was an Italian cyclist and Olympic champion , died he was, 101. He won a gold medal at the 1932 Olympic Games in Los Angeles, in the Individual Road Race, as well as a gold medal in the Team Road Race. He turned 100 in October 2010. He died at the age of almost 101 years, on August 2 of the next year, in a retirement home of Buenos Aires, Argentina. At the time of his death he was thought to be the oldest surviving Olympic champion  and one of the oldest living Olympic competitors.
(October 1, 1910 – August 2, 2011)
Pavesi turned professional after his Olympic victories, but his only subsequent success was a stage win in the 1934 Tour of Tuscany.
At the start of World War II he emigrated to Argentina where he took part in Six-day racing in Buenos Aires.[5
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Eliseo Alberto, Cuban-born Mexican writer, died from complications from a kidney transplant he was 59
Eliseo Alberto de Diego García Marruz
(September 10, 1951 – July 31,
was a Cuban-born
and journalist d from complications from a kidney transplant he was 59.
His numerous works included the novel Caracol Beach.
Alberto was nicknamed Lichi.
Alberto was born in Arroyo Naranjo, Cuba, on
September 10, 1951.
His mother was Bella García Marruz.
His father, Eliseo Diego,
was one of Cuba’s best known poets and a member of a well known Havana-based
family which included writers, screenwriters and musicians.
Alberto’s father often held tertulias, or gatherings of
writers and other Cuban literary figures, at their home when he was growing up.
He worked as a journalist, based in Havana.
Alberto fled into exile
in 1990. The Cuban government had executed Arnaldo
Ochoa and had begun to more strictly persecute writers and other intellectuals
during the late 1980s and early 1990s.
laureate Gabriel García Márquez
reportedly helped Alberto escape Cuba and find a new home in Mexico City.
He became a Mexican citizen in 2000.
Alberto never returned to Cuba and spoke of his experiences in exile, “The
worse thing about exile is that the places you inhabit don’t remind you of
anything”….”exile becomes your homeland.”
Alberto’s novels often touched on the themes of Christian morality, including
He focused much of his attention on characters living in his native city,
Some of his novels set in Havana include La fábula de José ( José’s
Fable) and La eternidad por fin comienza un lunes (Eternity
Finally Begins on a Monday), about the life of a lion trainer, Tartufo, who
grieves after the death of the lion, named Goldwyn Mayer.
Although known as a novelist, Alberto was also a poet and screenwriter
for films and television shows.
He worked as a professor at film schools in Cuba, Mexico
and the United States, including the Sundance Institute.
His credits as a screenwriter included the film Guantanamera.
A fierce critic of Cuba’s Communist government, Alberto
released a 1997 book criticizing Fidel
Castro, entitled Informe contra mi mismo or Dossier
In the 1997 book, Alberto revealed that the Cuban government had asked him to
spy on his father’s tertulias in 1978 while he was serving in the Cuban
He was also asked to spy on Cuban exiles returning to the country.
Alberto spoke about the book at the Miami Book Fair
He was awarded the Premio Alfaguara de Novela
literary prize for Caracol Beach in 1998.
The novel, perhaps his best known work, follows a war veteran living in a
fictitious town in Florida who is haunted by visions of a Bengal tiger with
Caracol Beach was translated into English for publication in the United
Eliseo Alberto died of complications from a kidney transplant, including
heart and respiratory failure, in Mexico City on July 31, 2011, at the age of
He had been diagnosed with kidney failure in 2009 and received the transplant
on July 18, 2011.
His funeral was held in Mexico City, while his ashes were returned to Havana.
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Richard de Pearsall Pearson
(1 August 1918 – 2 August 2011)
was a Welsh actor died he was , 93. Notable films of his career included Brian Desmond Hurst‘s Scrooge (1951) as well as a brief appearance in John Schlesinger‘s Sunday Bloody Sunday (1971) and cameo roles in three films by Roman Polanski: Macbeth (1971), Tess (1979) and Pirates (1986). Pearson made his stage debut at age 18 at London‘s Collins’s Music Hall, but didn’t make his film debut until 32 when he played a Sergeant in the motion picture The Girl is Mine (1950) which was followed a year later by his performance as Mr. Tupper in Scrooge.
In later years, he is perhaps best known for his role as Mole in Cosgrove Hall‘s The Wind in the Willows (1983), its subsequent television series, The Wind in the Willows which led on from the original film and its spin-off programme Oh, Mr. Toad both of which he starred alongside David Jason, Peter Sallis and Michael Hordern. He has also has appeared in episodes of One Foot in the Grave as Victor Meldrew’s absent-minded brother, Alfred and the Men Behaving Badly episode “Three Girlfriends” as Gary’s father Mr Strang. He played Mr. Pye in the 1985 TV movie Marple: The Moving Finger. Pearson died on August 2, 2011, one day after his 93rd birthday. .
Richard Pearson married the actress Patricia Dickson in 1949. She and
their two sons, one of whom, Patrick, is also an actor, survive him.
- The Girl is Mine (1950)
- The Woman in Question (1950)
- The Clouded Yellow (1950)
- Scrooge (1951)
- The Blue Parrot (1953)
- Fabian of the Yard (1954)
- Dangerous Cargo (1954)
- Svengali (1954)
- Sea Fury (1958)
- Life in Danger (1959)
- Model for Murder (1959)
- The Crowning Touch (1959)
- Libel (1959)
- Man in the Moon (1960)
- Guns of Darkness (1962)
- The King’s Breakfast (1963)
- The Comedy Man (1964)
- The Yellow Rolls-Royce (1964)
- The Caramel Crisis (1966)
- Charlie Bubbles (1967)
- How I Won the War (1967)
- The Strange Affair (1968)
- Inspector Clouseau (1968)
- The Rise and Rise of Michael Rimmer (1970)
- Sunday Bloody Sunday (1971)
- To Catch a Spy (1971)
- The Tragedy of Macbeth (1971)
- Pope Joan (1972)
- It Shouldn’t Happen to a Vet (1975)
- One of Our Dinosaurs Is Missing (1975)
- Royal Flash (1975)
- The Blue Bird (1976)
- Tess (1979)
- The Mirror Crack’d (1980)
- The Wind in the Willows (1983)
- Water (1985)
- Whoops Apocalypse (1986)
- Pirates (1986)
- Men in Black II (2002)
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Allan Clyde Holding Australian politician, was Leader of the Opposition in Victoria for ten years, and was later a federal
minister died he was 80..
(27 April 1931 – 31 July 2011)
Early life and
Holding joined the Australian
Labor Party as a student,
and during the Labor
Party split of 1954–55,
during which he supported the party’s federal leader, Dr H.V. Evatt,he was Secretary of the Young Labor
organisation in Victoria. As a young lawyer he was a prominent campaigner
against the death penalty and in favour of the rights of indigenous
Australians. His law firm, Holding, Ryan and Redlich,
became one of the leading industrial law firms in Melbourne.
In 1962 Holding was elected to
Legislative Assembly for
the seat of Richmond, which had previously been held for many years by
mostly conservative Catholic Labor Party members, although his immediate
predecessor, Frank Crean, was a Presbyterian. Clive Stoneham, who had been ALP leader from 1958 onwards, was
no match for the dominant Liberal Premier, Sir Henry Bolte. After Labor suffered its fifth
consecutive defeat at the 1967 election, Holding took over from Stoneham as
Although Holding was in some ways
a social radical, he was opposed to the left-wing faction which had taken
control of the Victorian Labor Party following the 1955 split, which had seen
many right-wing members expelled. In particular, he supported government aid
for non-government, including Catholic, schools, which the left bitterly
opposed. He was a supporter of the reforming federal Labor leader, Gough Whitlam, who was determined to reform the Victorian
branch as a precondition of winning a federal election. He was also a close
ally of the ACTU president, Bob Hawke.
During the 1970 state election
campaign, which some commentators suggested Labor could win as a result of voter fatigue with the Liberals after their 15 years in power,
Holding campaigned on the new federal policy of supporting state aid to
non-government schools. The week before the election, the left-wing state
president, George Crawford and state secretary, Bill
Hartley, issued a
statement saying that a Victorian Labor government would not support state aid.
As a result Whitlam refused to campaign for Labor in Victoria, and Holding was
forced to repudiate his own policy. Faced with evidence of Labor disunity, the
voters re-elected the Bolte government.
This episode led directly to
federal intervention in the Victorian branch of the Labor Party. In 1971 the
left-wing leadership was overturned by the National Executive and allies of Whitlam, Hawke and Holding took
control. The left then formed an organised faction, the Socialist
Left, to agitate for
socialist policies, supported by some unions. This continuing conflict in the
party made it difficult for Holding to oppose the Liberal government effectively.The surge in support for federal Labor
which saw Whitlam elected Prime Minister in 1972 was not reflected in Victorian
state politics. Bolte retired in 1972, and his successor, Dick Hamer, comfortably won the 1973 and 1976 state
Holding resigned as Opposition
Leader after the 1976 election, and in 1977 he was elected to the House
of Representatives as
member for the seat of Melbourne
Ports, which then included Holding’s base in Richmond.
He defeated Simon Crean, son of Holding’s predecessor, to win
Labor pre-selection. After the 1980 election, at which Hawke was elected to
federal Parliament, Holding emerged as Hawke’s key “numbers man” in
his campaign to become leader of the federal Labor Party.
When Hawke was elected Prime
Minister at the 1983 election, he insisted that Holding be included in the
ministry, and gave him the difficult but symbolically important portfolio of Aboriginal Affairs. Holding was a strong supporter of land
rights for Indigenous
Australians, and his main ambition as minister was to bring in legislation for
uniform national land rights, which the 1967 amendment to the Australian
Constitution would have
permitted. But the Labor Premier
of Western Australia, Brian Burke, strongly objected to such a step, which would
have upset the powerful mining and pastoral industries in his state. Burke
lobbied Hawke and as a result Holding was forced by Hawke to drop the proposal.
