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Williams sisters don't deserve the privileged status they have in women's tennis

Our regular contributor John Bolan, irritated by the behavior of Serena and Venus Williams who, he believes, are disrespecting the WTA Tour and the other players who work hard all-year long, is sharing his opinion with us. Read on!


For the last several years I have been following the antics of the Williams sisters. I have seen the broken agreements between them and various tournaments. I have been there when tournaments marketed them only to have them pull out at the last minute.  The fake injuries and the appearance fees taken to show up but they play only one match losing to a no body. All this stuff is well documented. It is too crazy to make up.

Last week the Williams sisters actually showed up for a couple of matches at Eastbourne before bowing out so they can model their newest togs in London. The tennis media went bonkers about them while forgetting all about the women who now lead the WTA and where tennis priorities should be. These two players make a mockery of the tennis world and the media but it seems people keep falling for their antics.

Wimbledon got into the act by awarding both Venus and Serena higher seeds than they have earned and assuring that they are in different halves of the draw so that there could theoretically be an all Williams final. This is an insult to the women who play week in and week out and actually do their part to promote women’s tennis unlike Serena and Venus.

It didn’t hurt for them to be seeded like this, one might think? Just ask what Sara Errani thinks about losing her place as a seed. She had to play the seeded, Kaia Kanepi, in the first round instead of an easy opponent. Sara worked hard all year for her seed and Wimbledon failed her, but she focused her anger and upset Kanepi.

The next question is if they seeded the Williams, then why didn’t they seed Sabine Lisicki? Sabine was also injured and has actually proved she is back with her win in Birmingham last week.  She has to play Li Na in the second round. Unfair!!

The media writers have forgotten about the best players on the tour – Caroline Wozniacki, Maria Sharapova, Vera Zvonareva and Viki Azarenka. Certainly the best are not as stated in the Women’s Tennis Blog – Serena, Venus and Kim. Serena and Venus are not really interested in the tour, and Kim is actually injured. They should do what Elena Dementieva did last year and gracefully retire.

What do you think of John's viewpoint? He is aware that not everyone will agree with him, but he's prepared to defend his position. :)

Additional info: List of John's previous contributions to Women's Tennis Blog:

(photos: WTA Tour, emmettanderson)

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133 thoughts on “Williams sisters don't deserve the privileged status they have in women's tennis

  1. mc

    I stumbled on this site searching for "williams sisters are men". I was expecting to read some dribble about testosterone levels in the sisters or how they are too strong to play women's tennis, but instead read some childish dribble that shows bias, immaturity and jealousy on the part of the author. Such a bad read I was compelled to comment. Goodbye.

  2. Tulp

    @ronald johnson: let me guess, you are black, right? Not that I mind anyone being of any colour – just guessing, for the fun of it.

  3. Stefan

    @Tulp: What's fun about guessing someone's color? Especially in this context. Your guess simply implies that Ronald Johnson's opinion is based on his ethnicity. How can those four sentences of his be typical of a certain color? Just the fact that your mind works that way is very telling of your character and makes me feel sorry for you and even more sorry for everybody who knows you. Shame on you. And guess what: I'm white.
    And no need to reply to this, since I'm not gonna return to this site because of this unprofessional article.

    If this guy is a "regular contributor" to this site, I don't wanna read any more articles on here. I am a fan of opinions and obviously everybody is entitled to their own. What I sincerely dislike, though, is a guy who is given the stage on such a site just so he can spread his hatred, jealousy and conspiracy theories. This guy is not a journalist, but just a small bitter person who lacks integrity and competence. If he had any of those, he would have made prove his theories instead of making up weird accusations. A very poor choice to let that guy write an article on here. I can only recommend for every tennis fan to not read anything on here anymore. Go to wtatennis.com if you're interested in real tennis facts.

  4. faith

    hi, this is all just ignorance. As human beings we need to congratulate and give credit were credit is due. trying to break ones spirit via disrescitng and heavily criticizing them is very wrong on all levels. i tell you these girls opened up this sport to so many people around the wold. Including me.

    I fail to understand why others cannot except to be graceful and accept some truths. This week she won the Olympic title and in a good fashion although i feel the little dance was not needed. All i can say is everyone of us strives to be the best in anything we do and for someone to be disregarding that is very hurtful.

    As for me tennis was a very elite sport and not accessible to many of us. I am sure the Williams have faced many cretinism for one reason or another, remember we all have feeling and i cannot understand for the life within me why someone would think is is right to disrespect another human being, instead we should look beyond faults and dwell on the good bits.

