Thursday, September 03, 2009

The Williams sisters in review

The Atlantic has a good piece on the Williams sisters in which writers from different media outlets contributed their thoughts on the, as one writes, most dominant pair of women in sports.
The highlights include a point that I think has not been made enough: with all their success (they hold 6 of the 11 last Grand Slam titles) and longevity (they have outlasted their contemporaries and show no hint of retirement) they are the most downplayed story in sport. Even if one has issues with their personalities or their style of play or their father, let's remember that sport media love these things. And yet the common equation of success plus controversy does not seem to have garnered the Williams sisters the kind of media attention given to say Tiger Woods or Brett Favre.
I was quite disappointed that the last comment was a critique and one that I find completely unjustified. Greg Couch of Fanhouse calls the Williams sisters underachievers. This is not a new argument but most go on to talk about how they were distracted by outside interests. But Couch goes on to say that they could have been so much more than tennis players. I am not sure exactly what he wants them to be but they are so much more than tennis players--because they have a seemingly (more) healthy relationship to the sport and their place in it and its place in their respective lives. Maybe Couch wants them to be humanitarians doing charity work: they do. Maybe he wants them to more multidimensional: they are.
Couch must have caught POWTS (Picking on Women's Tennis Syndrome).
If anyone knows of a cure, let me know.

1 comment:

Diane said...

The Williams sisters are never good enough, and the critics are always right: When Venus and Serena began doing things outside of sport, they were criticized for being distracted from tennis. Now that they are still winning huge trophies, those same critics say that they are able to do so "because they were smart enough to have other interests."

They are women and they are African American, and they will never get their full due--outside of the tennis world--as the extraordinary athletes and champions that they are. Everyone has advice for them, and--to their credit--they don't listen to a word of it.