Listen, I’m not gonna lie I’m an ass man. So I only know about tennis at ALL because of Serena’s big and POWERFUL ass. It does look like it could do things, right? Like crush cans, or pick up marbles or maybe allow her to walk without using her legs! Just butt-cheek walking. But I hung around and watched the games. In fact I’ve put in nearly ten YEARS of watching the women’s games (and some men games). But, as you probably already know; the men’s game goes like this; hotshot wins for a long time followed by another hotshot who wins all the time. And it’ll take 3 to 4 hours to do it. So it’s a boring, unsexy, waste of time. Time I don’t have. So I started watching women’s tennis. And you know, almost unanimously they’re all good looking and you can expect something weird to happen. Like the awesome Hantuchova’s break down, or the Hingis stabbing, or the risqué modeling of Kournikova, or the flat out upcoming Playboy spread with Harkleroad. Plus they play tennis too, somewhere in there. Seriously I DO watch the tennis part too.Check out the photo…
And I DO remember seeing Venus on the local news when she was a little girl and people talking about “stars of tomorrow.” She was playing and these beads were swinging around. But I didn’t think much of it. Then those late 90’s US Opens happened and I saw her grown up and it was like watching Jordan (and I don’t even LIKE basketball). But to see somebody so fluid and so skilled and at the time WAY more “fit” looking than anybody playing the game was just mesmerizing. And that was it; women’s tennis took off, and became something. Women’s basketball I’m sure is praying for a similar moment. And as time has gone on, women’s tennis has even shown up in weird places like today’s episode of the popular cartoon Ben 10. I call this image “Ben Tennis.”
Do I harbor a dream that I’ll one day be able to get my hands on that chunky ass? Oh yeah. And YES, I know that she and her sister have primarily, if not EXCLUSIVELY, been sighted only with white men, and YES I know they’ll both probably end up with white men. But that’s not a surprise, most successful black women are going white, in fact most successful women are going white (don’t even get me started on the Asian woman thing!). But check it, I’m currently getting internet RICH and I’ve got a movie on the way so there is a REMOTE chance for a love connection! Plus right now she’s supposed to be with fellow Chicagoan, fellow black man and fellow big ass lover Common.
IN a post not TOO long ago I talked about Serena’s abysmal loss at the hands of somebody she should NOT have lost to, and yet here we are again with both sisters losing EARLY at Roland Garros. I go to visit my friends tennis themed blog and VENUS is out! Then I read yesterday’s news that SERENA is out too. And I’m like-what? They’re both out already? I mean I feel like I just dropped somebody off at the stadium and said I’m going to park the car, stop by the concession stand and I’ll meet you. But then I get to my seat and people are walking out. It’s over. It’s over! I really can’t believe they’re BOTH done already. So this is it. I’ve been tentative and hinting but this is it. They’re done.
The obvious thing that a bunch of writers and tennis pros talk about is all the glitz and glam being a major source of distraction. But I put it to you Your Honor that that stuff is the symptom . The disease is that their sister died, and their parents got divorced. No core, no tennis. They had momentum, they had foundation, they had a system. Out the window. In the Williams family it’s become a far more fractured team effort. It’s not quite every (wo)man for him/herself. But I don’t think it’s as much about everybody being focused on the two tennis stars being number one anymore. The money, the properties around the world, the various households, the split opinions about how their careers should go, the individual interests and personal goals are just all over the map without the family being on stable ground.
I have talked on my friend’s blog about tennis about the women in tennis having a short life expectancy. It is just a flat out fact that we can pretty much expect a rise, a height of play and then a decline that goes from about 15 years old to around 25. And after 25 you’re going to see a waning ability to win followed by a surprise retirement. EVERY single woman that retires is a surprise tennis fans. In the last 5 years I’ve watched one player after another leave the game and all the commentators express their disbelief that it’s happening. The pattern is quite clear; a new group of players hit the scene that makes them have to try harder, they meet some guy and/or want to have a baby, they get hurt and that’s it. They leave the game. I’ve only been watching since 1999 or so I see it. How can anybody else NOT see it?