This was the end of Holding’s close relationship with Hawke.
In 1987 Holding was shifted to
the portfolio of Minister for Employment Services and Youth Affairs. In 1988 he became Minister for Transport and Communications
Support. A few months
later he was promoted to Cabinet and made Minister for Immigration, Local Government and Ethnic
Affairs, but later in the
year there was another reshuffle and he was demoted to the Arts and Territories
portfolio, outside Cabinet. He held this post until the 1990 election, when he
was dropped from the ministry.
Holding remained in the House as
a backbencher until his retirement in 1998.
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Venere Pizzinato, Italian supercentenarian, oldest person in Europe and third-oldest living person in the world died he was , 114
Venere Pizzinato Italian supercentenarian, oldest person in Europe and third-oldest living person in the world died he was , 114
(23 November 1896 – 2 August 2011)
was an Italian supercentenarian who was the oldest verified person from Italy,
living to the age of 114 years, 252 days. She became one of the ten
oldest living people in March 2010. Pizzinato was also the oldest person
ever to have been born in the Austrian-Hungarian empire. At the time of her death, Pizzinato was the 3rd oldest living person in the world, one of the 10 oldest Europeans ever, and one of the 40 oldest people ever
verified in world history. At the time of her death she was the oldest
person ever from Italy, a title she held until 13 December 2011 when she
was surpassed by Dina Manfredini.
She was born in Ala, Trentino,
then part of the Austrian-Hungarian empire, on 23 November 1896. In
1902 the family moved to Verona, where they had relatives. In 1903, the
family moved back to Trentino were Pizzinato attended a boarding school
in its capital city, Trento. World War I forced Pizzinato to take refuge in Bazzano, Bologna.
After the war she moved back to Milan were she took Italian citizenship
and met her future husband Isidoro Papo. During the outbreak of World War two, in 1939, the couple moved to Nice, France, to escape the Fascist regime of Benito Mussolini.
They married in France, and after the war, they moved back to Milan.
Upon retirement in 1964, the couple moved to Verona, where they finally
settled. Mr. Papo died in 1981. The couple never had any children.
Pizzinato remained in Verona for the rest of her life; at the time of
her death, she lived in a retirement home there.
On 23 November 2010, marking her 114th birthday, Pizzinato was visited by Italy’s president Giorgio Napolitano,
who wrote her a letter with the words “In this happy and special
occasion I would like to send, on behalf of all Italians, sincere
congratulations and good wishes of serenity with her loved ones and
people around the community Saint Catherine in Verona”.
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Who is Venus Ebony Starr Williams? The sports and entertainment world knows her as Venus Williams, Williams is an American professional tennis player who is a former World No. 1 and currently ranked World No. 29 in singles and World No. 20 in doubles as of 2011. she has been ranked World No. 1 in singles by the Women’s Tennis Association on three separate occasions. She became the World No. 1 for the first time on February 25, 2002, becoming the first black woman to achieve this feat during the open era.
Her 21 Grand Slam titles ties her for twelfth on the all time list and is more than any other active female player except for her younger sister Serena Williams. Venus Williams’ titles consist of: seven in singles, twelve in women’s doubles, and two in mixed doubles. Those seven Grand Slam singles titles ties her with four other women for twelfth place on the all-time list. Her five Wimbledon singles titles ties her with two other women for eighth place on the all-time list. Venus Williams is one of only three women in the open era to have won five or more Wimbledon singles titles. From the 2000 Wimbledon Championships through the 2001 US Open, Williams won four of the six Grand Slam singles tournaments held. She is one of only five women in the open era to win 200 or more main draw Grand Slam singles matches.
Williams has won three Olympic gold medals, one in singles and two in women’s doubles. She has won more Olympic gold medals than any other female tennis player. At the 2000 Sydney Olympics, Williams became only the second player to win Olympic gold medals in both singles and doubles at the same Olympic Games, after Helen Wills Moody in 1924.
With 43 career singles titles, Williams leads active players on the WTA Tour. Her 35-match winning streak from the 2000 Wimbledon Championships to the 2000 Generali Ladies Linz tournament final is the longest winning streak since January 1, 2000. She is also one of only two active WTA players to have made the finals of all four Grand Slams, the other player being her sister Serena Williams . Venus Williams holds the record for the fastest serve ever by a female professional tennis player at 130 mph.
Venus Williams has played against her sister Serena Williams in 23 professional matches since 1998, with Serena winning 13 of the 23 matches. They have played against each other in eight Grand Slam singles finals, with Serena winning six times. Beginning with the 2002 French Open, they opposed each other in four consecutive Grand Slam singles finals, the first time ever in the open era that the same two players played against each other in four consecutive Grand Slam singles finals, yet alone sisters. On the doubles side, the pair have won 12 Grand Slam doubles titles playing alongside each other.
Venus Williams was born in Lynwood, California, June 17, 1980, to Richard Williams and Oracene Price. She is the second youngest of Oracene’s five daughters: half-sisters Yetunde (died September 14, 2003), Lyndrea and Isha Price, and younger sister Serena.
Williams’s family moved from Compton, California, to West Palm Beach, when she was ten, so that Venus `could attend the tennis academy of Rick Macci, who would provide additional coaching. Macci spotted the exceptional talents of the sisters. He did not always agree with Williams’s father but respected that “he treated his daughters like kids, allowed them to be little girls”. Richard stopped sending his daughters to national junior tennis tournaments when Williams was eleven, since he wanted them to take it slow and focus on school work. Another motivation was racial, as he had allegedly heard parents of white players talk negatively about the black Williams sisters during tournaments. At that time, Venus Williams held a 63–0 record on the United States Tennis Association junior tour and was ranked No. 1 among the under-12 players in Southern California. In 1995, Richard pulled his daughters out of Macci’s academy, and from then on took over all coaching at their home.
Williams is a powerful baseliner, equipped with an attacking all-court game. Her game is very well adapted to grass where she feels most comfortable, which is reflected in her five Wimbledon singles titles. Across her career, she has developed into a skillful volleyer and effectively utilizes her long “wingspan” (1.85m) and agility around the net. Williams also has great court coverage using her long reach to play balls that most players would not be able to reach and is capable of hitting outright winners from a defensive position.
Venus Williams holds the record for the fastest serve struck by a woman in a main draw event. At the Zurich Open, she recorded 130 mph (210 km/h). She also holds the record for fastest serve in all four Grand Slam tournaments: 2003 Australian Open quarterfinal – 125 mph (201 km/h), 2007 French Open second round, 2008 Wimbledon final, 2007 US Open first round – 129 mph (208 km/h). At Wimbledon in 2008, her average first serve speed was 115 mph (185 km/h) in the quarterfinal, 116 mph (187 km/h) in the semifinal, and 111 mph (179 km/h) in the final.
Williams has always been a explosive hitter of the ball off the ground, but her backhand is the more consistently reliable of her groundstrokes. Her backhand is equally effective down-the-line or crosscourt (frequently for a set-up approach shot).Her forehand occasionally breaks down under pressure.However, it is still the more powerful of her groundstrokes and yields many winners, from a variety of court positions.Additionally, it is one of the most powerful forehands in the women’s game,frequently struck in the 85 – 90 mph (140 km/h) range.In the 2008 Wimbledon women’s final, Venus struck a forehand winner measured at 94 mph (IBM/Wimbledon). Only a few women (notably Ivanović, Serena Williams, and Justine Henin) hit to these speeds off the ground.
Williams’s best surface is grass. She has won Wimbledon five times and has reached the final there in eight of the last ten years. The low bounces that grass produces tend to make her first serve an even more powerful weapon. Her movement on grass is also among the best on the WTA tour. Clay is Williams’s weakest surface although she has suffered numerous injuries prior to the French Open. Her movement is suspect and her powerful serve and groundstrokes are less effective. Still, she has won numerous titles on clay.
1994–96: Professional debut
Venus Williams turned professional on October 31, 1994, at the age of fourteen. In the second round of her first professional tournament, the Bank of the West Classic in Oakland, Williams was up a set and a service break against World No. 2 Arantxa Sánchez Vicario before losing the match. That was the only tournament Williams played in 1994.
In 1995, Williams played three more events as a wild card, falling in the first round of the tournament in Los Angeles and the tournament in Toronto but reaching the quarterfinals of the tournament in Oakland, defeating World No. 18 Amy Frazier in the second round for her first win over a top 20 ranked player before losing to Magdalena Maleeva.
Williams played five events in 1996, falling in the first round four times but reaching the third round in Los Angeles, before losing to World No. 1 Steffi Graf.
1997–99: Early success
Williams played 15 tour events in 1997, including five Tier I tournaments. She reached the quarterfinals in three of the Tier I events – the State Farm Evert Cup in Indian Wells, California, the European Indoor Championships in Zürich, and the Kremlin Cup in Moscow. In Indian Wells in March, Williams defeated World No. 9 Iva Majoli in the third round for her first win over a player ranked in the top 10. She then lost in the quarterfinals to World No. 8 Lindsay Davenport in a third set tiebreak. Her ranking broke into the top 100 on April 14, 1997. She made her debut in the main draw of a Grand Slam tournament at the French Open, reaching the second round before losing to Nathalie Tauziat. She then lost in the first round of Wimbledon to Magdalena Grzybowska. During her debut at the US Open, she lost the final to Martina Hingis after defeating Irina Spîrlea in a semifinal famous for “the bump” in which Spîrlea and Williams collided during a changeover. Richard Williams, her father, later claimed that this incident was racially motivated. She was the first woman since Pam Shriver in 1978 to reach a US Open singles final on her first attempt and was the first unseeded US Open women’s singles finalist since 1958. On September 8, 1997, her ranking broke into the top 50 for the first time. She ended the year ranked World No. 22.
|Venus Williams and Lindsay Davenport|
Williams started 1998 at the Medibank International Sydney, where she defeated World No. 1 Hingis for the first time in the second round before losing to Arantxa Sánchez Vicario in the final. These results caused her ranking to break into the top 20 for the first time, at World No. 16. During her debut at the Australian Open, Williams defeated younger sister Serena in the second round, which was the sisters’ first professional meeting. Venus eventually lost in the quarterfinals to World No. 3 Davenport.
