Tuesday, September 04, 2007

Two Titans Set to Meet in a Clash of the Contented

Published: September 4, 2007

The veneer of the bold one with the curves of a question mark and the slight one with the bod of an exclamation point belies the depth of similarity between Serena Williams and Justine Henin.

Yes, Serena (pictured) tenderizes fuzzy orbs while Justine dusts them like rare vases. And, quite visibly, Serena is the fashionably late sort who accessorizes for each match while the prompt Justine is more functional with her displays.

“I cannot live without my watch,” Justine said, adding, “I sleep with it. I take my shower — everything.”

Justine and Serena will never be in sync on the surface, playing the part as the odd couple when they appear in tonight’s quarterfinal of the United States Open.

And, ordinarily, there would be some delicious drama surrounding the differences between two players who have not always been on each other’s buddy list. But now, the contrasting rivals have a common bond: Out of complex family dynamics, they have managed to convert personal happiness into a performance strategy.

Joy has been good for their games. Hooray, inner peace.

Justine and Serena have recently found an almost Zen center amid their peripatetic careers and, along the way, discovered a professional respect for each other. Revenge is so yesterday.

“We both have been very strong mentally on the court,” Henin said of Serena, whom she has beaten in the quarterfinals of the last two majors. “She won Grand Slams; I did. She’s been No. 1 and I’ve been. So it’s great. You know, now let’s go and play and we’ll see what’s going to happen. But there’s a lot of respect professionally between the two of us, that’s for sure.”

What happened to the “Mean Girls”? Now there are bouquets between these two players, but are heart-dotted I’s good for the Tour? A little friction would be a welcome element to a women’s draw at the Open that has had the same sedating effect as Ambien and the same numbing result as John McEnroe’s endless commercial loop on audiences this past week.

The men’s side of the Open has consistently wowed fans with intense rallies that only end with shots from a pool shark’s repertory. Who was Minnesota Fats yesterday? Tommy Haas or James Blake during a five-set match of double dare?

In the past, you could count on Justine and Serena to tuck a dull women’s Grand Slam event under a revival tent with a match peppered with hot shots and steely glances.

But respect doesn’t have to be boring. At Wimbledon, Serena and Justine traded shots for three sets. Bliss doesn’t have to mean a loss of edge. In fact, contentment may be the best chance to keep Justine and Serena playing through a whole season — each season.

What the women’s tour needs most is player attendance. Maybe all Justine and Serena need to sustain their presence is a healthy family circle.

Over the past few months, Richard Williams and Oracene Price, though never to be confused with amicable exes, have been tolerating each other enough to appear as a united front at big events for their daughters, Venus and Serena. They even shared the same player’s box at Wimbledon this year. Not long ago, at the 2002 French Open, Oracene let loose this telling remark when asked, Where’s Richard been lately? “In the States, where he belongs.”

The dysfunction has apparently softened. As one member of the Williams camp said privately this week, the regular vision of Richard and Oracene means “everyone is here for Venus and Serena and that’s what counts.”

The ins and outs of Serena’s career have paralleled the good times and bad of an off-the-court life that has been often described as difficult, but never fully explained. As a rule, the Williams family gives a little, but never tells all.

There has been similar murkiness around Justine’s career undulations. She has been all at once the feisty competitor who has played Open matches hurt and the mysterious one who withdraws without an explanation. This year, she discovered the art of full disclosure when she pulled out of the Australian Open with a good reason: She was divorcing Pierre-Yves Hardenne.

Hardenne was her boyfriend when Justine cut off contact with her family in 1999. Why is an unknown, but in April, after her older brother slipped into a coma, Justine raced to his bedside to be there when he awoke. The reunion stuck. Her family is part of Justine’s life again.

“I feel great with the decisions I took,” Henin said, adding: “Yeah, I decided to live by myself. Then being in contact with my family, which was great, it’s the best decision I took in the last few years. It’s just a great feeling.”

Justine and Serena have good vibes in common. If only inner peace can heal the curious injuries and end the disappearing acts of two rivals who don’t have to loathe each other to help the Tour. Just be around to play.



