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Williams can get even better

It has been really fascinating to watch the Williams sisters take on the rest of the women with such aplomb. The sisters will now clash for The Championship, a match-up that I, thought was always on the cards.
PTI | By Leander Paes
UPDATED ON JUL 04, 2003 11:44 PM IST

It has been really fascinating to watch the Williams sisters take on the rest of the women on the WTA circuit with such aplomb. With just one more round to go at The Championships, it will be the top seeded Serena taking on elder sister Venus, a match-up that I, for sure, thought was always on the cards.

I have been on the road for well over a decade now, and the way women's tennis has changed, full marks to Venus and Serena!!! They have raised the bar so high, that today if a new bunch wants to challenge them, they will have to do something really big to get past them.

The Belgian girls --- Kim Clijsters, now hovering close to the No.1 rank on the WTA computer, and Justine Henin-Hardenne --- have come pretty close to matching the Williams sisters. But, don't get fooled by a few results, which have gone against these daring American sisters whose zest and zeal for success is amazing.

In my mind, what really separates Serena and Venus from the rest of the bunch is not just the talent, but their physical strength, their power, their fitness and speed. So many out there are complaining that the sisters are monopolising the Grand Slam events, but has anyone thought how they worked their way to the top?

I have seen on several occasions these sisters at practice. The intensity is so high, it makes me wonder what would be happening if they were to compete as much as the others in regular WTA events. In comparison to the Belgians, the Williams have played fewer tournaments this year. And they have not even done half as well as they can in doubles as their primary focus is on singles. I admire Serena and Venus for what they are. Theirs has been a rise to the top with no short cuts. They are hardworking, focussed and really do not worry about what the rest say about them. When Martina Hingis was winning and on top, none of us thought she would be dislodged. But the way these sisters have come along, women's tennis has undergone a huge change.

I see nothing wrong with Serena being so intimidating when she plays on court. Serena and Venus are genetically much superior but that alone is not the factor why they are able to wipe out the opposition so regularly.

If there are a few voices in the locker rooms saying Serena and Venus are boring, please, don't listen to them. Whatever levels these women have reached and whatever standards they have set are all through hard work and purely legitimate means.

They have laboured like none before and complaining about their supremacy is not the right thing. Today, there are a number of Russian teenagers knocking on the doors. They know that to challenge the Williams sisters means not only playing at their best levels, but also trying to be as strong as these Americans.

Talking of form, I think Serena and Venus can play at even a much higher level. Right now, the competition they face is not so great that they have to play at their best. I am sure the day a few stronger women come and challenge them, we will be getting to see women's tennis at an altogether different plane.

Lastly, I would like to mention that even though Serena is so muscular, she does have the aura of feminity to go with it. (PMG)

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