Three weeks later, Williams defeated World No. 2 Davenport for the first time in the semifinals of the IGA Tennis Classic in Oklahoma City. Williams then defeated Joannette Kruger in the final to win the first singles title of her career. In her first Tier I event of the year, Williams lost in the semifinals of the State Farm Evert Cup in Indian Wells to World No. 1 Hingis. The following week, Williams won the Tier I Lipton International Players Championships in Key Biscayne, Florida, defeating World No. 1 Hingis in the semifinals. On March 30, 1998, her ranking broke into the top 10 for the first time, at World No. 10.
Williams played only one tournament on clay before the 1998 French Open. At the Italian Open in Rome, she defeated sister Serena in the quarterfinals and World No. 5 Sánchez Vicario in the semifinals before losing to World No. 1 Hingis in the final. Williams lost again to Hingis in the quarterfinals of the French Open. Williams lost her first match at the Direct Line International Championships in Eastbourne on grass before losing to eventual champion and World No. 3 Jana Novotná in the quarterfinals of Wimbledon. On July 27, 1998, her ranking rose to World No. 5.
Williams played three tournaments during the North American 1998 summer hard court season. She reached her fifth final of the year at the Bank of the West Classic in Stanford, California, defeating World No. 6 Monica Seles in the semifinals before losing to World No. 1 Davenport. Patella tendinitis in her left knee caused her to retire from her quarterfinal match at the tournament in San Diego while trailing Mary Pierce 4–0 in the third set. At the US Open, Williams defeated fourth seeded Sánchez Vicario in the quarterfinals before losing to second seeded and eventual champion Davenport in the semifinals.
Williams played four tournaments the remainder of 1998. She won her third title of the year at the Grand Slam Cup in Munich in September, defeating World No. 9 Patty Schnyder in the final. She lost in the second round of the Porsche Tennis Grand Prix in Filderstadt before losing in the final of the Tier I Swisscom Challenge in Zürich to World No. 1 Davenport and the semifinals of the Tier I Kremlin Cup in Moscow to Pierce. She had earned enough points during the year to participate in the year-ending Chase Championship but withdrew from the tournament because of tendinitis in her knee. She finished the year ranked World No. 5.
|Venus Williams and Justin Gimelstob|
In 1998, Williams teamed with Justin Gimelstob to win the mixed doubles titles at the Australian Open and the French Open. Her sister Serena won the other two Grand Slam mixed doubles titles that year, completing a “Williams Family Mixed Doubles Grand Slam”. Williams won the first two women’s doubles titles of her career, in Oklahoma City and Zürich. Both titles came with sister Serena, becoming only the third pair of sisters to win a WTA tour doubles title.
Williams started the 1999 tour in Australia, where she lost to World No. 10 Steffi Graf in the quarterfinals of the Medibank International in Sydney and World No. 1 Davenport in the quarterfinals of the Australian Open. However, she rebounded at the Faber Grand Prix in Hanover, defeating Graf for the first time in the semifinals before losing the final to World No. 3 Novotná. Williams then successfully defended her titles in both Oklahoma City and Key Biscayne. She defeated Novotná and Graf to reach the final in Key Biscayne, where she defeated Serena in three sets in the first final on the WTA Tour to be contested by two sisters.
Williams played four clay court events during the spring. She lost her first match at the Bausch & Lomb Championships in Amelia Island, Florida. Three weeks later, however, she won her first title on clay at the Betty Barclay Cup in Hamburg, defeating Mary Pierce in the final. Williams then won the Tier I Italian Open in Rome, defeating World No. 1 Hingis in the semifinals and World No. 8 Pierce in the final. At the French Open, she extended her winning streak to 22 matches before losing in the fourth round to World No. 125 Barbara Schwartz. Williams teamed with Serena to win the women’s doubles title at this event, the first Grand Slam title the pair won together.
At the 1999 Wimbledon Championships, Williams defeated World No. 17 Anna Kournikova in the fourth round to reach the quarterfinals for the second consecutive year, where she lost to eventual runner-up Graf.
Williams rebounded in the summer when she won two Fed Cup matches against Italy and lost in the final of the Bank of the West Classic in Stanford to World No. 1 Davenport. One week later, Williams defeated Davenport in the semifinals of the TIG Tennis Classic in San Diego before losing to World No. 2 Hingis in the final. In her last tournament before the US Open, Williams won the Pilot Pen Tennis in New Haven, Connecticut, defeating World No. 5 Seles in the semifinals and Davenport in the final. On August 30, 1999, her world ranking reached third for the first time. Seeded third at the US Open, Williams lost in the semifinals to World No. 1 Hingis in three sets. However, she teamed with singles champion Serena at this event to win their second Grand Slam women’s doubles title.
During the remainder of the year, Williams contributed to the USA’s victory over Russia in the Fed Cup final, winning one singles rubber before joining Serena to win the doubles rubber. At the Grand Slam Cup in Munich, Venus defeated Hingis in the semifinals before losing to Serena for the first time in the final. Venus won her sixth title of the year at the Tier I event in Zurich, defeating World No. 1 Hingis in the final. Four weeks later, she lost to Davenport in the semifinals of the tournament in Philadelphia. Making her debut at the year-ending Chase Championships, Williams lost to Hingis in the semifinals. She finished the year ranked World No. 3.
2000–02: Williams sisters domination
In 2000, Williams missed the first four months of the year with tendinitis in both wrists. She returned to the tour during the European clay court season. She lost in the quarterfinals of the Betty Barclay Cup in Hamburg to Amanda Coetzer and in the third round of the Tier I Italian Open in Rome to Jelena Dokić. Although she had won only two of her four matches before the French Open, she was seeded fourth there. She won her first four matches in Paris without losing a set before losing in the quarterfinals to eighth-seeded and former champion Arantxa Sánchez Vicario in three sets.
Williams then won 35 consecutive singles matches and six tournaments. She won her first Grand Slam singles title at Wimbledon, defeating World No. 1 Martina Hingis in the quarterfinals, sister Serena in the semifinals, and defending champion Lindsay Davenport in the final. She also teamed with Serena to win the women’s doubles title at this event.
She won three Tier II events during the North American summer hard court season, defeating Davenport in the final of the tournament in Stanford, California and Monica Seles in the finals of both the tournament in San Diego and the tournament in New Haven, Connecticut.
|Serena Williams and Venus Williams at the Australian Open|
At the US Open, Williams defeated still-World No. 1 Hingis in the semifinals and World No. 2 Davenport in the final. At the Olympic Games in Sydney, Williams defeated Sánchez Vicario in the quarterfinals, Seles in the semifinals, and Elena Dementieva in the final to win the gold medal. She also won the gold medal in women’s doubles with her sister Serena. Davenport eventually snapped her winning streak in October in the final of the tournament in Linz. Williams did not play a tournament the rest of the year because of anemia. She finished the year ranked World No. 3 and with six singles titles.
In 2001, Williams reached the semifinals of the Australian Open for the first time, where she lost to World No. 1 Hingis. However, Venus teamed with Serena to win the doubles title at the event, completing a Career Grand Slam in women’s doubles for the pair.
Williams also reached the semifinals of the Tier I Tennis Masters Series tournament in Indian Wells, California, where she controversially defaulted her match with sister Serena just before the match started. Venus had been suffereing from knee tendinitis throughout the tournament and eventually this prevented her from playing. The following day, Venus and her father Richard were booed as they made their way to their seats to watch the final despite her clear injury. Serena was subsequently booed during the final with Kim Clijsters and during the trophy presentation. Due to the overt racism of the crowd, neither Williams sister has entered the tournament since. Venus rebounded from the Indian Wells controversy to win the next tournament on the tour calendar, the Tier I Ericsson Open in Key Biscayne, Florida. She defeated Hingis in the semifinals and World No. 4 Jennifer Capriati in the final, after saving eight championship points. Because of this victory, her ranking rose to a career high of World No. 2.
During the European clay court season, Williams won the Tier II tournament in Hamburg but lost in the third round of the Tier I EUROCARD Ladies German Open to World No. 18 Justine Henin and the first round of the French Open to Barbara Schett. This was only the second time that she had lost in the first round of a Grand Slam singles tournament. Williams then successfully defended her Wimbledon title, defeating third-seeded Davenport in the semifinals and eighth-seeded Henin in three sets in Henin’s first Wimbledon final.
During the North American summer hard court season, Williams won for the second consecutive year the tournaments in San Diego, defeating Seles in the final, and in New Haven, defeating Davenport in the final. Williams also won the US Open singles title for the second consecutive year, without dropping a set. In the quarterfinals, she beat fifth-seeded Clijsters, followed by a semifinal victory over World No. 2 Capriati. She played Serena in the final, which was the first Grand Slam singles final contested by two sisters during the open era. Venus won the match and her fourth Grand Slam singles title. Venus also became only the sixth woman in history to win the singles titles at both Wimbledon and the US Open in consecutive years, the others being Martina Navaratilova (twice), Steffi Graf (twice), Althea Gibson, Maureen Connolly Brinker, and Helen Wills Moody (twice).
