Thứ Năm, 17 tháng 11, 2016

Serena Williams: The Photo That Influenced Me Most

South African National Congress President Nelson Mandela addresses a crowd of residents from the Phola park squatter camp in Tokoza during his tour of townships. Sept. 5, 1990.
To celebrate the launch of TIME’s new multimedia project – 100 Photographs: The Most Influential Images of All Time – we asked leaders in a number of fields, from technology to the arts to business, to share the single photograph that most influenced their lives. Purchase the 100 Photographs book now.
Nelson Mandela has been one of the most inspirational figures throughout my life — both personally and in my career. I’ve drawn strength from his courage, perseverance and generosity like so many others. What I’m drawn to in this photo is his humble expression as he opens his arms to the people. I am so grateful to live in a world that has benefited from his life’s work.
Serena Williams is the No. 1 ranked female tennis player in the world.

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Thứ Ba, 27 tháng 9, 2016

Serena Williams: I wouldn't encourage my children to play tennis

Serena Williams
Serena Williams has revealed that if she were to have children, she would not encourage them to take up tennis. 
The American, who turned 35 on Monday, has won as many grand slams as any woman in the Open Era but would be wary of any child of hers taking the same path. 
Speaking to Sky Sports News at the opening of her coach Patrick Mouratoglou's new academy in Nice, Williams said: “I wouldn’t put them [my own children] in tennis. I wouldn’t stop them if they wanted to play tennis, but I wouldn’t encourage tennis.
Serena and Venus Williams
Serena and Venus Williams have dominated tennis over the last 20 years
“I wouldn’t want the stigma of mummy Serena, I think that would be a lot of pressure and I would like for them to do their own thing and have their own name and be the best at whatever they wanted to do.” 
The world No 2 also discussed the fitness problems that have dogged her this summer, during which she exited the Olympics in the third round and was knocked out of the US Open in the semi-final by Karolina Pliskova.  
Williams has not played since the US Open 
“I have been dealing with a lot of health issues since Wimbledon, that has been really frustrating, I told Venus that it ‘ruined my Olympics’!”, Williams said. 
There has been speculation that Williams' knee problems could prevent her from overtaking Steffi Graf and winning a 23rd grand slam singles title, but her coach Mouratoglou was bullish about her chances. The Frenchman said: “Of course she can win another slam. Winning one more is more than probable”.  
For the moment though Williams is taking some time away from the sport, and it's possible she won't play again in 2016. Last year the American did not play after her heartbreaking US Open semi-final defeat to Roberta Vinci until the Australian Open four months later, where she was beaten in the final by Angelique Kerber. 
Kerber, who has taken the No 1 ranking away from Williams after an unbroken spell of 186 weeks, has emerged as a genuine rival for the 35-year-old, and looks to be the main obstacle to her breaking Graf's record, which has stood since 1999.     
To watch the full interview tune into Sportswomen at 11:30am today on Sky Sports News HQ. Sportswomen is the UK’s only dedicated weekly women’s sports show. 

