Jacksonville Sports News, Sam Kouvaris - SamSportsline.com

Proud Americans

It’s a shame Venus was injured and couldn’t perform at the top of her game in the finals at Wimbledon, but in truth, the women’s finals wasn’t about who won and who lost. The Williams sisters, Venus and Serena, are far and away the best female players in the world. Yes Kim Clistjers and Justine Hennen-Hardenne occasionally give them a game, but it’s still not close.

Venus is taller, older and has tremendous speed, while Serena has worked herself into a fitness level perhaps not seen before in women’s tennis. Maybe Martina Navratilova approached it, but never got to the level Serena is at.

Serena won in three sets, taking her second Wimbledon crown and her fifth Grand Slam title in the last six events. But besides the tennis, the fact that two American women are dominating an international sport is impressive in itself.

American men are almost extinct on the international tennis scene. Agassi is aging and Sampras is retiring. Andy Roddick is 20 years old, and might be a force, but not yet. In a time when the question is “Why does everybody hate the Americans?” the Williams sisters are gaining, not retreating in popularity. The ten minutes after their match showed exactly why. Serena was the victor, and graciously acknowledged the crowd’s applause. Then she went and sat by her sister, and chatted her up about the match, and her injury. Like you’re supposed to act after a win! The on court interview conducted by both sisters wasn’t full of me this and me that. It was genial, cordial, thoughtful, and even a little funny.

Both sisters suffered early in their career from the boorish behavior of their father. His training of the two girls to be champions is undeniable. His actions once they reached the top were despicable. Without their father there and their mother present at Centre Court, neither of the sisters was embarrassed by a parent or their siblings, and neither were we. Maybe it’s just the holiday, but I was proud to say, “they’re Americans” after watching that.