Venus, Serena pull large crowd in Treasure BeachSunday, November 24, 2013
BY PAUL HENRY email@example.com
THE little girl lobbed the ball in the air and off the tennis court.
multiple tennis champion Venus Williams attempted to play the shot, extending herself, but it was well out of her reach.
It wasn’t the best shot, and you could tell by the girl’s reaction that she knew it.
But if she felt embarrassed by it, all that went out the window within seconds as Williams exclaimed: "Oh my God, that was a trick shot!"
The large group of spectators at the Treasure Beach Sports Park, St Elizabeth erupted in laughter.
The girl brightened up. After all, she was playing with her tennis idol, who along with her younger sister Serena Williams, had been conducting tennis clinics for a number of children at various venues in western Jamaica since late last week.
Among the spectators at yesterday’s clinic in St Elizabeth was former Prime Minister PJ Patterson and World Champion sprinter and Olympian Yohan Blake and fellow Olympian Warren Weir, who teamed up to take on the sisters after being egged on by spectators and their entourage.
Blake grew up watching tennis, but by his showing, which was nonetheless pleasing to the crowd, one could tell that his association with the game never went beyond the television set. The same could be said for 200-metre Olympic bronze medallist Weir. But it was for the fans, and it was fun.
After a few minutes, the four took a break to chit-chat about their chosen professions.
"I figure we can do a 100-metre dash," Venus joked to Blake.
"Thanks for coming out," Serena said before asking: "When do you start back training?"
"I’m in training already," Blake responded. Then asked: "You guys on a break?"
"Yea," said Serena.
Later, Blake presented the sisters with two pairs of headphones that were made for him.
Earlier, the Williams sisters traded balls with several groups of young people, the youngest appearing to be about four years old.
"It was nerve-racking," 14-yearold Immaculate Conception High School student Lauryn Rickman told the Jamaica Observer. "They are my idols."
Her father, Lieutenant Colonel Martin Rickman, said he was proud of his daughter and that he was looking forward to her playing at Wimbledon in the future.
Said 16-year-old Maya Ricketts of Hillel Academy in Kingston: "It was intense. You are playing against world number one. It was really a good experience."