Williams began 2002 by winning the Mondial Australian Women’s Hardcourts in Gold Coast, Australia, defeating Henin in the final. However, she then lost for the first time in her career to Seles in the quarterfinals of the Australian Open. Williams then went on to win the Open Gaz de France in Paris when Jelena Dokić withdrew from the final, and the Proximus Diamond Games in Antwerp, Belgium, defeating Henin in the final. As a result of her strong start to the season, Williams assumed the World No. 1 position for the first time on February 25, dislodging Capriati. Williams was the first African-American woman ever to hold the ranking. She held it for just three weeks before surrendering it back to Capriati.
Williams failed to defend her title in Miami after losing in the semifinals to Serena. However, she made a strong start to the clay-court season, winning the Bausch & Lomb Championships in Amelia Island, Florida, defeating Henin in the final. A week after winning that tournament, she once again replaced Capriati as the World No. 1, before losing it again to Capriati after three weeks. During those three weeks, Williams had made the final in Hamburg, defeating Hingis in the semifinals before losing to Clijsters in the final. Seeded second at the French Open, Williams defeated former champion Seles to reach the semifinals for the first time. There, she defeated Clarisa Fernández. In the final, Williams met Serena for a second time in a Grand Slam final, with Serena winning. Venus once again replaced Capriati as the World No. 1 as a result of reaching the final.
|The Williams sisters against each other in Wimbledon 2002|
As the top seed at Wimbledon, Williams defeated Henin in the semifinals to make the final for the third consecutive year. However, there, she lost to Serena. This result meant Serena replaced Venus as the World No. 1. The Williams sisters teamed up to win the women’s doubles title at the event, their fifth Grand Slam women’s doubles title together.
Williams won the titles in San Diego and New Haven for the third consecutive year, defeating Davenport and Dokic to win the former and defeating Davenport in the final of the latter. At the US Open, Williams defeated Seles in the quarterfinals and Amélie Mauresmo in three sets to make the final. Playing Serena for their third consecutive Grand Slam final, Serena won once again. After that, Venus played just four more matches during the season. She reached the semifinals at the year-ending Sanex Championships after defeating Seles in the quarterfinals, but she then was forced to retire against Clijsters due to injury. Williams finished the year ranked World No. 2 having won seven titles, her best showing in both respects of her career.
2003–06: Injuries and losses
Williams started 2003 by defeating fifth seed Justine Henin to make the final of the Australian Open for the first time. In the final, however, she lost to sister Serena. This marked the first time in the open era that the same two players had met in four consecutive Grand Slam finals. Venus and Serena teamed to win the women’s doubles title at the event, their sixth Grand Slam title in women’s doubles.
In February, Williams won the Proximus Diamond Games in Antwerp, Belgium for the second consecutive year, defeating Kim Clijsters in the final. However, shortly afterwards, she began to struggle with injury. She reached the final of the clay court J&S Cup in Warsaw before being forced to retire against Amélie Mauresmo. She then suffered her earliest exit at a Grand Slam tourmament in two years when she lost in the fourth round of the French Open to Vera Zvonareva.
At Wimbledon, Williams was seeded fourth. Williams defeated former champion Lindsay Davenport in the quarterfinals and Kim Clijsters in the semifinals to advance to her fourth consecutive Wimbledon final, where she lost again to sister Serena.
Wimbledon was Williams’ last event of the year as an abdominal injury that occurred during the Clijsters match prevented her from playing again. While she was recovering from the injury, her sister Yetunde Price was murdered. Williams finished the year ranked World No. 11. It was the first time in nearly six years that she had dropped out of the top ten.
In 2004, Williams came back to the tour suffering inconsistent results. As the third seeded player because of a protected ranking, she reached the third round of the Australian Open, where she lost to Lisa Raymond. She then lost in the quarterfinals of her next three tournaments.
Williams began to find her form at the beginning of the clay court season. At the Tier I Family Circle Cup in Charleston, South Carolina, Williams defeated Conchita Martínez in the final to win her first title in over a year and the second Tier I title on clay of her career. She then won in Warsaw, defeating Svetlana Kuznetsova in the final, before reaching the final of the Tier I German Open in Berlin, before withdrawing from that match against Mauresmo due to injury. Going into the French Open, Williams had the best clay court record among the women and was among the favorites to win the title; however, after making the quarterfinals to extend her winning streak on the surface to 19 matches, she lost to eventual champion
|Venus Williams and Karolina Sprem match|
Anastasia Myskina. Despite her defeat, she re-entered the top ten.
At Wimbledon, Williams lost a controversial second round match to Croatian Karolina Šprem. The umpire of the match, Ted Watts, awarded Šprem an unearned point in the second set tiebreak. Upon the conclusion of the match, he was relieved of his duties. This defeat marked the first time since 1997 that Williams had
exited Wimbledon prior to the quarterfinals. After Wimbledon, Williams reached her fourth final of the year at the Bank of the West Classic in Stanford, California, where she suffered her first defeat to Lindsay Davenport since 2000.
As the defending champion at the Athens Olympics, Williams lost in the third round to Mary Pierce. She then lost in the fourth round of the US Open to Davenport, the first time she had ever lost at the US Open prior to the semifinals. Williams completed the year by losing in the quarterfinals of three indoor tournaments in the fall, a period that included defeat in her first meeting with 17-year-old Wimbledon champion Maria Sharapova at the Zurich Open. Williams finished the year as World No. 9 and did not qualify for the year-ending WTA Tour Championships.
In 2005, Williams started the year by losing in the fourth round of the Australian Open to Alicia Molik. She then reached the final in Antwerp, defeating Clijsters and Myskina en route. In the final, Williams was a set and a service break up against Mauresmo before eventually losing.
In March, at the NASDAQ-100 Open in Miami, Williams defeated sister and Australian Open champion Serena in the quarterfinals, the first time she had defeated Serena since 2001. Venus went on to lose in the semifinals to World No. 3 Sharapova. In May, Williams won her first title in over a year at the clay-court Istanbul Cup, defeating Nicole Vaidišová in the final. However, at the French Open, she lost in the third round to 15-year old Sesil Karatantcheva, who subsequently tested positive for steroids and was suspended.
Williams was seeded 14th at Wimbledon. In the quarterfinals of the tournament, she defeated French Open runner-up Pierce in an epic second set tiebreak, winning it 12–10 to make the semifinals of a Grand Slam for the first time in two years. There, she defeated defending champion and second-seeded Maria Sharapova to make the Wimbledon final for the fifth time in six years. Playing top-seeded Davenport in the final, Williams saved a match point with a backhand winner en route to winning. This was Williams’s third Wimbledon singles title, her fifth Grand Slam singles title overall and her first since 2001. It was the first time in 70 years that a player had won after being down match point during the women’s final at Wimbledon.In addition, Williams was the lowest-ranked (World No. 16) and lowest-seeded (14th) champion in tournament history.Williams returned to the top ten following the victory.
Following Wimbledon, Williams reached her fourth final of the year in Stanford, where she lost to Clijsters. At the US Open, Williams achieved her second consecutive win over Serena in the fourth round, but then lost in the quarterfinals to eventual champion Kim Clijsters. Williams did not qualify for the year-ending Sony Ericsson Championships because of an injury sustained during the tournament in Beijing. She finished the year ranked World No. 10. It was the first year since 2001 that she had finished a year ranked higher than Serena.
In 2006, Williams was upset in the first round of the Australian Open by Tszvetana Pironkova which was her earliest loss ever at that tournament. After that loss, she did not play again for three months due to a wrist injury. She returned in late April on clay in Warsaw, where she defeated former World No. 1 Martina Hingis in the second round before losing to Svetlana Kuznetsova in the quarterfinals. Wiliams completed the clay-court season by reaching the quarterfinals of the French Open, where she lost to Nicole Vaidišová.
Williams was the defending champion and one of the favorites to win the singles title at Wimbledon. However, she lost lost in the third round to 26th-seeded Jelena Janković. After the loss, Williams said that she was having pain in her left wrist, although she admitted that the injury was not the cause of her loss. Williams did not play in the US Open series or the US Open itself due to the wrist injury. During her first tournament in almost three months in October, she reinjured her wrist at the tournament in Luxembourg and lost in the second round to qualifier Agnieszka Radwańska. Williams finished the season as World No. 46, her lowest finish since she began to play on the WTA Tour full-time in 1997. It was the second consecutive year she finished higher than Serena, who finished the year at World No. 95
2007–09: Return to form
Williams withdrew from the 2007 Australian Open, the second consecutive Grand Slam that she had missed due to her recurring wrist injury. She returned in February at the Cellular South Cup in Memphis, USA, defeating top-seeded Shahar Pe’er in the final, her first singles title since her victory at Wimbledon in 2005.
At the beginning of the clay-court season, Williams reached the semifinals of the Tier I Family Circle Cup in Charleston, South Carolina, where she lost to Jelena Janković on a third set tiebreak. She also lost to fourth seed Janković in the third round of the French Open, her third consecutive loss to Janković. During her second round win over Ashley Harkleroad, Williams hit a 206 km/h (128.8 mph) serve, which is the second fastest woman’s serve ever recorded and the fastest ever recorded during a main draw match.
Williams was ranked World No. 31 going into Wimbledon and was seeded 23rd at the tournament due to her previous results at Wimbledon. Williams was a game away from defeat in her first round match against Alla Kudryavtseva and in her third round match against Akiko Morigami she was two points away from defeat, but she eventually won both 7–5 in the third set. She then advanced to reach her sixth Wimbledon final, after beating Svetlana Kuznetsova and Ana Ivnovic en route to the final where she defeated 18th seed Marion Bartoli. Williams thus became only the fourth woman in the open era to win Wimbledon at least four times, along with Billie Jean King, Martina Navratilova and Steffi Graf. She also became the lowest-seeded Wimbledon champion in history, breaking the record she herself set in 2005. Williams returned to the top 20 as a result of the win.
