Monday, July 9, 2007

Venus Risen

Richard Williams, father of newly crowned, four-time Wimbledon champ Venus and current Australian Open queen Serena, molded his most famous daughters in his own image ... and while the public may recognize in them his image of flamboyance and self-obsession, in most ways they seemed to have turned out mostly like their mom, the private and confident Oracene Price.

Father Williams gloats in his mythology of creating tennis champs from ghetto cinderellas. He claims he saw a white woman handed a big check on TV for winning a tennis tournament and decided he would sire and rear tennis's future, although he knew nothing about tennis. And while Venus and Serena (having established their potential) actually grew up mostly on Florida courts, rather than between the glass littered lines in Compton and pro coaches did parade in front of them, there is still a certain essence of truth in the stories their father spins. Not that the stories don't occasionally spin out of control he was found culpable but not liable by a jury last year over various shenanigans.

But it is Price who sits meditatively at their tournaments. She is the one who seems most clearly to know who she is and where she wants to go. And rather than ache to stir up trouble like her ex-husband, she simply flicks a fuss away when it finds her, much as Venus did in being the unexpected ruler of The Championships for the second time in three years.

** The father has his goals, but the children have their fates. **

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