will draw a whole range of emotions and comments. It's the focus itself that elicits the reactions.

The Williams sisters are always under the microscope.

And, there is no accounting for taste, so everyone gets to take there particular shot.

If we take them as athletes only and separate out any personal traits, they are clearly superior in their sport. Beautiful to watch, graceful, powerful players.
Serena will always be considered at the top of the women's game. She has earned it. Try staying that good for so long. None of us could do the training, endure the pressure, deal with the outside noise. Period.
Venus thrills me as well. She has been overshadowed but her game is amazing. Better all around I think than Serena in her prime.

If you want to hear my gut take on them as people here it is:
I'd rather party with Serena and just have some laughs.
I'd rather take a long walk and talk about life with Venus.
Robert Prehatney (Brasil)
Well said!
bp (Alameda, CA)
The Williams sisters are among the best ever in their sport. Huge kudos to their father for helping inspire them at the beginning. Twice in one family - that's not a fluke.
Jim (New york,NY)
I once again have to add that although Venus and Serena are great tennis players....they lack the consistency of champions like Martina and Chris. Just because you win majors ONLY does not make one a great tennis champion. Look at the match records.
A Dude (Midwest USA)
This position is akin to asserting that the Celtics' teams of the 50s and 60s are still the best teams because of the number of championships they won. Venus and Serena, in their primes, would have beaten Martina and mopped the floor with Chrissie...just as Tony Parker, Stephen Curry and today's NBA point guards would do to Bob Cousy.
Matt (NYC)
Nonsense. That's like saying, just because you win Super Bowls, does not make one a great tennis champion. If a golfer only wins majors, does that mean they're not great golf champions? If a runner only wins Olympic medals, doesn't race the other three years, they're not a great running champion? If a group of players only won World Cup trophies, but never played the rest of the time, they wouldn't be great soccer champions? Must a boxer win minor fights to be great if they are the heavy-weight champion of the world already? In any case, unless you're saying that Hingis and Evert (who has herself acknowledged Serena's superiority), could have consistently beaten Serena Williams, this is all a moot point.
planetwest (CA)
You may have forgotten Bill Russell. No 'mopping the floor' there.
Venus and Serena Williams, in addition to athletic dedication, have set a good model for how to approach sibling competition (an intra-familial competition is something so many of us struggle with on smaller scales). The Williams sisters have had to play against each other, sometimes immediately, sometimes against larger groups, yet each woman never lauds a victory over the other. The competition is within. Venus and Serena (as well as their parents) show pride in the other's gifts, no matter the victor.
arubaG (NYC)
The Williams sisters are true American heroes.
Without the Williams sisters, tennis becomes a game of who cares, who wins.
Grandpa (Massachusetts)
I have always felt that Venus conducted herself like a real champion and was a real asset to the sport in the sense of being someone I'd want my grandchildren to emulate. Serena has not, in a lot of ways, most notably threatening the line judge at the US Open when she had, indeed, foot-faulted (McEnroe said publicly that he thought the call should not have been made at that point. What nonsense. The rules should be enforced. They don't say anything about "enforce unless you are close to the end of the match"). She's obviously a great player, but, unlike Venus, leaves something to be desired as a person.
Lilly (Las Vegas)
Andy Murray and Victor Troiki reduced a ballboy who accidentally ran on the court to tears. Nadal threatened to have a chair umpire fired for calling a time violation on him. But nobody remembers those incidents. Why is that?
marjorie (atlanta, georgia)
Agree, and let's not get started on McEnroe
jambay (clarksville md)
Here we go again. Serena is not a perfect person. Ha.
The question is , why should we want our grandchildren to
emulate athletes?
IMHO, we should be our own examples for our children and
Matt (NYC)
Perhaps one of the most astounding effects the Williams sisters (and Serena in particular) have had is their firm place in the minds of other world-class athletes. Anyone playing at the Grand Slam level is going to have a natural self-confidence that has been nurtured by coaches and experience. You simply can't become a champion if you don't truly believe you can win when you step out onto the court. Yet, against Venus (in the past) and Serena (in the present), I really think a lot of the best players in the world have exhausted their mental reserves of confidence in the face of repeated failures. That's not to say, they don't believe they can win. Rather, it sometimes seems as if their attitude is merely hoping to win as opposed to expecting it. They hope for the double-fault, the shanked ground stroke, the "off day," or the meltdown. Contrast that with the sisters' attitudes. One of the things that irks some people about Serena Williams is that she is genuinely surprised when she LOSES to ANYONE. And let's face it, it IS surprising! If a "rivalry" is seen as competition for the same objective or for superiority in the same field, very few players could honestly claim that their records qualify as a true competition. When Serena hints that it is her talent, not her opponents', that plays the larger factor in who wins or loses, she's probably right. She was one of the few people who is in total control of her fate out there... and that's scary.
Christine (Washington)
Tennis players are randomly drug tested all the time. Mike is incorrect. Respect the time Serena puts in at the gym. Mackie Shilstone works her hard!
Ardy (San Diego)
With the New York Times selecting which comments to publish, I am disappointed that it would publish an off-the-cuff remark that Serena's tremendous ability is attributed to drugs. That's just part and parcel of the racist overtones of many comments against these fantastically gifted siblings, in what used to be an upper crust white man's game.
clifford mason (New York City, NY)
Thanks, Harvey. I have often cringed at the sting of your acid pen, but I must say you showed not only grace and a forthrightness that added to the Williams sisters' legacy, but you made it clear that in an America still drowning in racism their ability to overcome THAT too has only made them that much more amazing and monumental. Thanks from African American Black America.
John Sammis (Killeen, TX)
They are good and I don't think drugs have anything to do with it - they are in great shape - great tennis players and great people
Mac Zon (London UK)
Steffi Graf was the best player I ever saw. She had class and never fussed about anything on the court. What makes her special above all others is she never gave excuses why she lost but instead always praised the winner. Unfortunately, has never been the Williams sisters strength.
Mary (undefined)
Well, Graf was obviously a tremendous champion. However, much of that was gained after a man from her crazy fan base destroyed the better champion: Monica Seles, who ran rings around Graf and all her competitors by just age 19 by being the youngest to win the French. A maniac who received very little jail time stole Seles' career from her at age 22. One of the great tragedies to more than just Seles and tennis.
Shalabey (Brooklyn)
You must not have watched the Williams sisters play in over a decade. They have matured and are very gracious both in victory and defeat.
Jonathan (Philadelphia)
Really?? Funny, I've heard Serena often congratulate her opponent upon losing. And I NEVER heard her make excuses - ever. Where are you coming from??
Robert (Rotterdam)
They are amazing of course. What I have always wondered is - if they hadn't achieved this enormous success, what would they have thought of their training in Compton under their father? Was it something rewarding in its own way, no matter what happened; or was it driven by the need to succeed in order to justify the time and efforts spent?
some old people don't get it (dc)
Every time one of the sisters accomplishes something, I sit back and I remember when the sports media openly mocked Richard Williams for saying that his daughters were be the No1 and No 2 tennis players in the world one day. I remember the "Ha-ha, That'll never happen" comments. And of all people to include in this piece, they put in Martina Hingis, who used to fake swing at long balls and laugh at her opponents in grand slams, as some sort of darling. I'm a woman only really watched men's tennis until the Williams sisters came along. Thank goodness the physicality moved over to the women's side in their era.
Nitin B. (India)
Let the drug testing, doping, steroid, PED allegations commence. Oh.. wait, Mike from South Florida has us all beat.