  5. bj wood

    thank God someone finally said it all! they are nothing more than ghetto queens with muscle and that's where they should have stayed, particularly serena. serena has disgraced the game of tennis time and time again and admittedly is only in it for the money. i look forward to the day when she is too fat to haul her huge ass out on the court any longer!

  6. janis Thomas

    I really don't know who this man is, but I can see that he is full of envy concerning the williams sisters. The williams sister have worked very hard for whatever privlidge they have. If not, how could they have attained so many titles over the years. you may not like them, but any logical person could see that it is impossible to achieve what they have without hard work. Let the other players pay their dues and win some more titles and enjoy the priviledges that come with winning.And just to let you in on a well kept secret, black people have never got privledged positions in tennis, they had to earn it.

  7. Sam

    I coudn't agree more with Janis. The most under priviledged race in mankind history is Black. So get a life Mr. Bolan and be a man and admit what u really are!! By the way, Serena just beat your "better" player Sharapova yesterday to win WTA Tour tittle. Not to mention US Open final this year….

  8. Jim

    I always wonder if people who make comments like this if they would make the same comment if the William's were white, also 15 slams and olympic gold
    has not been done by any of the other the "best players on the tour" or any active player this century

  9. John

    Congratulations to the author, who dares to provide a different view towards WS.

    The facts and/ or accusations were based on real observation – turning away tournaments, faked injuries, "unusual" physique. The interpretation might not be 100% correct, however a lot better than uncritical adoration.

    The "WS lovers" cannot see or hear anything – and in worst case simply start playing either the "rasism" card and/ or "the tale of how two uneducated ghetto queens got into WTA".

    I could not care less and am looking forward when they either leave the court (the sooner the better) and/ or will be proven on drugs misuse.

  10. Mr Chris

    Totally correct. I like Venus, she has always been classy. But Serena is like a spoiled whiny bitch. She never credits opponents when they beat her, it is always her fault. Remember she has threatened linesmen, umpires, even ballboys with death. She is trashy, has a terrible sense of fashion, and is fat, ugly,and stupid. Hopefully she will retire to an anonymous life soon of being fat,ugly, and stupid.

  11. Tulp

    Wow, this thread seems to be longer-lived than most other threads… Deservedly so, perhaps. And perhaps it's the right place to add a joke I've read somewhere (does anyone know the origin of any joke successfully circling around?). For, as all successful jokes, it goes right to the chore of a paradoxical phenomenon, no holds barred (especially the PC ones). It goes as follows:
    Two sisters, arguably the biggest stars of the WTA Tour, are having a confidential conversation, as sisters would:
    "I think Dad is putting something into our food."
    "Why do you think so?"
    "Well, I've got hair growing in strange places…"
    "Like, where?"
    "Like on my balls, you know…"

  12. Marija

    Tulp, you're right, this is by far the most commented article on my blog and the one that has remained active for the longest period.

    I'm not sure I like that joke. :/

  13. Zech

    Marija, I'm not sure why some of these comments are not deleted. There is a way to make an argument (ex: the article) about why you may not like either sister but there is no need for all of these comments that have some rather disturbing language. Tulp may be a regular poster but there's no need to so classlessly bash either sister with a "joke". Its not a joke.

    Other comment sections are much more regulated than what is found here. And some of the comments are nauseating.

    "But Serena is like a spoiled whiny bitch"…. that is something that shouldn't be allowed even if only the language portion, and this entire comment section is riddled with it.

  14. Marija Post author

    Zech, this article seems to provoke such comments. I very rarely delete comments, even when they attack me. I simply write a reply.

  15. Jim

    This is nothing compared to the very first tennis forums I registered with in 2011. I won't say its name, but I had just renewed my love for the game after finally(!) getting satellite TV.

    On a wave of enthusiasm after a thrilling few year-end matches, I went online to find some other tennis fans to talk with. I took my time, trying to find a well-populated, smart-looking place that had a good variety of folders.

    Finally, I picked out a site on the strength of it being well-designed and having smart, mature, encouraging mod comments and descriptions everywhere. So I registered, and dived in.

    I spent about half an hour browsing, after which I felt absolutely nauseous from the unabated, hysterical vitriol and pure, vehement hatred on display.

    Now I'm almost 40, and I've been around since USENET, and I like to think I'm pretty bullet-proof when it comes to this kind of thing.

    But I was revolted, and I made my first post to say so, declaring that all involved should be ashamed of themselves (something I don't think I've ever done before).

    Of the several replies I got to that, the one which stands out most in my mind went, "Save yourself, before its too late". In other words, 'I know mate, don't dirty your hands here!'