At the US Open, after setting a Grand-Slam record 129 mph (208 km/h) serve in the opening round, Williams advanced to her first Grand Slam semifinal outside of Wimbledon since 2003. However she then lost to eventual champion Justine Henin. The tournament resulted in Williams’s ranking moving up to World No. 9. Williams then won her third title of the year at the Hansol Korea Open Tennis Championships in Seoul, South Korea, defeating Maria Kirilenko in the final, before then losing in the final of the Japan Open Tennis Championships in Tokyo to Virginie Razzano. Williams had earned enough points during the year to qualify for the year-ending WTA Tour Championships in Madrid; however, she withdrew because of continuing problems with anemia. Williams finished the year as World No. 8 with three titles, her best performance in both respects since 2002, and a winning percentage of 83 percent.
In 2008, as the eighth seed at the Australian Open, Williams reached the quarterfinals for the first time since 2003. However, she then lost to eventual runner-up Ana Ivanović. Williams made her first semifinal of the year at the Bangalore Open in Bangalore, India, where she met sister Serena for the first time since 2005 with Serena winning despite Venus holding a match point in the third set tie break.
Williams missed two tournaments at the beginning of the clay-court season due to undisclosed medical problems. At the French Open, Williams was seeded eighth but was eliminated by 26th-seeded Italian Flavia Pennetta in the third round.
|Venus vs Serena Williams Grand Slam 2008|
Williams was the defending champion and seventh-seeded player at Wimbledon. Without dropping a set, she reached her seventh Wimbledon singles final. She then won her fifth Wimbledon singles title, and seventh Grand Slam singles title overall, by beating sister Serena in straight sets. This was the first time since 2003 that Venus and Serena had played each other in a Grand Slam final and was the first time since 2001 that Venus had defeated her in a Grand Slam final. Venus and Serena then teamed to win the women’s doubles title, their first Grand Slam doubles title together since 2003.
Williams lost in the quarterfinals of the Beijing Olympics to Li Na. She did, however, earn a gold medal along with Serena in women’s doubles, their second gold medal as a team, having won together at the Sydney Olympics in 2000. At the US Open, Williams was playing some of her best tennis since dominating the circuit in 2003, However, she was defeated by Serena in an epic quarter final match 6 – 7(6), 6 – 7(7) after Venus led 5 – 3 in both sets. Serena went on to win the title beating World No. 6 Dinara Safina in the semi-finals and World No. 2 Jelena Jankovic in the finals.
At the Porsche Tennis Grand Prix in Stuttgart, Germany in October, Williams defeated a player ranked in the top three for the first time that season by defeating World No. 3 Dinara Safina to reach her third semifinal of the year. There, she lost to Janković. A fortnight later, Williams won the Zurich Open, defeating Ivanović in the semifinals before defeating Pennetta in the final to claim her second title of the year and secure a position in the year-ending 2008 WTA Tour Championships in Doha, Qatar. There, Williams defeated World No. 2 Safina, World No. 3 Serena and World No. 5 Dementieva in the preliminary round-robin stage. In the semifinals, Williams defeated World No. 1 Janković before winning the year-ending tournament for the first time by defeating Vera Zvonareva in the final. She ended the year ranked sixth in the world with three titles and a winning percentage of 78 percent.
|Venus Williams on Clay|
As the sixth seed at the 2009 Australian Open, Williams lost in the second round to Carla Suárez Navarro after holding a match point in the third set. However, she teamed up with Serena to win the women’s doubles title at the event, their eighth Grand Slam doubles title together. Venus rebounded in singles play in February at the Premier 5 (formerly Tier I) Dubai Tennis Championships, defeating defending champion and World No. 4 Dementieva in the quarterfinals and World No. 1 Serena in the semifinals on a third set tiebreak. The latter win meant that Venus led the head-to-head in career matches with her sister for the first time since 2002. Venus went on to defeat Virginie Razzano in the final. This win meant Williams was ranked in the top five for the first time since 2003, while it also marked her 40th professional singles title, only the twelfth player in the open era to achieve the feat. Williams won another title the following week at the Abierto Mexicano Telcel in Acapulco, Mexico, defeating Pennetta in the final. This was her first title on clay since 2005.
On European clay, Williams reached the semifinals in Rome before losing to World No. 1 Safina. This run meant Williams was ranked in the top three for the first time since 2003. Seeded third at the French Open, Williams lost to Ágnes Szávay in the third round, the third consecutive year she had exited at that stage.
Williams was seeded third at Wimbledon. She advanced to her eighth Wimbledon final where she had won 36 straight sets (held since Wimbledon 2007). In the final however she lost the first set tie break and from then on lost 7–6 6–2 to sister Serena. The Williams sisters teamed up to win the doubles title at the tournament for the fourth time.
In Stanford, Williams defeated Maria Sharapova and Elena Dementieva to advance to the finals, where she would lose to Marion Bartoli. Teaming with her sister, she played doubles and won the title, defeating Monica Niculescu and Yung-Jan Chan.
At the 2009 US Open, as the third seed, Williams made it to the fourth round before losing to Kim Clijsters in three sets. Venus then teamed up with Serena to play doubles at the open, where they won the title over defending champions and world No. 1s in doubles, Cara Black and Liezel Huber, claiming their third grand slam doubles title in 2009.
Williams’ last tournament in 2009 was the year-ending Sony Ericsson Championships, where she was the defending champion in singles. She was in the maroon group which includes her sister Serena, along with Elena Dementieva and Svetlana Kuznetsova. She lost her first match against Dementieva, and her second match against Serena- both in straight sets, after taking the first set. In her third and final RR match, Williams defeated Svetlana Kuznetsova. Because of Dementieva’s loss to Kuznetsova in their round robin match, Venus advanced to the semifinal of the championships. In her semifinal match, she defeated Jelena Janković of Serbia to advance to her second consecutive final in the tournament. In the final, she lost to her sister Serena. In doubles, Venus teamed with Serena as the second seed. However, they lost to Nuria Llagostera Vives and María José Martínez Sánchez in the semifinal. Their doubles record at the end of the year stood at 24–2.
Venus finished 2009 ranked world number 6 in singles (with a winning percentage of 70 percent) and world number 3 in doubles with Serena, in spite of playing only 6 events together in 2009.
2010: Return to top 2
Williams played at the Australian Open as the sixth seed. She defeated 17th-seeded Francesca Schiavone in the fourth round. She was two points from defeating 16th-seeded Li Na in the quarterfinals before losing in three sets. In doubles, she teamed with her sister Serena to successfully defend their title, defeating the top ranked team of Cara Black and Liezel Huber in the final. The Williams sisters are undefeated in Grand Slam women’s doubles finals and are 4–0 in Australian Open doubles finals.
|Dubai Tennis Championship|
Williams then played the Dubai Tennis Championships, where she was the defending champion. Seeded third, she successfully defended her title by defeating fourth-seeded Victoria Azarenka in the final.
Williams next played on clay at the Abierto Mexico Telcel in Acapulco where she was the defending champion. She reached the semifinals after recovering from a 1–5 third set deficit to Laura Pous Tió in the quarterfinals. In the final, she defeated first-time finalist Polona Hercog from Slovenia. This was her 43rd career title, the most among active female players.
Her next tournament was the Premier Mandatory Sony Ericsson Open in Key Biscayne, where she was seeded third. She defeated World No. 9 Agnieszka Radwańska in the quarterfinals and World No. 13 Marion Bartoli in the semifinals to reach her third straight WTA tour final and fourth Sony Ericsson Open final. She was defeated by Kim Clijsters in the final in just 58 minutes, ending her 15-match winning streak. By reaching the final, her ranking improved to World No. 4 and she crossed the $26 million mark in career prize money, the only player besides Serena to do so.
The knee injury that hampered her during the final of the Sony Ericsson Open forced her to skip the Fed Cup tie against Russia and the Porsche Tennis Grand Prix in Stuttgart. Williams returned to the tour at the Premier 5 Internazionali BNL d’Italia in Rome. She suffered the worst defeat of her career in the quarterfinals, losing to World No. 4 Jelena Janković 6–0, 6–1. Despite this loss, Williams’ ranking improved to World No. 3 on May 10.
Her next tournament was the Mutua Madrilena Madrid Open, a Premier Mandatory tournament. She lost to Aravane Rezaï in the final. In doubles, she teamed with Serena to win the title.
On May 17, her ranking improved to World No. 2, behind only Serena. This was the fourth time that the William sisters’ have occupied the top two spots, and the first time since May 2003.
Her next tournament was the French Open, where she played both singles and doubles despite her knee injury. Seeded second in singles, she advanced past the third round at this tournament for the first time since 2006 before losing to Nadia Petrova in the round of 16. She also played doubles with Serena as the top seeds. Their defeat of Huber and Anabel Medina Garrigues in the semifinals increased their doubles ranking to World No. 1. They then defeated 12th seeded Květa Peschke and Katarina Srebotnik in the final to win their fourth consecutive Grand Slam women’s doubles title.
Her next tournament was the Wimbledon Championships, where she had reached the final the previous three years. Despite her knee injury, she made it to the quarterfinals, where she lost to Tsvetana Pironkova. Pironkova was ranked 82nd in the world and had never gone past the second round of a Grand Slam event. As a result, Williams dropped to #4 in the world. She was the defending champion in doubles with her sister Serena, having won the tournament in the previous two years. However, they lost this time in the quarterfinals to Elena Vesnina and Vera Zvonareva.