Making these vile, completely unsubstantiated allegations is to denigrate the scale of Serena's achievement, the sheer intensity of her attitude on court, her indomitable will to win. Thankfully, people like Mike are in the minuscule minority and the rest of the world's tennis fans appreciate Serena for what she truly is: an inspiration, the Greatest Of All Time.
Mike (South Florida)
Serena would never be where she is if she were ever drug tested. Venus yes, Serena, no...
JoJoCity (NYC)
are you serious? Is there no drug testing in women's professional tennis?
JoJoCity (NYC)
Seems she is subject to drug testing, including out-of-competition (random) tests, per: http://www.tennis.com/pro-game/2014/04/drug-testing-tennis-increases-not...
JLG (New York, NY)
SportsTopFan (Atlanta)
Venus and Serena Williams tennis accomplishments are monumental and will never again be matched in history of women tennis !!!
Mac Zon (London UK)
Don't get too inspired and sure of yourself....Never is a very long time with no end but with enough time for things to change.
sheila (berkeley)
The sisters have kept me glued to women's tennis ever since they appeared. It has been a privilege to watch them as tennis players and as women both on and off the courts. What a glorious and inspirational time for us all.
TheGrammarian (Manila)
“Steffi dropped the ball on that. Monica dropped the ball". It is ridiculous to suggest that because someone is the no 1 player in the world they are required to become spokespersons for their sport.
Mary (undefined)
Seles was taken tragically out of the game at age 22 by a psychopath Graf fan who stabbed her. She did not drop anything. By that just 22, Seles had numerous single Grand Slam wins. was well on her way to a real 4-tournament/same year Grand Slam and was head above all other players.