    Makes me laugh now, but the thing that struck me about that place was how the vast majority of the worst comments and rivalries between the posters in the WTA folders were being made men (of all ages, one presumes), who based their opinions largely on who had the longest legs, nicest smile, biggest chest etc. Any discussion of players' tactics or talents was minimal, and heavily dressed in hyperbole about the players' physiques and the irrevocable dunderheadedness of the evil, idiotic morons who supported other players.

    The thing that kills me most, is that I *imagine* that most of the actual players would be horrified to read these kinds of things, being said for and about them. Look at how Radwanska/Ivanowic turned out the other day – there was a beautiful picture of them shaking hands and smiling with genuine pleasure at the net, it made me proud to be a tennis fan, something a lot of online chinwags don't!

  16. Marija Post author

    Jim, I've read all the comments on this blog for almost 6 years now and I can say that it's pretty much unbelievable how little hatred and misunderstanding has been here among the posters and towards myself and venting out on the players has also been quite minimal. When I started blogging I expected I would be verbally attacked since I'm out there online, but my experience has been 99.9% positive and most people are actually supportive.

  17. Jim

    I'm very glad to hear it too! This is why I have settled here – I lurked for a while, making sure I wouldn't be shot to pieces as soon as I made a comment. You have great readers, and it's a great blog. Thank you :)

  18. Chris B.

    It should not be about RACE. My only point, and THE only point, should be about their lack of class. The article speaks of their "priviledged status". I have watched tennis, well really only the 4 majors, for the last few years. What I observed is a very dignified and classy sport with true lady and gentleman competitors and champions. Then there are the Williams sisters. For example, when a player wins against his or her opponent, the respect for them is seen in gestures and actions of tradition. The winner has won a grueling match and is victorious. They (the winner) will go on to receive accolades, ovations, trophies, applause and many rewards. The very last show of class is to let the loser shake the line judges hand first. Every winner I have seen, both mens and womens, have honored this gesture of good will. Not Serena! To be honest, I am really not sure if Venus does this as I have not seen her in any matches recently. But Serena, I know for a fact, shakes the line judges hand first after a win… CLASSLESS!!! I even gave her the benefit of the doubt in the Australian open. I watched the match between her and Stevens. When she lost to Stevens, I wanted to see if she would extend the same courtesy, or accept the same treatment from her opponent. NOPE.
    Like a true classless competitor, she went to the line judge and shook his hand first. To some or many responding to this article, My point of view may seem stupid or trivial, however if this is how they act at this level of competition and in this arena and against this caliber of oppenents, then the author of the article got it right. They don't deserve the Priviledge of Status. Both sisters are athletic and skilled and deserve every victory they fought for, but in the end, a TRUE CHAMPION will be humble and show the same RESPECT to their opponents that they receive. Again, it's just my opinion.

  19. Johnny Rebel

    The Williams Sisters are a couple of arrogant, spoiled "porch monkeys" that look and behave more like "men" than women. How do these rude and ill manored "freaks of nature" further the sport of Women's Tennis??? If anything, they have set back the sport of women's tennis by several years.

  20. John

    Wow, talk about no class. To not recognize what Venus and Serena had to go through to get to the top of this elitist sport shows how narrow and ignorant criticism of them is. Instead of reflecting on the sport itself and it's failure, you single out two women who are survivors and victors of this game. For shame. Get a clue.

  21. Snooby Dooby Doo

    I know this article was posted a long time ago – but how about this? All the players you mentioned – the ones who work so hard – how come they are not anywhere near the amount of success achieved by the Williams sisters? And you say they don't work hard! Serena is No.1, won 2 slams THIS YEAR (which is the same as Vika's overall) and has only lost 4 times this year. And coming from Wimbledon, the first people they talk about when they talk about the women's stars are the Williams sisters. I am not hating on other players, but feel you need to respect Serena and Venus.

  22. Tim

    After seeing Serena's outburst at the u.s open a few yrs ago , I cannot watch her. There are some very classy , and poised players on the tour and the Williams sisters are the farthest from that. They are extremely rude to everyone and really need to consider retiring. What horrible role models for our children .as far as talent goes , they are not natural players. They have been conditioned and you can clearly tell this with their movement on the court . Not natural. It would be nice if they could display professional qualities of a true tennis professional , but they choose no to. I will celebrate the day they retire!!

  23. Christina

    CLASSLESS! Stopped watching tennis due to racist (Gorilla Serena threatened to kill Asian lineswoman, just one of her long list of ghetto acts) classless Serena Gorilla. And, NO, stop your mediocre cries of racism, for it was the case, Venus would be attacked also.

