Dexter Rogers

Dexter Rogers

Tuesday, April 7, 2009

Williams's sisters continue to live their dreams


The Sony Ericsson Open in Key Biscayne, Florida was another Williams’ family affair. After Serena Williams beat a formidable opponent in Li Na 4-6, 7-6 (2) 6-2 in the quarterfinals of the Sony Ericcson Open it set up another duel with her elder sister Venus Williams. When asked if she’s playing well enough to beat her sister Serena stated, “Yeah, I feel like I am. I definitely feel like I need to just keep that confidence and go with that and see what happens. Just play the best I can play.”

When Serena squared off against Venus in the semi-finals the fans got what they paid for. The match went three tough sets in the Florida sun with Serena winning 6-4, 3-6, 6-3 which advanced her to the championship match.

In the championship match Serena faced a 19 year-old upstart Victoria Azarenka of Belarus. Serena’s mobility was limited due to a thigh injury she sustained earlier in the tournament. Azarenka prevailed over the hobbled number one player in the world 6-3, 6-1. Despite the loss Serena took it like a champion. She stated, “I’m not that bummed, because I feel like there’s next year. And then there’s the year after and the year after.”

Even though Serena didn’t hoist the trophy she displayed a champions’ attitude.

What the Williams’ family has done the last decade is remarkable on several fronts. One, they are a cohesive family unit. They are the best at their sport which historically has been dominated by whites.

I’ve had the opportunity to meet their father Richard Williams on several occasions. I briefly spoke with Mr. Williams while in Florida. He’s very outgoing and engaging. Also, being a product of the 1960’s he’s a man who speaks his mind. Mr. Williams along with is ex-wife Oracene Price have done an excellent job or raising two champions under one roof.

Here’s additional perspective. Tiger Woods is arguably the greatest golfer of all time. Two weeks ago Woods come back after nearly a year recuperating from a knee surgery to win a tournament in stellar fashion. Woods is great but could you imagine if Tiger had a brother just as good battling him for championships?

Venus and Serena’s feats are astonishing. Since 1999 37 Grand Slams have been played. To date Venus and Serena have won 17 of them. They are two African Americans who have dominated a sport that’s historically catered to whites and have made it their own.

The Williams sister’s greatness hasn’t halted them from taking social stands. Venus and Serena have boycotted the BNP Paribas Open for the last years. In 2001 the Williams family was subject to racist taunts. Because of how they were treated the family collectively decided to never play BNP Paribas Open again.

Hallelujah.

Even though neither Williams’ sisters won the title this week they are still winners. Despite being raised in the ghetto of Compton, California they didn’t succumb to the negative surroundings. Venus and Serena stayed focused on being the best tennis players in the world. They hit thousands of balls a day as youngsters until they realized their dreams as adults.

I personally think all things are possible. For those of you who are contemplating climbing the mountain of your own personal glory I say go for it. In the course of pursuing your journey you’ll find out what drives you.

If you have belief and persistence mountains can be moved. After all, we only have one shot at life. Why not take the chance to see what you are truly capable of? Besides, if it doesn’t work out you can always go back to what you are doing now.

You owe it to yourself to chase your vision whether it’s embraced by others not.
Some will not understand what moves you. That’s fine. Just press on. That which isn’t understood is typically ridiculed. Nevertheless, don’t stop because those who judge lack the understanding of lies within you.

It was great to cover the Sony Ericcson Open this year. It’s always an honor to witness greatness in action. Being in such venues induces me to work harder towards my goals. I watched great tennis, enjoyed good weather, but most of all I’m continuing to live a dream.

The Williams’ sisters are living their dreams for the world to see. I’m happy for Venus and Serena because they went for their dreams: I don’t know about you but I’m surely going to pursue mine.

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