Anonymous said...

cheap wedding gowns,
discount bridal gowns,
China wedding dresses,
discount designer wedding dresses,
China wedding online store,
plus size wedding dresses,
cheap informal wedding dresses,
junior bridesmaid dresses,
cheap bridesmaid dresses,
maternity bridesmaid dresses,
discount flower girl gowns,
cheap prom dresses,
party dresses,
evening dresses,
mother of the bride dresses,
special occasion dresses,
cheap quinceanera dresses,
hot red wedding dresses

Anonymous said...

replica Watches
replica Watches
replica Watches
fake Watches
knockoff Watches
replica Rolex Watches
replica Breitling Watches
replica Cartier Watches
replica Omega Watches
replica Tag Heuer Watches
replica Bell & Ross Watches
replica Panerai Watches
replica IWC Watches
replica Patek Philippe Watches
replica Chopard Watches
replica Gucci Watches
replica Corum Watches
replica Montblanc Watches
replica Jacob & Co Watches
replica A.Dunhill Watches
replica A.Lange & Sohne Watches
replica Alain Silberstein Watches
replica Audemars Piguet Watches
replica B.R.M Watches
replica Baume & Mercier Watches
replica Blancpain Watches
replica BMW Watches
replica Breguet Watches
replica Burberry Watches
replica Bvlgari Watches
replica Chronoswiss Watches
replica Concord Watches
replica D&G Watches
replica De Witt Watches
replica Dior Watches

Anonymous said...

Replica Handbags
Fake Handbags
Knockoff Handbags

Replica Louis Vuitton Handbags
Replica Gucci Handbags
Replica Chanel Handbags
Prada Handbags
Replica Fendi Handbags
Replica Dolce Gabbana Handbags
Replica Chloe Handbags
Replica Jimmy Choo Handbags
Replica Thomas Wylde Handbags
Replica MiuMiu Handbags

Replica Balenciaga Handbags
Replica Coach Handbags
Replica Lancel Handbags
Replica Hermes Handbags
Replica Marc Jacobs Handbags
Replica Anya Hindmarch Handbags
Replica YSL Handbags
Replica Mulberry Handbags
Replica Givenchy Handbags
Replica Valentino Handbags
Replica Versace Handbags
Replica Cartier Handbags
Replica Marni Handbags
Replica Bottega Veneta Handbags
Replica Loewe Handbags
Replica Kooba Handbags

Replica Bally Handbags
Replica Burberry Handbags
Replica Christian Dior Handbags
Replica Juicy Couture Handbags
Replica Ferragamo Handbags
Replica Celine Handbags

Anonymous said...

good health for you
[URL=http://alkeran.8m.net/ointment/map.html]Beast online erythromycin ophthalmic ointment[/URL] [URL=http://allegra.9f.com/evista/map.html]Beast online evista for treatment resistant depression[/URL] [URL=http://alkeran.8m.net/combipres/map.html]Beast online combipres[/URL] [URL=http://amaryl.iwarp.com/levitra/map.html]Beast online levitra side effects blue tinge[/URL] [URL=http://alphagan.s5.com/yasmin/map.html]Beast online difference between yaz and yasmin[/URL]
We will not miss you

Anonymous said...

hotel booking usa
[url=http://vimeo.com/user4498961]cheap hotels in la
[/url]stingy los angeles hotels
skytrax airline reviews
cheap flights europe
[url=http://www.earthday.org/users/48490]hotel louvre
[/url]harvard housing
hotel trips
airline booking
[url=http://www.fairview.org/cty/members/klemot/default.aspx]hotel amarante beau manoir
[/url]bed shoddy rates
housing subsidized
aus flights
[url=http://www.youthcabinet.org/profile/Josh]hotel prices in france
[/url]3 principal hotels
cathay oldest distinction
cathay frugality caste
[url=http://www.beautyresearch.com/blogs/alexa/archive/2010/08/15/hotels-and-accomodations.aspx]hotel country house
[/url]hotel ?toiles
age case encyclopedia
accommodate hut
[url=http://www.mazdacommunity.com/profiles/blogs/special-hotel-offers-or]cheap hotels motels
[/url]cheese-paring family cleaners
b and b hotels
economy airliner

Anonymous said...

free slots online casinos
of gambling games
online pogo bingo
slotplus online casino
internet gambling casinos
style dark-skinned jack
online casino river gold
absolute online casino
slit utensil enchiridion
online casino & online poker room
casino online gaming slots free
ballys spot machines
teenage internet gambling
online casino player com
elvis place gadget
internet gambling illegal pennsylvania
internet casino gambling game
pennsylvania state sweepstake
silver dollar online casino
free online gambling slots
printable sight word bingo
internet gambling casinos
Goddess casino online
casinos new york state
casino price guide free online
play casino slot free online
Strategie de poker en ligne
betting casino gambline online
is online gambling legal california
free blackjack games learn
Slots Vegas online casino
on internet gambling
casino theme parties supplies