Serena Williams is devoted to junior tennis
By Matt Herb
Special to PlaySportsTV
A young boy, barely taller than his tennis racket, steps onto the court and peers across the net. Standing on the other side, next to a basket filled with tennis balls, is an older man clutching a ball in his right hand. The boy stares straight ahead. The man leans forward and cocks his arm. It looks like a mismatch.
Just then, a woman emerges from a crowd of people lined up on the baseline and takes her place behind the boy, gently lifting his arm into position. She guides his racket toward the ball and together they tap it in the air, watching as it sails back toward the man and his basket. When the ball rolls to a stop, the boy looks up and beams at his new doubles partner. Another ace for Serena Williams.
Anyone looking for help with his or her swing could do a lot worse than to get some tennis tips from Williams. She’s one of the best tennis players in the world, winner of 17 Grand Slam singles titles.
Williams talks about her involvement in junior tennis:
PSTV: You talked about wanting to help kids. Why is that such a big issue for you?
Williams: I really embrace being a role model. I think it’s important. Growing up in Compton, California, I (would take) any opportunity to go see someone who was coming to town who was in tennis, because I was an aspiring tennis player. It changed my world. I remember I met (tennis great) Billie Jean King. I got a chance to see her and work in a clinic with her. I never, ever forgot that moment. It meant the world to me. If I can just return the favor, maybe someone here will make it and then they can return the favor. It becomes a great cycle.
PSTV: What is your message to young people? What kind of things do you tell them in your travels?
Williams: That’s such a wide question. There are so many things I can tell them. I think what’s most important for kids is that they get their education and have fun.
PSTV: Where did the ambition come from as a young kid in Compton to get where you are today?
Williams: It came from my parents. They were the backbone of this whole project. Without them, and God, of course, I wouldn’t be here today for sure.