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On the Court with... Venus and Serena Williams    by Matt Christopher order for
On the Court with... Venus and Serena Williams
by Matt Christopher
Order:  USA  Can
Little, Brown & Co., 2002 (2002)
* *   Reviewed by Hilary Williamson

They've been all over the news lately with their Wimbledon wins, so I was very interested in reading this biography of the lives and careers of two tennis superstar sisters. The author begins with their introduction to tennis in an L.A. inner city ghetto in 1984, and continues to their brilliant 2000 Olympics wins.

Matt Christopher presents the Williams' successes against a backdrop of the history of tennis, from an initial game of French royalty, to 1870s lawn tennis for the wealthy, and on to the development of public courts on surfaces easier to maintain than grass. In the 1980s, Richard Williams taught tennis to his youngest daughters, and they soon played regularly against each other, undeterred even when gang bullets interrupted a game.

Venus Williams was quickly recognized as a tennis prodigy and both she and her sister Serena attended the International Tennis Academy (the author explains in detail the sort of practice and discipline needed to make a great athlete). In her first professional match, Venus stood out for her size, race and cornrow hairstyle; she played a mature game and played to win. Her younger sister was never far behind.

The Williams sisters stand out even amongst greats of women's tennis like Billie Jean King, Chris Evert and Martina Navratilova. Their story inspires as does their obvious affection for each other, two sisters who 'captured the imagination of the tennis world.' It's an impressive tale of tennis triumph and it's not over yet!

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