Serena rules the Big Apple
Originally published on: 26/02/10 11:30
Serena Williams beat older sister Venus 6-4, 6-3 to win the four-player BJKC exhibition event in New York on Monday. It marked the return of womens tennis to Madison Square Garden after a nine-year absence.
The Williams sisters were joined at the glitzy showdown by super Serbs Jelena Jankovic and Ana Ivanovic the awesome foursome faced off in two one-set semis, with the winners advancing to a best of three set final.
‘Billie Jean has probably done more than anyone in the world to empower women’ – Clinton
The first semi went according to the world rankings with world No.1 and Aussie Open champ Serena triumphing over former world No.1 and 2008 French Open champion Ana Ivanovic 6-3. Venus then ensured an all-American final when she toppled Jankovic 6-4.
Youd never have guessed theres an economic downturn going on with each player leaving the venue with a minimum of a quarter of a million dollars tucked inside their racket bag.
Serena pocketed $400,000 for three sets work, Venus left with $300,000 while the Serbs left $250,000 richer.
“Venus and I are so excited to be playing here,” Serena said after the final. “It was really good, really intense,” the 27-year-old added.
Before the final, an emotional ceremony was held to honour sporting legend and equal rights campaigner Billie Jean King. Bill Clinton led the procedure.
“There were millions of young women all across America who couldn’t play sports or pursue dreams that were thought to be the province of boys,” Clinton said. “That was before Billie Jean King.
“She’s done a lot not only to help women pursue their tennis dreams but other dreams well beyond athletics. She has probably done more than anyone in the world to empower women and to educate men.”
King said: “The seeds for this historic event were planted almost 40 years ago when nine of us…signed a $1 contract to play a tournament in Houston.
“We had such big plans for our sport. We dreamed of playing in the world’s greatest arenas, like Madison Square Garden.”