Tennis

Williams visit 'a lesson'

2012-11-05 14:33
Serena Williams (Gallo)
Johannesburg - The successful visit of the Williams sisters, with an enthusiastic, sell-out crowd attending Serena's 6-3, 6-4 exhibition win over Venus at the Ellis Park Indoor Arena on Sunday, showed tennis is well and alive in the country and proved a revealing lesson for Tennis South Africa (TSA).

GALLERY: Williams sisters visit SA

This was the view expressed on Monday by former South African tennis stars Kevin Curren and Abe Segal, who debunked the theory that the game was in the doldrums in South Africa.

The brief, but barnstorming visit of the iconic Williams sisters, which included a coaching clinic in Soweto, was the brainchild of the private Octagen organisation and not the initiative of TSA.

"It proved what I've always felt. You've got to think big and give the fans what they want," Segal said on Monday.

"Any sport thrives on the success and interest it generates at top level. It happened in South Africa in the past. Why not now?

"Development at grass roots is obviously an urgent essential and should not be compromised, but its level of success is severely handicapped if there are no major events or world-class players as role models."

Segal pointed to the restoration of a world-class, ATP and WTA-sanctioned South African Open and regaining a place in the elite World Group of the Davis Cup as priorities for TSA.

"I know there are huge financial constraints, but where there is a will there is a way," he said.

"Countries with far less resources than South Africa are doing better."

Curren said he sympathised with TSA on the issue of raising major sponsorships, but he believed it was "inexcusable" that home-court advantage in the vital World Group playoff against Canada this year had been sacrificed over the issue of raising R1,3-million to stage the tie.

He was also highly critical of top South African player Kevin Anderson's reluctance to make himself available for crucial Davis Cup matches, "especially when he is the stand-out player in the country and his presence is indispensible".

Meanwhile, Venus said the siblings had taken the African exhibition matches, which got underway in Lagos on Thursday, as seriously as any official encounter.

"To be true to ourselves we have to go out on the court and at all times do our best, no matter what the occasion," Venus said.

"But what can you do when you come up against an opponent like Serena, who is on fire?"

Read more on:    serena williams  |  venus williams  |  tennis
NEXT ON SPORT24X

Nishikori wins in over-time

2014-09-02 10:10

 

Read News24’s Comments Policy

24.com publishes all comments posted on articles provided that they adhere to our Comments Policy. Should you wish to report a comment for editorial review, please do so by clicking the 'Report Comment' button to the right of each comment.

Comment on this story
6 comments
Add your comment
Comment 0 characters remaining
Live Video Streaming
Video Highlights
Sport Talk

Live scoring

 
 
Men
Women
Love 2 Meet
Featured Blog

Dave ask if you would like to meet your local sports heroes and stand the chance to win prizes to the value of over R40 000.

Latest blogs
Vote

Which is your favourite Grand Slam of the year?

Twitter Follow Sport24 on Twitter

Facebook "Like" Sport24's Facebook page

Newsletters Sign up for the Morning Glory, Super 15 and Soccer newsletters

WIN Enter and win with Sport24!

Mobile Sport24 on your mobile phone - WAP, alerts, downloads, services

Forum Have your Say on Sport24's brand new Forum!

BlackBerry Stay in the loop on your BlackBerry

iPhone Latest Sport24 news on your iPhone

RSS Feeds Sport news delivered really simply.

Blogs Yes your opinion counts. Get it out there

 
There are new stories on the homepage. Click here to see them.