By Scott Riley
Venus: Goddess of Tennis?
Philadelphia, PA (Sports Network) -
If you believe the WTA
Singles Rankings, Martina Hingis is the top female tennis player in
the world. But, if you've been paying attention to the sport over the
last six weeks, you'll know that American Venus Williams is the player
to beat right now, although her sister Serena just claimed a
championship in Manhattan Beach with victories over the likes of
Hingis and number-two Lindsay Davenport.
Venus is currently resting in third place on the world ledger,
but the certifiably-hot California native/ Florida resident will be
the heavy favorite to supplant Serena as U.S. Open champion in a few
All Williams has done is win her last three tournaments, a string
that started with her first-ever Grand Slam title at Wimbledon in
early July. One of Venus' victims at the prestigious grass court
event was Serena [in the semifinals].
Williams, of course, became only the second African-American
woman to capture Wimbledon, joining 1957 and '58 champion Althea
Gibson. Arthur Ashe (1975) is the only other African-American to go
all the way at the legendary fortnight.
Since Wimbledon, the 20-year-old Venus has also rattled off
championships at Stanford (Bank of the West Classic) and San Diego
Williams upset Davenport to secure her crown at the All-England
Club, and beat her compatriot in yet another final in late July
(Stanford) to lay claim to her extant world tennis supremacy.
Since turning pro in 1994, under the watchful eye of curious
father/manager Richard, experts have expected these recently-dominant
results from Venus, who is taking time off to prepare for New York's
Williams is in the proverbial "zone" at the moment, riding a 15-
match winning streak. She posted her third straight title by holding
off former world number-one star Monica Seles in the championship
match at the Acura event in San Diego earlier this month.
Venus didn't play her best tennis in the Acura final, but
prevailed anyhow, prompting her to say, "There's a lot of things that
I'm not doing right, but I'm still winning."
Williams has appeared in only six tournaments this season --
winning half of them.
She boasts a 21-3 won-loss record in 2000, including a perfect
8-0 mark on hard courts and an equally-flawless 7-0 register on grass
(Wimbledon). All three of Venus' match setbacks this year have come
on clay (6-3), her worst surface.
Also, Williams has not lost to the aforementioned Hingis or
Davenport this season. The 6-foot-1 bomber, with her powerful
groundstrokes and a screaming serve that reaches 120 miles per hour,
is 1-0 versus the "Swiss Miss" and 2-0 against Davenport [who hasn't
titled since taking the Indian Wells tourney back in March].
And in case you're curious, Venus is also unbeaten (1-0) this
season against the international sensation that is 19-year-old Anna
Williams, meanwhile, has gone 82-16 over the last two campaigns,
with a whopping nine titles in 25 tournaments.
Is it any wonder that her favorite tennis player is Pete Sampras
-- the supreme performer in the men's game.
If it's of any consequence to Venus, she IS number-one in The
Sports Network's women's rankings.
The only knock against Williams at this point is her
inconsistency on the court. She has the power and athleticism to,
along with Serena, dominate for the next 10 years, but she'll have to
cut down on mistakes to complete her game. All-time great Martina
Navratilova has said of the sisters, "They both miss too much. If they
can just cut down on unforced errors, maybe they can go for every
I believe they Will-iams.