- The Washington Times - Wednesday, July 15, 2009

Serena Williams isn’t opposed to taking risks, especially if it means impressing President Obama.

The Wimbledon champion met the president and his family during a visit to the White House on Tuesday and received a compliment on her 5-inch Fendi high heels.

“He said he liked my shoes,” she beamed, acknowledging that the elevation of her footwear created a dicey situation for a woman financially reliant on her feet.

Later Tuesday, she replaced the strappy numbers for a pair of Nike tennis shoes as a member of the Washington Kastles of World TeamTennis.

Her presence at Kastles Court downtown had an impact as the Kastles beat the Newport Beach Breakers 22-12 before a sellout crowd of more than 3,000. Williams dropped just three games in the three events she played, teaming with Leander Paes to win the mixed doubles event 5-0, joining Rennae Stubbs in winning the women’s doubles 5-1 and clinching the team win with a 5-2 triumph over Marie-Eve Pelletier in women’s singles.

Tuesday nights Kastles win was their fifth in a row after starting the season 0-4. Williams has appeared in four of the teams wins, winning 11 of the 12 events in which she played, dropping only a 5-1 set to 14-year-old Madison Keys of the Philadelphia Freedoms on Monday.

Her success is not surprising.

In the last 10 years, no women’s tennis player has amassed a resume as impressive as Williams’. There are the 11 Grand Slam singles titles. There are nine Grand Slam doubles titles, plus two mixed doubles wins thrown in for good measure. With titles at every major venue, her focus now is on history. Next up is World TeamTennis founder Billie Jean King, winner of 12 majors, who was in attendance Tuesday.

“I think she’ll more than catch me,” King said. “She’s a great player and a fantastic athlete and a great ambassador for our sport.”

Williams and sister Venus both attended World TeamTennis clinics with King as preteens in Southern California. They have been the face of the tour in recent years, frequently playing one another in Grand Slam finals while other players hoped for just a shot at glory.

“Their story is incredible,” said Stacey Allaster, the newly appointed president and CEO of the WTA Tour. “Their leadership on the court and off the court… the amount of time they give to the business of the tour is incredible.”

Of course, Williams now enters the WTA Tour’s hardcourt season without the world’s top ranking despite winning Wimbledon and the Australian Open this year. That honor belongs to muscular Russian Dinara Safina, who has yet to win a single Grand Slam.

“For the most part, everyone thinks I’m number one,” she said. “I had a chance to win Wimbledon whether I was No. 1 or No. 500.”

King, for her part, defended the rankings system because it encourages players to play more often; Williams often has been criticized for skipping tournaments or focusing her attention on off-court endeavors. She has a fashion line and has done acting and voice-over work.

Her latest project has been writing a storyline for a possible television show based on her life. With a case filled with trophies and a visit to the White House to brag about, there should be enough interesting material for her to work with.

LOAD COMMENTS ()

 

Click to Read More

Click to Hide