Williams then missed all tournaments in the US Open Series because of a left knee injury but still participated at the US Open as the third seed. She won three matches to move into the fourth round. Williams became one of only two women in 2010 (along with Caroline Wozniacki) to reach at least the fourth round at all four Grand Slam singles tournaments. Williams then defeated Pe’er and French Open champion Schiavone en route to her seventh US Open semifinal, against defending champion Clijsters. Williams dominated the first set of their match and recovered from 5–2 down in the second set but ultimately double-faulted on a key point near the end of the match and lost 4–6, 7–6, 6–4. Because of Serena’s withdrawal from the US Open, Venus did not participate at the doubles event where she was the defending champion.
The recovery of her left knee took longer than expected and it forced her to miss the rest of 2010, including the year-ending Sony Ericsson Championships and Fed Cup final. Williams ended the year ranked fifth in singles, the first time she ended a year in the top five since 2002, while playing only nine tournaments. She finished the year ranked eleventh in doubles.
2011 – Injuries
|2011 Australian Open|
Williams started 2011 by participating at the Hong Kong Tennis Classic. She lost both her singles matches against Vera Zvonareva and Li Na, but she managed to help Team America to win the silver group. Her next tournament was the 2011 Australian Open where she was the fourth seed. She retired in the second game of her third round match against the 30th seed Andrea Petkovic due to a hip muscle injury. This was Williams’ first retirement during a match in a Grand Slam tournament since 1994 and thus ended her record of most Grand Slam matches without ever retiring, with 250 consecutive matches. This was also her first retirement from a match since LA Women’s Tennis Championships in Los Angeles in 2004, ending her 294 consecutive matches without retiring.
The injury forced Williams to pull out of the Fed Cup quarterfinal against Belgium, the Dubai Tennis Championships, and the Abierto Mexicano Telcel, where she was the two-time defending champion in both tournaments. She also pulled out of the Sony Ericsson Open in Miami causing her ranking to drop to world no. 15. Further, she missed Madrid and Rome. This caused her rankings to drop to world no. 29. Originally scheduled to come back in Brussels, she eventually withdrew from the Premier tournament. Further, she also missed Roland Garros, marking the first Grand Slam tournament since 2003 US Open where neither of the Williams sisters are competing.
Williams then made her first appearance since the Australian Open in Eastbourne. Unseeded, she beat eighth seed Andrea Petkovic in the first round 7–5, 5–7, 6–3 and Ana Ivanović 6–3, 6–2 in the second round. However, she then lost for the first time in eleven meetings to Daniela Hantuchová in the quarterfinals by 2–6, 7–5, 2–6.
Her next scheduled tournament will be Wimbledon where despite being ranked 33rd, she will be seeded 23rd. She demolished Akgul Amanmuradova 6–3, 6–1 in the first round and is set against Japanese veteran Kimiko Date-Krumm next.
Sister Serena Williams
In professional women’s tennis, Venus has played her sister Serena 23 times, accumulating a 10–13 record in the series. They are the only women during the open era to have played each other in four consecutive Grand Slam singles finals. They have met in a total of eight Grand Slam finals, ahead of the number of finals played by Steffi Graf and Arantxa Sánchez Vicario and by Helen Wills Moody and Helen Jacobs but behind the record of fourteen finals set by Chris Evert and Martina Navrátilová. Currently Venus has 43 career tennis titles, Serena has 37. Serena has 13 slams and Venus has 7.
Fight for equal prize money
Despite years of protesting by tennis pioneer Billie Jean King and others, in 2005 the French Open and Wimbledon still refused to pay women’s and men’s players equally through all rounds. In 2005, Williams met with officials from both tournaments, arguing that female tennis players should be paid as much as males. Although WTA tour President Larry Scott commented that she left “a very meaningful impression”, Williams’s demands were rejected.
The turning point was an essay published in The Times on the eve of Wimbledon in 2006. In it, Williams accused Wimbledon of being on the “wrong side of history”, writing:
In response, British Prime Minister Tony Blair and members of Parliament publicly endorsed Williams’s arguments. Later that year, the Women’s Tennis Association and UNESCO teamed for a campaign to promote gender equality in sports, asking Williams to lead the campaign. Under enormous pressure, Wimbledon announced in February 2007 that it would award equal prize money to all competitors in all rounds, and the French Open followed suit a day later. In the aftermath, the Chicago Sun-Times cited Williams as “the single factor” that “changed the minds of the boys” and a leader whose “willingness to take a public stand separates her not only from most of her female peers, but also from our most celebrated male athletes.” Williams herself commented, “Somewhere in the world a little girl is dreaming of holding a giant trophy in her hands and being viewed as an equal to boys who have similar dreams.”
Venus herself became the first woman to benefit from the equalization of prize money at Wimbledon, as she won the 2007 tournament and was awarded the same amount as the male winner Roger Federer.
|Venus Williams and Hank Kuehne|
Williams’s longtime boyfriend, pro golfer Hank Kuehne, has been a visible presence since Wimbledon 2007, holding her hand during long rain delays and clapping support from the players’ box along with her parents and younger sister Serena. “He’s a great guy”, Williams said. “He understands competition. He’s very supportive. I love having him here and everyone else in the box, too.”
In 2003, Venus and Serena Williams’s older sister Yetunde Price, 31, was shot dead in Compton, California near the courts on which the sisters once practiced. Price was the Williams sisters’ personal assistant. The Williams family issued this statement shortly after the death: “We are extremely shocked, saddened and devastated by the shooting death of our beloved Yetunde. She was our nucleus and our rock. She was a personal assistant, confidante, and adviser to her sisters, and her death leaves a void that can never be filled. Our grief is overwhelming, and this is the saddest day of our lives.”
Williams said her family’s faith as Jehovah’s Witnesses has helped her tremendously.
Williams is the chief executive officer of her interior design firm “V Starr Interiors” located in Jupiter, Florida. Williams’s company designed the set of the Tavis Smiley Show on PBS, the Olympic athletes’ apartments as part of New York City’s failed bid to host the 2012 Olympic Games, and residences and businesses in the Palm Beach, Florida area.
In 2001, Williams was named one of the 30 most powerful women in America by the Ladies Home Journal.
In 2007, Williams teamed with retailer Steve & Barry’s to launch her own fashion line EleVen. “I love fashion and the idea that I am using my design education to actually create clothing and footwear that I will wear on and off the tennis court is a dream come true for me. The vision has been to create a collection that will allow women to enjoy an active lifestyle while remaining fashionable at the same time. I’m thrilled with everything we’ve created to launch EleVen.”
In June 2009, Venus was named 77th in the Top 100 Most Powerful Celebrities compiled by Forbes magazine.
|Come to Win; on How Sports Can Help You Top Your Profession|
In August 2009, Venus Williams became part-owners of the Miami Dolphins with sister Serena Williams. The announcement was made during a press conference overlooking the practice field. This made Venus and indeed her sister Serena the first African-American females to obtain ownership in an NFL franchise. Stephan Ross, the majority owner of the Dolphins, said “We are thrilled to have Venus and Serena join the Dolphins as limited partners. They are among the most admired athletes in the world and have become global ambassadors for the game of tennis.
In late June 2010, Venus Williams released her first book, entitled “Come to Win; on How Sports Can Help You Top Your Profession” which she co-wrote with Kelly E. Carter. In promotion of the book she embarked on a tour around America in support of the release, whilst also appearing on several talk shows including The Early Show and Good Morning America. This gave her a place on the top 5 The New York Times Best Seller List.
- Coach: Richard Williams, Oracene Price
- Racquet: Wilson BLX Blade Team (104)
- Clothing: EleVen
- Shoes: Nike
Records and achievements
|Tournament Name||Years||Record accomplished||Player tied|
|Summer Olympics||2000–08||3 tennis gold medals||Stands alone|
|Sony Ericsson Open||1998–2002||Most consecutive singles matches won at this tournament (22)||Steffi Graf|
|Australian Open||2003||Fastest serve by a woman (125 mph)||Stands alone|
|Wimbledon||2005||Longest women’s singles final||Lindsay Davenport|
|Wimbledon||2007||Lowest-ranked winner (31st)||Stands alone|
|Wimbledon||2007||Lowest-seeded winner (23rd)||Stands alone|
|US Open||2007||Fastest serve by a woman (129 mph)||Stands alone|
|Wimbledon||2008||Fastest serve by a woman (129 mph)||Stands alone|
|French Open||2010||Fastest serve by a woman (207 km/h/128.6 mph)||Stands alone|
|1999 French Open – 2010 French Open||1999–2010||Longest streak of consecutive initial Grand Slam finals won (doubles) (12)||Serena Williams|
- In 1997, Williams became the first woman since Pam Shriver in 1978 to reach the singles final of the US Open on her first attempt.
- In 1997, Williams became the first unseeded singles finalist at the US Open.
- In 1997, the combined ages of Williams at age 17 and Martina Hingis at age 16 in the US Open final were the lowest in the open era history of that tournament.
- At 1999 IGA Classic in Oklahoma City marking the first time in tennis history that sisters won titles in the same week (Serena Williams won Paris).
- At the 1999 Lipton International Players Championships in Key Biscayne became the first pair of sisters in the open era to meet in a tournament final (with Serena Williams).
- In 2000, Williams became the second African-American to win Wimbledon during the open era.
- At the 2000 Sydney Olympics, Williams became only the second player to win Olympic gold medals in both singles and doubles at the same Olympic Games, after Helen Wills Moody in 1924.
- By winning the 2001 Australian Open doubles championship, Venus and Serena Williams became the fifth pair to complete a Career Doubles Grand Slam and the only pair to win a Career Doubles Golden Slam.
- The 2001 US Open marked the first time in the open era, and only the second time in 117 years, that sisters met in a Grand Slam singles final (with Serena Williams).
- In 2001, she became the third woman in the open era, after Navratilova and Graf, to win both Wimbledon and the US Open in consecutive years.
