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They both have a very healthy respect for the game but -- because as they age they are increasingly prone to injuries that do not heal as fast as they do for the younger set -- make it a point to not pound their bodies too hard in order to stay with the sport longer.
That and the fact that they have other interests outside the courts.
Regarding their being dominant, they are so because they have been on the tour for a very long time and learned how to play the game really well. Why should they be maligned for being very good players. What athlete aspires to being mediocre?
I think the people who make a mockery of the ladies game are those who consistently play in tournaments that guarantee them lower level opponents in order to merely gain points toward higher rankings. That is not the Williams sisters. They play all the top-tier tournaments -- and opponents.
Both sisters, especially Venus, do much good for the game of tennis. They do charity events that promote the game. Venus is also a spokesperson for several tennis-related events and activities.
Not to mention that women's tennis viewership is down whenever they are not on the scene, particularly here in the United States.
Finally, let us not forget that it was the Williams sisters that added the more exciting and more popular power game to women's tennis.
They are responsible for making women's tennis not only more widely viewed but also viable.
I also agree that we need to see some new faces in American women's tennis as there are always new faces coming from Europe. It is for this reason that I am looking forward to you coming into your own.
Regarding those who are still hungry, I do believe that many women simply get worn out mentally and physically and, deservedly so, take a break from the sport so they can re-emerge with new found energy. This doesn't necessarily mean they are not hungry.
Those that are no longer hungry come to that realization on their own and graciously retire. Others are forced into the realization that they cannot keep pace with the opposition and are systematically eliminated.
Both scenarios are sad for us tennis fans and we thank and admire them for having stepped into the spotlight in the first place.
Well said, Will.
The game is lackluster without them and, as I previously stated in my comments, viewership is way down. Wimbledon tried increasing viewership a few years ago by putting the "cute" young girls on the major courts and putting the more talented players on the outer courts that got no television coverage.
This failed on 2 levels: 1) the "cute" girls were eliminated almost immediately and 2) real fans protested by not watching the matches at all until the stronger players were presented.
The Williams Sisters are to tennis what Torvill and Dean were to figure skating in that they took their respective sports in a direction where fewer and fewer would succeed by setting a standard that was both unconventional and difficult, if not impossible, to meet by the greater masses.
And there was a great deal of resentment generated as a result.
Other than really missing them, I don't have a problem with them not playing every single tournament because the hard courts are punishing enough and decrease longevity.
But again, as Lindsay Davenport pointed out during her highly informed commentary, no matter how little the Williams sisters play, all the players in the locker room know that they are the ones to beat and, because they play a reduced schedule, they are still out there versus those younger players who are burnt out and have to retire.
I really do hope that Venus and/or Serena make it to the Olympics. Let's face it, in terms of American women's tennis, they are our only chance(s) of getting a medal.
However, if the goal it to reward players for playing in Fed Cup or playing a more extended schedule, then Melanie Oudin and Bethanie Mattek should top the list.
If bringing home a medal or 2 is the goal, then the Williams sisters must be considered first.
A compromise would be to let the Williams sisters play only singles and let others play the doubles or vice versa.
How about that?