BOSTON — Women’s tennis isn’t the most popular sport in the United States. In a country that drools over alley-oops and touchdown celebrations, women’s tennis often falls by the wayside.
Still, there are a few names within the sport that stand out. Of those few, two of the most prominent are Venus and Serena Williams. You would be hard-pressed to find a duo that has dominated the sport and captured the media the way the Williams sisters have throughout their careers. The only problem is, it’s hard to keep the two on the court.
Over the last two years alone, Venus and Serena have been plagued by continuous injuries that have prevented them from dominating, or even playing the sport of which they once had been the faces.
However, there is a silver lining. On Saturday, the sisters donned their USA jackets as they took the court to face Belarus in the 2012 Fed Cup. Although Venus didn’t see any action, Serena excited the crowd as she defeated Olga Govortsova 7-5, 6-0.
More important, though, Serena seemed to move without pain to her oft-injured left ankle.
“It’s feeling fine.” Williams said. “I’m surprised as how it’s doing considering the diagnosis. … I’m actually really excited about the progress of it. Each day, it gets better. Each week, it gets better.”
With Serena healthy and contributing on the court, Venus is doing her part as well. Team USA’s Christina McHale defeated Anastasiya Yakimova 6-0, 6-4, and Venus could be seen cheering her on from the sidelines.
“It’s really cool,” McHale said. “It’s an honor for me to be on the team with the players, Liezel [Huber], Serena, Venus. It’s a big honor for me. It’s exciting to be able to represent the U.S. with a team like that.”
The Williams sisters aren’t planning to stop after the Fed Cup. The participation may be enough to make Venus and Serena eligible for the 2012 Olympic Games in London. Nothing draws a crowd like a potential gold medal for the USA, and Serena is itching to play after being sidelined by injuries.
“I wanted to play last year, but that was impossible,” Williams explained. “I got incredibly sick. The year before, I ended up having surgery. So yeah, it just didn’t work out in the past. I wish I could have played last year or the year before.”
Having Venus and Serena available for the Olympics would be big news for the state of women’s tennis in the USA. Nothing sparks interest like two fan favorites rejuvenating their careers after overcoming waves of injuries.
With Serena in good health, and Venus set to follow suit, the tennis world is poised to see a giant boost in popularity.