- In February 2002, she became the first African-American woman to become World No. 1 since the computer rankings began in 1975.
- In 2002 became the first ever siblings to rank Top 2 at same time with sister Serena.
- At Wimbledon in 2003, she reached her fourth consecutive Wimbledon final, which since the abolishment of the challenge round system is tied with Helen Wills Moody for fourth behind Martina Navrátilová‘s nine, Billie Jean King‘s five, and Chris Evert‘s five.
- Williams and Hingis hold the open era record for consecutive losses in Grand Slam singles finals (five).
- One of three women, the others being Navratilova and Steffi Graf, to win the Wimbledon singles title at least five times during the open era.
- At Wimbledon in 2009, Williams defeated World No. 1 Dinara Safina in the semifinals 6–1, 6–0, which was the most one-sided women’s semifinal at Wimbledon since 1969, when King defeated Rosemary Casals by the same score.
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Who is Juan Carlos Antonio Galliano-Guillén ? The entertainment and Fashion world knows him as John Galliano, he is in the fashion world and is a British fashion designer who was head designer of French haute couture houses Givenchy (July 1995 to October 1996) and Christian Dior (October 1996 to March 2011).
Early life and career
He was born November 28 1960 in Gibraltar to a Gibraltarian father, Juan, and a Spanish mother, Anita, and has two sisters. Galliano’s father was a plumber. His family moved to England in pursuit of work when Galliano was six, and settled in Streatham, South London, before moving to Dulwich. And later to Brockley. He was raised in a strict Roman Catholic family. Galliano who was shy and different often spoke of his struggle to fit in, recalling his early days, he once admitted: “I don’t think people here understood where I was coming from.” Anita, a flamenco teacher, would dress him in his “smartest” outfit even for a trip to the local shops. This, combined with his creative sensibilities, saw him frequently bullied at his London boys grammar school. He attended St. Anthony’s RC School and Wilson’s Grammar School in London and then Central Saint Martins College of Art and Design, from which he graduated in 1984 with a first class honours degree in fashion design. His first collection, inspired by the French Revolution and entitled Les Incroyables, received positive reviews and was bought in its entirety by and sold in the London fashion boutique Browns. Galliano began his own label and met future collaborators Amanda Harlech, at that time stylist with Harpers and Queen, and Stephen Jones, a milliner. On the back of his overnight success, Galliano set up a studio in London, but his talent was not matched by a head for business, moreover, he would take his enjoyment of London’s nightlife to extremes. He still is one of the most influential artists who work in fashion.
Initially, financial backing came from Johan Brun, and when this agreement came to an end, Danish entrepreneur Peder Bertelsen, owner of firm Aguecheek, who were also backing Katherine Hamnett at the time, took over. This agreement ended in 1988 and Galliano sought the backing of German agent Faycal Amor (owner and designer of fashion label Plein Sud) who directed him to set up his base in Paris. Galliano relocated to Paris in search of financial backing and a strong client base. His first show was in 1989 as part of Paris Fashion Week.
By 1990, he was bankrupt and, after his own London-based label failed to re-ignite his fortunes, he moved to Paris.
Media fashion celebrity Susannah Constantine has worked for Galliano, and he has also aided the future success of other designers including shoe designer Patrick Cox. In 1991, he collaborated with Kylie Minogue, designing the costumes for her Let’s Get to It Tour.
In 1993, Galliano’s financial agreement with Amor ended and he did not have a showing in October, missing the season. With the help of American Vogue editor-in-chief Anna Wintour and Andre Leon Talley, then European Correspondent at Vanity Fair, Galliano was introduced to Portuguese socialite and fashion patron Sao Schlumberger and financial backers of venture firm Arbela Inc, John Bult and Mark Rice. It was through this partnership that Galliano received the financial backing and high society stamp needed to give him credibility in Paris. This collection was important in the development of John Galliano as a fashion house, and is regarded as a ‘fashion moment’ in high fashion circles. High-profile models at this show included Kate Moss, Helena Christensen, Naomi Campbell and Linda Evangelista, all of whom were rumoured to have waived their usual couture appearance fees. Financial backing and the use of Schlumberger’s unoccupied Parisian mansion as a temporary HQ and theatrical setting for the show allowed Galliano to produce 17 black outfits with a fifteen day deadline. High profile clients in attendance at the presentation included Madonna and Beatrice Rothschild. Fashion critics noted that his work moved away from traditional forms of pret-a-porter, becoming much more like that associated with haute couture and attracting a younger, more fashion aware customer than that of long established French fashion houses. Couture garments traditionally feature the finest quality materials, workmanship and techniques. Galliano used these techniques on a smaller scale and relaunched himself and his fashion house on the Parisian and worldwide fashion scene.
In July 1995, he was appointed as the designer of Givenchy by Bernard Arnault, owner of luxury goods conglomerate LVMH, thus becoming the first British designer to head a French haute couture house. On 21 January 1996, Galliano presented his first couture show at the helm of Givenchy at the Stade Francais. The collection received high praise within the fashion media. Less than two years later, on 14 October 1996, LVMH moved Galliano to Christian Dior, replacing Italian designer Gianfranco Ferré. His first couture show for Dior coincided with the label’s 50th anniversary, on January 20, 1997.
Suspension and dismissal
On 25 February 2011, Dior announced that it had suspended Galliano following his arrest over an alleged anti-Semitic tirade in a Paris bar. The same day, Paris-based citizen journalism site Citizenside received video of Galliano on a similar rant in the same bar the previous December. In the video drunk Galliano hurls anti-semitic rants at a group of Italian women and declares “I love Hitler… People like you would be dead. Your mothers, your forefathers would all be fucking gassed.” This incident happened just before Paris Fashion Week for Autumn/Winter 2011/2012.
The video was licensed to British tabloid newspaper The Sun, who published the video on their website.
After his comments he was impersonated on Saturday Night Live by Taran Killam.
Natalie Portman, an American actress who is Jewish and whose great-grandparents died at Auschwitz, had an endorsement contract with Dior for its Miss Dior Cherie fragrance. In a statement, she expressed “disgust” at Galliano’s anti-semitic comments. Portman said: “I am deeply shocked and disgusted by the video of John Galliano’s comments that surfaced today…I hope at the very least, these terrible comments remind us to reflect and act upon combating these still-existing prejudices that are the opposite of all that is beautiful.” Not everyone in the fashion industry, however, shared Portman’s “disgust.” Stylist and costume designer Patricia Field went all out defending Galliano by sending an email blast to 500 friends, blogs and media. She dismissed Galliano’s anti-semitic rants as “theatre” and later, in a phone interview with WWD described Galliano’s videotaped behaviour as “farce” and said she was bewildered that people in the fashion community have not recognised it as such. “It’s theatre,” she said. “It’s farce. But people in fashion don’t recognise the farce in it. All of a sudden they don’t know him. But it’s OK when it’s Mel Brooks’ The Producers singing ‘Springtime for Hitler‘.”
On 1 March 2011, Dior announced that it had begun procedures of dismissal for Galliano, with Dior’s chief executive Sidney Toledano stating “I very firmly condemn what was said by John Galliano”. After the incident Galliano’s popular personal website was jammed and made unavailable for visitors.
Galliano has denied the allegations through his attorney, and has launched a defamation lawsuit against the couple accusing him of antisemitism. Various rumours have also surfaced stating that Galliano was proud of his own Jewish roots and that he was set up. “From the very first day of Fashion Week, many editors have been saying that Dior wanted to get rid of him and that a plot like this would save it from having to pay him a reported £17 million,” said Marcellous L. Jones, editor-in-chief of fashion web magazine TheFashionInsider.com
Dior announced it will continue to support the Galliano brand financially due to license despite his previous scandal involving alleged anti-semitism remarks.
It was reported on 2 March that Galliano was to face trial in Paris for “allegedly making racist comments to customers in a café.” He had allegedly apologised “unreservedly” for his behavior, while Dior described the comments in the video as “odious”. According to the Financial Times, “if found guilty, Galliano could face up to six months in prison and a fine of €22,500 (US$31,187).” The Daily Telegraph reported that it is believed Galliano has now left France and he was reported to be attending a rehabilitation facility, most likely The Meadows in Arizona.” A Paris court had ordered he stand trial on charges of “public insults based on the origin, religious affiliation, race or ethnicity” against three people. The trial is due to commence on 22 June 2011.
He has been quoted as identifying his love of theatre and femininity as central to his creations: “my role is to seduce”, he has said, and has gone so far as recreating some of Dior’s period clothing for Madonna in Evita. He has also credited Standard Oil heiress Millicent Rogers as an influence.
Galliano has reputedly cited Charlize Theron as a muse and has been creating couture dresses for her to wear to formal red carpet events such as the Academy Awards and the Golden Globe Awards. She is also part of the ad campaign for Dior’s “J’Adore” perfume, while Riley Keough, granddaughter of Elvis Presley, fronts his “Miss Dior Cherie” perfume, and Kate Moss, in photographs by Nick Knight, his ready-to-wear campaigns as well as modelling in both couture and ready-to-wear shows. Galliano’s has modeled his personal appearance after that of Ezra Pound. Hollywood film stars Cate Blanchett and Nicole Kidman have frequently worn dresses created by him to the Academy Awards. Galliano’s Private clientele for his couture collections has included Daphne Guinness and Diana, Princess of Wales.
Currently, between his own label and Dior, Galliano produces six couture and ready-to-wear collections a year and a new mid-season range under his own name “G Galliano”.
Similarities between Galliano and the fictional amoral fashion designer Mugatu, with his “Derelicte” homeless fashion show, from the movie Zoolander have been pointed out by some commentators.
Galliano was awarded British Designer of the Year in 1987, 1994 and 1995. In 1997, he shared the award with Alexander McQueen, his successor at Givenchy.