Thứ Ba, 30 tháng 8, 2016

First-round opponent a tall order for Serena Williams

NEW YORK -- If Serena Williams thought the pressure that surrounded her like a thick, toxic fog while she sought to complete a historic calendar-year Grand Slam last year at Flushing Meadows has dissipated for good, she might be in for a surprise when she launches her campaign at this year's US Open on Tuesday in Arthur Ashe Stadium.
The first hurdle in Williams' path is a tall one: 29-year-old left-hander Ekaterina Makarova. Once again, there is enough at stake to give even the 22-time Grand Slam singles champion palpitations. The way she meets this first challenge might speak volumes about what the coming days have in store.
Serena Williams presser (US Open)
"I think it's OK," Williams said of the matchup when the draw was made Friday. "I'm OK with it. I think I try to look at it [as] we all always have tough matches. I've just got to do the best I can."
Only two left-handed players have ever beaten Serena Williams at a Grand Slam event: Angelique Kerber, who is 1-1 against Williams in Grand Slam finals this year, and Makarova. Williams' first-round opponent pulled off her victory in the fourth round of the 2012 Australian Open.
Makarova, a 5-foot-11 Russian with a two-handed backhand and a tricky lefty serve, is the most accomplished and highest ranked among Williams' recent first-round Grand Slam opponents. She has often played better at major events than her ranking suggests. Her confidence ought to be sky high, as she excelled at the Rio Olympics, winning a gold medal in doubles with Elena Vesnina and making it to the third round in singles.
Williams can draw inspiration from the fact that she has punished Makarova severely since that loss. The Russian hasn't won a set in three matches, and two of those six sets were 6-0 blowouts. In their most recent meeting, Williams cruised to a 6-1, 6-3 demolition of Makarova in the 2014 semifinals at Flushing Meadows.
Since then, however, Makarova has hit her physical peak and logged a career-high ranking of No. 8 (April 2015). She's currently ranked No. 29, which puts her higher than the lowest seed in the tournament (who is separated by at least one spot from any other seed) but unseeded because of the rules and deadlines governing entry.
Serena Williams
Williams has struggled with injury and has experienced puzzling lapses of confidence and motivation alternating with brilliant fits. At Wimbledon, after she finally tied Steffi Graf's Open-era record with a 22nd major, Williams conceded that the pressure had been ruinous. "The one thing I learned about last year is to enjoy the moment," she said.
It might be difficult for Williams to do that, no matter how much love the Ashe crowd showers on her. History beckons with its aged finger: A US Open win would make Williams the top Open-era champion, with 23 major singles titles. It would also keep alive her chance to catch or even surpass all-time leader Margaret Court (24 titles).
Williams is almost 35 and increasingly injury-prone. At her age, the months between majors seem like years. Each opportunity becomes increasingly precious at this point in her career.
Some of the more immediate honors and obligations at stake might also play on Williams' mind, motivating or spooking her. Although she's guaranteed to tie Steffi Graf for most consecutive weeks ranked No. 1 (186), Angelique Kerber is beautifully positioned to take the top spot away if Williams takes her foot off the gas even a little.
What's more, a first-round loss by the top seed would mean nothing less than humiliation. Williams was the No. 5 seed when she suffered the only first-round loss of her Grand Slam career. It was at the hands of wild card Virginie Razzano at the 2012 French Open.
How could Williams not feel pressure? Conversely, what would it say about her as a competitor if she didn't?
Ekaterina Makarova beat Serena Williams in the 2012 Australian Open but hasn't won a set in her past three matches against the world's top-ranked player.
"I think each [situation] is different," Williams said Friday, when asked to compare this year to 2015. "At this point, I'm taking it a day at a time. I think I just am more relaxed, for sure."
There are some similarities between the situations today and when Makarova upset Williams in Australia. Williams went into that tournament having played just two competitive matches after her loss to Sam Stosur in the final of the 2011 US Open. She twisted her ankle in the second of those matches in Brisbane and was still hobbled as she fought her way through to meet Makarova in Melbourne Park.
Williams is probably in better shape now than she was then. She won Wimbledon less than two months ago. But she was just 2-1 in singles in Rio, where she developed a bad right shoulder. The injury curtailed her practice time and forced her to withdraw from the important US Open tune-up at Cincinnati.
Williams' three previous wins over Makarova will give her some authority going into the match. But she knows what she's up against.
"She's a big fighter," Williams said of Makarova. "She never really stops. She gets a lot of balls back. You think she's not super quick, but she is."
Williams needs to be ready for this one. She's a hard read, but it seems like she might be. After a while, even that toxic fog of pressure might not smell so bad.

Thứ Ba, 19 tháng 7, 2016

WATCH: Bill Simmons' staggering salute to Serena Williams on HBO

"At 34, she's become the Tiger Woods that we never totally got to see." (Screenshot/"Any Given Wednesday with Bill Simmons" YouTube channel)
Serena Williams status in the sports world and the larger global culture continues to expand, as only it can. In a new piece that debuted on his HBO show, Any Given Wednesday, sports authority Bill Simmons compares her to some of the greatest all-time boxers, including Muhammad Ali and Mike Tyson, and to other athletic luminaries such as Larry Bird, Roger Federer and John McEnroe. He notes her dominance within her sport itself, including a 16-11 head-to-head record against sister Venus and, by a 19-2 count, a 12-years-strong ownership of Maria Sharapova match-ups.
The four-minute clip ends with Simmons' expectations of Serena late this summer:
"This summer, we need Serena's voice more than ever," Simmons says, in reference to her recent statements about race relations and gun violence toward African Americans. "She has the Rio Olympics and then the U.S. Open, two gigantic forums. The good news is that we already know what she's going to do."
"At 34, she's become the Tiger Woods that we never totally got to see: A black prodigy who ruled a country-club sport without ever flaming out," Simmons says earlier in the clip. "Oh yeah, and she's also way more interesting than Tiger ever was."
In comparing her to Bird, and invoking the words of NBA titan Bill Walton to do so, Simmons also notes how Serena plays with "passion, persistence and purpose." While some of her recent major-title runs in recent times haven't exuded precision—her 2015 French Open campaign, when she battled the flu, comes to mind—her tenacity in the face of a challenge is to be treasured. And her 2016 Wimbledon onslaught proved a lesson in precision. A 6-2, 6-0 semifinal victory? That's the kind of relentless assault that Steffi Graf and Monica Seles used to bestow on their foes.
"How she transforms stuffy Wimbledon has been especially amazing," Simmons notes. "I mean, the All England Club makes Augusta look like a 2 Chainz concert." Simmons goes on from there, perhaps as only he can: "She doesn't just win, she performs."