Prognosis; both Williams will “shock” the tennis world and leave within 2 years. I don’t want it to happen, but what else can happen? They keep claiming that THIS time they’re serious about the game and not distracted by all their projects. They even show up to the matches without injury and in good shape AND STILL LOOSE. So they’re done. The 10 year cycle has run. I and probably lots of others hoped for a long career, but they burned bright and burned out fast.
So, here we go. I could have also titled this piece My Very First Sports Article or maybe Yes I’ve Watched ESPN2. The truth is; I’m not a big sports guy, but I am a Black guy, so yeah, the Williams caught my eye when they hit the scene. YES, I know it’s very typical, and God knows I hate to be in the “trends follower” rather than “trends setter” column, but what can I say? When Venus and Serena hit the scene my eyeballs almost jumped out of my head. And yeah, I said Venus first because that’s who we “met” first.
All those years ago there was some special on TV showing these 2 little girls and their dad hitting tennis balls in the ghetto and all these goddamned hair-beads flying around. And I was like “what?!” There was some long haired French Black dude playing tennis around the time Agassi first came out who people used to tell me I reminded them of, so the hair/black/tennis thing has been on my radar ever since. Anyway about a year after that TV special the girls went pro, or maybe it was just Venus and then quickly followed by Serena. But you know the rest of the story. Having skipped out on the Jr. league they just caught everybody by surprise. They played their ASSES off and just started winning. And winning. And winning. It was crazy.
But it wasn’t just the wins that alarmed people, it was they STYLE of women’s tennis. Basically it was men’s tennis played by young women. It was weird. Did they have technique? Yes. But what they really had was power and will to win. It just hadn’t been seen before-not on that level. They were hungry. CRAZY hungry. Dude, they looked like somebody had an earpiece in their ears whispering “I have your parents! I will KILL them if you don’t get this next break point!” I mean they played like life and death. No kidding. It looked like it meant something to them. Up to that point women’s tennis was competitive, yes. It was very competitive, BUT it didn’t look like the men’s game. When you saw McEnroe fighting those judges or Connors jumping after a win and pumping his arm you KNEW these guys carried those wins and losses in a soul shattering way.
And the sisters had that look and style. Then their parents split. Oracene and Richard did a very quiet split (or maybe the media culture in tennis is just low key). And Oracene became the focus of all camera shots at the girl’s matches. And Richard became a less frequent visitor to the games. Or if he’s there-you don’t see him on TV anymore. People say that Oracene is now the coach. And you know what? They don’t win as much. They get hurt more. They play less. I mean the whole situation is different.
Now I don’t what they do, or how they live. I’m just telling what I’ve seen watching these 2 play for the last 9 years or so. Around 1998-9 I started watching and then GOING to games. Yes I’ve been to games! I have paid MONEY to see them play. I do not go to ANY sports events. Period. But I’ve gone to see them! Because they changed the game. American women first got caught off guard, and after a couple of years they go their act together and made their way to the gym. Because that’s what it took; a crazy level working out to catch up to Venus and Serena. But one group of women already had that ethic. You wanna know who?
The Eastern Europeans. Yes we’ve had a few French and Belgian women come rolling out on top. But for sheer numbers its been the EE’s and you know why? Because those women are desperate. They KNOW they don’t have anything going on at home, and tennis is a way out. So they’re here now. The industry has pretty much been taken over. I don’t think they American slice of the pie is going to increase in the coming years-certainly not at the rate of the EE’s.
So yesterday at the 2008 Australian Open Serena got knocked out by Jankovic. And tonight Venus is getting the stuffing knocked out of her by Ivanovic. Of course MY BELIEF is that they made a bad decision by trying to play doubles. A couple of young ladies from China knocked them out of THAT match. Their…health/drive/lifestyle/age just is in a different place now. I believe Venus has beat Ivanovic 4 times prior to tonight, but tonight she’s limping around with a giant bandage on her leg playing the game. Just struggling. And quite honestly, except for the odd bursts, that’s kinda how they’ve looked for the last few years. Struggling. I know their dad is still involved, but I think his position has been reduced and their game just isn’t the same anymore.