From Mon Oct 2 07:13:19 2000
Date: Mon, 2 Oct 2000 05:43:04 -0400
From: Art McGee <>
Subject: [BRC-ANN] Quote of the Day: Kofi Natambu
Precedence: bulk


Venus Rises and Takes Tennis with Her

By Kofi Natambu, Ishmael Reed's Konch Magazine, 21 September 2000

In addition, the often biased reporting of some tennis commentators on both television and in newspapers have created an atmosphere where the Williams sisters are subjected to such traditional racist mythology as the “powerful black athlete who survives merely on “raw talent and intimidation,” but never on strategic thought, finesse, or general intelligence. In fact all during the Open there were endless references to the “superior intellectual abilities and analytical prowess of Martina Hingis over that of the “natural physical strength and intuitive powers of Venus and Serena.” These absurd Bell Curve, and neo-fascist like comparisons were continually made despite the fact that Hingis is in reality a high school dropout whose only real interest since turning pro at age thirteen has been professional tennis, while both Venus and Serena are enrolled college students whose high school academic GPAs were in the 3.5-4.0 range, and who excelled in literature, science, history, math, and languages (both sisters are multilingual and fluent in French and Italian, much to the delight of their many European fans).

In fact, part of Richard Williams genius has been his constant insistence from the beginning that education was far more important than sports for his daughters. This insistence on Venus and Serena being well rounded individuals who were much more than mere jocks was so strong that Mr. Williams took Venus and Serena off the junior tennis circuit for four years when they were ten and eight respectively so that they could seriously pursue their education. This was after Venus had amassed a phenomenal 63-0 mark on the junior tour. He did it because he “didn't want his kids to wind up like many of the other children on the tour who are dumb and don't know anything except tennis. Ironically, Mr. Williams was excoriated in a number of circles for allegedly stunting the athletic growth of his daughters, and is amazingly still criticized today by some for “holding his daughters back from acquiring the same tennis skills at the same pace as the other players” (even Tiger Woods's father, Earl, has made this ludicrous charge!).