  24. Wesley Etheridge

    I am not one who plays the race card every time I hear something adversarial but some of these comments are nothing but and some are pure hatred because they (black people) took tennis, too, a sentiment that I have heard expressed a lot more than once.

    "The Williams Sisters are really men?"
    "Serena Gorilla?" Really, Christina?

    Granted, Serena has had some emotional meltdowns and verbally abused lines people on the court a couple of times — probably 3 or 4 times in her career at most.

    Venus has NEVER yelled at anyone or done anything on or off the court that could be even remotely considered disrespectful. And to those of you who commented that she faked injuries, there is no way to know that. Her recent physical woes can easily be attributed to the Sjorgren's Syndrome, a disease which has no cure and leaves the afflicted with joint pain and/or exhaustion at any given time. She doesn't even challenge calls unless the error is blatant. Not doing so has caused her not only to lose points but also tournaments. Other players on the tour attest to the respect that they have for Venus because of her easy-going, lovable nature and for her being a primary force in getting women equal prize money at Wimbledon and for standing up for Shahar Peer, the player who was banned from playing in Dubai and other Muslim countries because she is an Israeli (and served in the Israeli army).

    Yet BOTH sisters have been deemed disrespectful of the game of tennis, which leads me to wonder if their success and color.

    The author of this "article" (aka rant) said that Serena plays tennis only for the money. That is obviously not true. She has had to play injured, practices very hard and works very hard to maintain her fitness. You have to be truly dedicated to do all this. Other players on the tour vouch for her very strong work ethic.

    I am not proud of Serena's outbursts on the court and believe that the fines that were assessed were just but I cannot forgive the way she and her sister were treated at Indian Wells, in France one year when Venus had to suddenly withdraw from a match mere minutes before it was to be played, which was probably caused by symptoms of Sjorgren's. They were pulled from the junior's circuit due to the racist comments some of the parents of the other players made a well.

    And let's not forget some of the white players who behaved badly on and off the court that should be mentioned in the author's rant: Patty Snyder (called "Petty Patty" by other players on the tour), Martina Hingis, who once said that gay player Amelie Mauresmo should not be allowed to play women's tennis because she was "half a man". Then there's John McEnroe, whose exploits need not be mentioned. Yet it is The Williams Sisters who allegedly bring shame to the game.

    The Williams Sisters have made the women's game the power game that it is today, which brought men in as fans and viewers. And The Williams Sisters are still playing and loving the game. Yes, they play fewer tournaments than other players. But this has extended their longevity in the game and kept them from burning out so soon, which is what happened to Justine Henin and, most recently, Marion Bartoli.

    Yes, Serena experienced a few outbursts. Yes, it is uncommon for black tennis players to attain the level of success that The Williams Sisters did. However, they should be considered praiseworthy, not suspect.

  25. Tim

    It is absolutely incredible to me , how some of you can justify the Williams sisters behavior. I'm mean , seriously!!! I could care less that Serena was fined at the U.S . Open for threatening the lines woman . She should have been permanently barred from the sport. Can you imagine a young child watching that match, what a beautiful role model serena is !!! And what about the lines woman, how do you think that affected her, she was simply doing her job!!! Yet some of you place serena on this throne , how insane and shame on you for backing her!! Shame on you!!! Is is a known fact that the Williams sisters shun almost everyone , except their little clan that they created themselves. It is a known fact that they display a level of arrogance that never existed before them!! It is a known fact that they are extremely rude to everyone except their little clan. It is a known fact that they treat tournament employees like trash, expecting the red carpet rollout at the snap of their fingers. It is a known fact, that any form of appreciation is a show, and you can easily see that it's all for pr. It is a known fact that they were brainwashed as kids by their parents , especially racist dad, to seclude themselves exclusively, all for self mental and emotional gain, which in turn results in a feeling of superiority over everyone else, except their little clan. Should I go on????
    Again, the best thing for the tennis world and sports in general, is a quick and immediate retirement, with a public apology to the world upon their exit for all the primitive , uncivilized outburts over the years , along with their display of arrogance. Please, please, I beg you. Retire and slip away into never never land !!!!!

  26. Orbital

    Serena Williams is actually a man. He has the arms of a man, the waste of a man, the shoulders of a man, and even the face of a man. It's quite sad that talented REAL female athletes have had their rightful victories and titles swindled away by this deception. I don't have a problem with Serena playing tennis, but he should really be playing against other men like him so that the game returns to some semblance of fairness.

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