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Huntingdon Woman’s Club members hear story of tennis players Serena and Venus Williams

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The Huntingdon Woman’s Club met on March 2 on a beautiful, warm and sunny day. Mrs. Tony Tucker served as hostess to the twelve women present.  Mrs. Tucker decorated the tables with black and adorned with jewels, crowns and pink sequin fedora hats to emphasis the fashion savvy of two professional tennis players, Serena and Venus Williams. She also placed tennis racquets as center pieces.  Mrs. Tucker welcomed the ladies and opened the meeting with a reflection of the beautiful sunny day with Psalm 118:24 “This is the day the Lord has made; let us rejoice and be glad in it.” The ladies then enjoyed a country buffet.

President Mrs. Gus Radford opened the business meeting. The roll was called and the minutes of February 16, were read and approved.

Mrs. Tucker then presented her program on what is possibly the best sports story of the modern-day era. She continued the study of Iconic Women Athletes with a look at Serena and Venus Williams.

Throughout their careers, Serena and Venus Williams have shattered every glass ceiling put in their way. Their background has become the stuff of legend. They are the only biological daughters of Richard and Oracene Price Williams who had eight other children from prior marriages. The Williams sisters were taught to play tennis by their father who used tennis manuals and videos to instruct them, believing that tennis offered them the best chance at sustained sporting success. They started playing at the early age of three and four as there was only one year difference in their ages. To achieve his dream of raising two of the most talented tennis stars, the young Williams sisters spent hours, day after day, practicing the game on tennis courts in the gang-infested city of Compton, California. It was not uncommon for their court to be littered with drug addicts’ syringes and for them to hear random gunfire while training. They practiced on courts littered with broken concrete and shards of glass and often absent nets.

The Williams sisters burst onto the professional scene in the late 1990’s with braids in their hair and rocket-powered games, employing big serves, open-stance backhands and an indomitable will to win. Serena struck first, claiming the US Open title in 1999 at the age of 17. Venus followed a year later, winning the Open in 2000 and again in 2001, when she defeated her younger sister in New York’s first prime-time women’s final.

Both sisters have been ranked by the Women’s Tennis Association at the world No.1 position in both singles and doubles. In 2002, after the French Open, the sisters were ranked No.1 and No.2, marking the first time in history that sisters occupied the top 2 singles spots in the world rankings. As it currently stands, Venus is an all-time great. She has won two US Open titles, five Wimbledon championships and an Olympic gold medal in singles. Serena, is perhaps the greatest female player in tennis history, with an Open era-record 23 Grand Slam singles titles and an Olympic singles gold medal of her own. The sisters have been just as formidable as a team pairing to win three Olympic women’s doubles golds and 14 Grand Slam women’s doubles titles.

Even more amazing, at 36 and 35 years old, the sisters continue to write chapters in the sport’s records. Their matchups have become so frequent they have squared off 28 times in all, nine in a Grand Slam final. We may never see a story like theirs again.

The next meeting will be held on March 16 with Mrs. Charles Leslie sharing on the American soccer player, Mia Hamm.

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