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Venus, Serena Williams Join Billie Jean King Equal Pay Push

A day before playing in the final in the year 2005 at the All England Club, the former world no. 1, Venus Williams addressed a meeting of the Grand Slam Board, there she urged the French Open and Wimbledon to offer equal pay to male and female players.

“I said: ‘When we are on the court holding tennis racket in hand, all of our hearts beat in the same manner. If you will close your eyes, you won’t be able to really judge who is next to you, who’s a woman and who’s a man.’ She then asked the people sitting there, think about their, sisters and daughters. How would they like them to be treated?” Williams recalled. “We don’t realize, sometimes, we lose track of, our own bias and we confront our own prejudice. We have to confront ourselves.”
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Venus Williams Confident This Year

Venus Williams would certainly not like to remember her campaign in the French Open last season. She had a horrible time at Roland Garros in 2013 to say the least. Urszula Radwanska, an unknown player from Poland, had bamboozled her in the opening round and her campaign in the competition was over.

Twelve months have passed since then. Things have changed and so has the form of Venus. She has made her way to the French capital much more confident this time around having won quite a bit in the recent past and that too against some good players.

The 34 year old American won the Dubai Duty Free Tennis Championships despite some of the world’s top players being there taking part in that competition.

In total, Venus has featured in 21 matches this year out of which she has managed to win 15. These are not bad numbers for a player whose best is probably behind her.

The recent victories have helped Venus climb up in the World rankings as well. She is the 30th ranked player in the world at the moment.

Before taking the flight to France, Venus talked to an American sports magazine regarding her 2014 journey.

She said, “This year has simply been awesome for me, probably the best since I have recovered from my illness.”

“I suffered such a situation which no one suffered before me. To get out of that and bounce back, it was always going to be time taking, but, I am glad that finally things appear to be falling in place.”

Venus’ winning percentage in the singles matches that she has played throughout her career is more than 80. That suggests what kind of a player she was before suffering that peculiar illness. She has an Olympic gold medal under her belt as well.

Hewitt Wins Hall Of Fame Championships

Lleyton Hewitt has finally managed to become the winner of the Hall of Fame Championships. He clinched the title yesterday by getting better of Ivo Karlovic of Croatia. It took the Australian more than two hours to win that final match.

It was a contest between two wily, old players and it went down to the wire with the last two sets being decided in the tie breaker.

Hewitt crumbled a little bit in the second set, but, he kept his nerve when it mattered and sealed the tie breaker in the decider to finish off the match.

Hewitt had reached the title round of the Hall of Fame tournament in the last couple of seasons as well, but, on both occasions, he had suffered defeats. This time around though, the luck favoured him and he ended up adding another feather on his cap.

This is the second trophy that Hewitt has lifted in the ongoing season. Before this, he had won the Brisbane International Tennis Tournament as well right at the start of the season.

Speaking in the post match interview, Hewitt said, “It was so close yet so far for me in the last two attempts. I had played reasonably well the previous year, but, still, couldn’t go past the final hurdle. I didn’t want that to be repeated again.”

When asked if he tried to do things differently this year here at Newport, the 33-year Old said, “No, I didn’t. I was just keen to make sure that I didn’t falter on the basics. The deciding set was difficult and it was important that I didn’t get broken in that.”

“It’s really pleasing that I am through to the title. It feels really good.”

Hewitt is presently at the 41st position in the world rankings.

Leyton Hewitt leaves French open in the first round

Hewitt’s very first game at the Roland Garros was when he was a teenager, almost fifteen years ago. He was then the world number 41 and was badly beaten by old hand Martin Rodriguez in a 5 set round. Last Tuesday he again faced defeat to Carlos Berlocq, an Argentinian clay court champ, with the scaore of 3-6, 6-2, 6-1, 6-4.

This defeat marked 3 consecutive losses for Hewitt in the first round of the French Open. The player now at thirty three has always made it to the final, at most of the majors, unlike this one.

This year again, the enduring Aussie number 1, was much more optimistic about the following grasscourt season, while he seems extremely determined to put on his very best in the ever more challenging scenario. He finished his swing on the claycourt with a record of 1-5.

The first set for the thirty three year old was quite positive, and Hewitt played quite aggressively with the ball while finishing quite sharply at the net. However he was shortly broken at the beginning of the second set, as the momentum gradually shifted towards the Argentinean. Berlocq’s repertoire consisted of a series of stunning backhands, which upset Hweitt’s game play.

The following sets, 3rd and 4th followed quite a similar pattern and the Australian dropped his opening service in both the sets. He tried hard to catch up post the drop, however failed miserably. However there was no lack of effort from his end as he kept on putting his cent percent and exhorted encouraging statement at times.

However this is Hewitt’s least favored court, but he kept on the gameplay till the very last end, striking hard, however he failed to make a comeback miserably post the fourth set.

VINTAGE FEDERER

For quite some time, People had been dying to see that vintage Roger Federer smile that comes on his face only when he wins a title. He had last smiled in that fashion in June 2013 and finally, after about 9 months, he did so again yesterday when he got better of Tomas Berdych of Czech Republic in the final match of the Dubai Duty Free Tennis Championship.

Federer would have been very confident going into the match against Berdych as he had unexpectedly defeated the no. 2 player in the world Novak Djokovic in the semi final, but, his confidence was not translating into performance at the start of the match. He mistimed quite a lot of shots in the opening set and as a result, he lost it.

But, he showed his ‘never say die’ attitude in the second and the third set and achieved the glory.

This was the 78th singles title won by Federer. Now, he is at the third position in the all time list of the players who have had the most number of singles title under their belt.

Speaking in the post match interview, Federer said, “In the last few tournaments, I had not been able to produce my best performance in the big matches, but, in this tournament, I did so. It really feels wonderful to win a title after a while.”

“It’s always good to win because that gives you points and thus, the luxury of withdrawing from some of the tournaments. You can sort out your schedule once you win a big tournament like Grand Slam.”

Federer is currently not even in top 5 in the world rankings. He has just got 2950 points which is a lot lesser than what the top ranked player Rafael Nadal has got.

WOODBRIDGE PRAISES SERENA

The former Australian player, Todd Woodbridge, has praised Serena Williams for her performances in recent times and has said that it’s very hard to beat the American superstar at this point of time.

Serena had been in terrific form throughout the last season. She dominated in most of the big tournaments and lifted a couple of Grand Slam trophies i.e. the French Open and the US open. She was the no. 1 player in the world when the last season ended.

Almost all the tennis experts consider Serena the top favourite to win the Australian Open next year and Woodbridge is no different.

When asked which female player he reckons has the best chance of achieving glory in the singles competition of the Australian Open, he said, “At the moment, it seems impossible to get better of Serena. She has been playing the best tennis of her life and it’s only the injuries which can stop her from winning the Grand Slams next year. She has been the strongest contender in all the big competitions in the last few years.”

Woodbridge also backed her compatriot Samantha Stosur who has been facing a lot of criticism of late for her poor form in the last season. The 42 years old former doubles specialist reckons that Stosur can silence her critics in the next season.

When asked about Stosur, Woodbridge said, “She was quite clearly not even close to her best in the last season, but, she has got the potential and the good thing is that she is not going to carry the burden of expectations in the next season. She will have nothing to lose. So, she can just go out there and try to enjoy herself. I am backing her to put up good performances and answer her critics.”