Thứ Tư, 15 tháng 6, 2016


The WTA was well represented on the 2016 edition of SportsPro magazine's list of the world's 50 most marketable athletes.
WTA Trio Crack SportsPro List
Last month, SportsPro unveiled it annual list of the world's 50 most marketable athletes. Once again, the WTA was well represented with three players making the cut.
French Open champion Garbiñe Muguruza led the way, entering the list at No.14 on the back of her recent exploits. Joining her is fellow new entrant Sania Mirza and last year's No.1 Eugenie Bouchard.
Muguruza first burst onto the scene two years ago when she inflicted a humbling second-round defeat on defending champion Serena Williams at Roland Garros. Since then her star has grown, a Wimbledon final appearance laying the foundations for a brilliant second half of 2015. The 22-year-old hit her first bump in the road at the start of the current season, before a spectacular return culminating in her Paris triumph.
Viewed by many as the sports next big crossover star, Muguruza has seen sponsors come flocking - BBVA Bank, Maui Jim, adidas and Babolat are among her current portfolio - capitalizing on the decade-long quest to find a female icon to join Rafael Nadal atop the pedestal of Spanish tennis.
Life has not been quite so rosy for the new generation's other great young hope, Eugenie Bouchard. However, following a turbulent 2015 campaign, the green shoots of recovery have begun to sprout.
Success on the court and charisma off it fuelled the Canadian's initial rise to prominence, and now unburdened by the weight of expectation that hung around her neck for much of 2015, she has begun to climb back up the rankings. The qualities that first attracted Nike, Babolat, Coca-Cola and others remain, and her reunion with childhood mentor Nick Saviano is sure to hasten her return to tennis' top table.
Mirza, on the other hand, has had no shortage of success over the past 12 months, her all-conquering partnership with Martina Hingis - the duo have won three of the past four Grand Slams - thrusting her back into the spotlight.
A superstar in her homeland for the best part of a decade, the Indian, whose contracts include adidas, Sahara India and Tata Tea, is a goodwill ambassador for the United Nations and was flagbearer at the 2012 Olympics.
Since SportsPro released its inaugural list in 2010, WTA players have been near ever-presents at the top of the pile, Caroline Wozniacki, Serena Williams, Maria Sharapova, Victoria Azarenka and Sloane Stephens all featuring down the years.

Chủ Nhật, 8 tháng 5, 2016

Serena Williams Recounts Taking Part in Beyonce's 'Lemonade'

Beyonce told Serena Williams to dance, and the tennis champion let loose.
Top-ranked Williams recounted Sunday (May 8) how she came to have a part in the singer's visual album, Lemonade.
Beyonce Adds Dates to Formation World Tour
Williams says, "I have known the director since I was like nine years old. I know Beyonce pretty well, so they were like, 'We would love for you to be in this particular song. It's about strength and it's about courage, and that's what we see you as.'"
Williams' appearance came on the song "Sorry," which features Beyonce showing her man the stupidity of his cheating ways.
Williams says, "She told me that she just wants me to dance, like just be really free and just dance like nobody's looking and go all out. So that wasn't easy in the beginning, but then it got easier. ... I thought that particular song on the visual album was really a strong song, and it was also really fun at the same time."

Thứ Sáu, 25 tháng 3, 2016

Serena Williams Opens Bid for 9th Florida Title

Serena Williams began her bid for a ninth Miami Open title by beating Christina McHale, 6-3, 5-7, 6-2, in Key Biscayne, Fla. Williams, seeded No. 1, earned her 19th consecutive victory in the tournament and has not lost there since the 2012 quarterfinals.