He was awarded the CBE (Commander of the Order of the British Empire) in the 2001 Queen’s Birthday Honours List for his services to the Fashion Industry as a Fashion Designer. He received his CBE on 27 November 2001 at Buckingham Palace in London, England.
He was awarded the RDI in 2002 for his contribution to the fashion industry.
He has appeared on The Independent on Sunday‘s 2007 “pink list” for being one of “the most influential gay people in Britain.”
In 2009, Galliano received the French Legion of Honour, previously awarded to such fashion luminaries as Yves Saint Laurent, Azzedine Alaïa and Suzy Menkes, to name a few.
|John Galliano and Alexis Roche|
Galliano shared his Paris home with his long-term boyfriend Alexis Roche, a style consultant. Galliano became a familiar figure on the streets of Le Marais, an area of Paris popular with gays and also the city’s Jewish community. Reportedly he himself has Jewish ancestry from the Sephardi Jews who came from Spain and Portugal in the 19th century.
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Who is Samuel Peralta Sosa? The sports world knows him as Sammy Sosa a former Dominican Republic Major League Baseball right fielder.
Sosa’s Major League career began with the Texas Rangers in 1989. After a stint with the Chicago White Sox, Sosa became a member of the Chicago Cubs in 1992 and subsequently became one of the league’s best hitters. In 1998, Sosa and Mark McGwire achieved national fame for their home run-hitting prowess in pursuit of Roger Maris’ home run record. Although a fan favorite, Sosa fell out of favor in Chicago after he was caught using a corked bat in a 2003 game and later left the team during the final game of the 2004 season. Sosa finished his career with brief stints with the Baltimore Orioles and the Texas Rangers. With the Rangers, Sosa hit his 600th career home run to become the fifth player in MLB history to reach the milestone. He is also the all-time home run leader among foreign-born MLB players. Furthermore, Sosa is one of only two National League Players to ever reach 160 RBI, a milestone he reached in 2001. The other was Cubs player and RBI Champion Hack Wilson during his record setting 1930 season in which he hit 191 RBI. Sosa is the only player to have hit 60 or more home runs in a single season three times.
Sosa has long been the subject of speculation about suspected anabolic steroid use during his playing career. On June 16, 2009, The New York Times reported that Sosa had failed a test for performance enhancing drugs in 2003.
Sosa was born November 12, 1968 and is known to family and friends as “Mikey.” His maternal grandmother, who had suggested his birth name of Samuel, also came up with his nickname: “[She] heard the name on a soap opera she liked and decided from that moment on he would be Mikey.”
Sosa was born in the Dominican Republic. Although his officially registered birthplace is San Pedro de Macorís, Sosa was actually born in Consuelo. San Pedro de Macorís was “the largest town nearby.” Both Consuelo and San Pedro de Macorís are in San Pedro de Macorís Province. Sosa is married to Sonia Sosa.
Sammy Sosa was the source of attention in late 2009 when he appeared publicly with skin that had been lightened. Sosa claims that the cause of this is a skin cream he has been using.
Major league career
Texas Rangers, Chicago White Sox (1989–1991)
Sosa made his major league debut on June 16, 1989, with the Texas Rangers, and he hit first career home run off Roger Clemens. Later in the season, the Rangers traded Sammy to the Chicago White Sox. He played two full seasons for the White Sox and was traded, along with pitcher Ken Patterson, to the Chicago Cubs for outfielder George Bell before the 1992 season.
Chicago Cubs (1992–2004)
After years as a respected power/speed threat with a rocket arm in right field, he emerged during the 1998 as one of baseball’s greatest. It was in this season that both Sosa and Mark McGwire were involved in the “home run record chase“, when both players’ prowess for hitting home runs drew national attention as they attempted to pass Roger Maris‘s single season home run mark of 61 home runs that had stood since 1961. Sosa ended the season with 66 (still a team record), behind McGwire’s 70. However, Sammy had become the first Major League batter ever to hit 65 homers in a season. Then, McGwire passed him late in the season to become the first ever to hit 70. It was during that season, that Cubs announcer Chip Caray nicknamed him “Slammin’ Sammy,” a nickname that quickly spread.
Also in 1998, Sosa’s 416 total bases were the most in a single season since Stan Musial‘s 429 in 1948. Sosa’s performance in the month of June, during which Sosa belted 20 home runs, knocked in 47 runs, and posted an .842 slugging percentage, was one of the greatest offensive outbursts in major league history. Sosa won the National League Most Valuable Player Award for leading the Cubs into the playoffs in 1998, earning every first-place vote except for the two cast by St. Louis writers, who voted for McGwire. He and McGwire shared Sports Illustrated magazine’s 1998 “Sportsman of the Year” award. Sosa was honored with a ticker-tape parade in his honor in New York City, and he was invited to be a guest at US President Bill Clinton‘s 1999 State of the Union Address. 1998 was also the first time the Cubs made the post-season since 1989. The Cubs qualified as the NL Wild Card team, but were swept by the Atlanta Braves in the NLDS.
In the 1999 season, Sosa hit 63 home runs, again trailing Mark McGwire who hit 65. In the 2000 season, Sammy finally led the league by hitting 50 home runs.
In 2001, he hit 64 home runs, becoming the first player to hit 60 home runs in three seasons in his career. However, he did not lead the league in any of those seasons; in 2001, he finished behind Barry Bonds, who hit 73 homers, breaking the single-season home run record set by McGwire in 1998 (70). In the same season he set personal records in runs scored (146), RBI (160), walks (116), on base percentage (.437), slugging percentage (.737), and batting average (.328). He led the majors in runs and RBI, was 2nd in home runs, 2nd in slugging percentage, 1st in total bases, 3rd in walks, 4th in on base percentage, 12th in batting average, and 15th in hits. He also surpassed his 1998 number in total bases, racking up 425. Sosa once again led the league in home runs with 49 in 2002. Known as a free-swinger in his early years, and as a good strikeout candidate, Sammy became an effective hitter for average. He owns numerous team records for the Cubs, and he holds the major-league record for the most home runs hit in a month (20, in June 1998). In recognition of his accomplishments as a hitter, Sosa won the Silver Slugger award (an award for offensive output, voted on by managers and coaches) in 1995 and in 1998 through 2002.
In 2003, the Cubs won the National League Central Division title. The year was not all good news for Sosa, however. In May, he spent his first period on the disabled list since 1996 after having an injured toenail removed. On June 3, 2003, Sosa was ejected from a Chicago Cubs-Tampa Bay Devil Rays game in the first inning when umpires discovered he had been using a corked bat. Major League Baseball confiscated and tested 76 of Sosa’s other bats after his ejection; all were found to be clean, with no cork. Five bats he had sent to the Hall of Fame in past years were also tested, and were all clean as well. Sosa stated that he had accidentally used the corked bat, which he claimed he only used during batting practice. But they soon interviewed the Cubs’ manager, who said that any use of corked bats on his team is strictly prohibited. On June 6, Sosa was suspended for eight games. However, the suspension was reduced to seven games after appeal on June 11. Sosa finished the season with 40 home runs, and he hit two more in the 2003 NLCS against the Florida Marlins, but overall, the Cubs lost the series in seven games. According to the New York Times of June 16, 2009, Sosa had also tested positive for steroids at some point during the season.
In May 2004, Sosa suffered an odd injury while sitting next to his locker chatting with reporters before a game in San Diego’s PETCO Park. He sneezed very violently, causing severe back pain. He was diagnosed with back spasms and placed on the disabled list. Later, he fell into one of the worst slumps of his career, only snapping out of it during the last week of the season. He was greatly depressed when the officials told him he couldn’t play. He finished with 35 homers, far below his numbers of his best years. The final straw for the Cubs seemed to be an incident in late 2004. Sosa requested to sit out the last game of the season, which was at home against the Atlanta Braves, and he left Wrigley Field early in the game. It was his last time in a Cubs uniform.
On January 28, 2005, the Cubs traded Sosa to the Baltimore Orioles in exchange for infielder/outfielder Jerry Hairston, Jr., infielder Mike Fontenot, and RHP Dave Crouthers. To facilitate the deal, Sosa and his agent agreed to waive the clause that guaranteed his 2006 salary, and the players’ union indicated it would not object to that agreement. Under the deal, Sosa earned $17,875,000 for the 2005 season, with the Cubs paying $7 million of his salary. By playing for the 2005 Orioles alongside fellow 500-home-run batter Rafael Palmeiro, Sosa and Palmeiro became the first 500 home run club members in history to play together on the same team after reaching the 500 home run plateau.
Sosa finished the 2005 season batting .221 with 14 home runs, his worst performance since 1992, and continuing his post-2001 trend of declines in batting average, homers, total bases, and RBI. On December 7, 2005, the Orioles decided not to offer him an arbitration contract, effectively ending his Baltimore Orioles tenure and making him a free agent.
In 2005, The Sporting News published an update of their 1999 book Baseball’s 100 Greatest Players. Sosa did not make the original edition, but for the 2005 update, with his career totals considerably higher, he was ranked at Number 95. During a stretch of nine consecutive years, Sosa hit 35+ home runs and 100+ RBIs, all with the Chicago Cubs.
At the end of January 2006, the Washington Nationals offered Sosa two different minor-league offers, both of which he turned down. On February 15, 2006, Sosa’s agent Adam Katz stated: “We’re not going to put him on the retirement list. We decided that [not putting him on that list] was the best thing to do. But I can say, with reasonable certainty, that we’ve seen Sammy in a baseball uniform for the last time.”
During this year, Sosa accompanied President Fernandez of the Dominican Republic on several diplomatic trips including to the United States, Japan, and Taiwan.
Recent years (2007-2009)
The Texas Rangers, Sosa’s original team, signed him to a minor league deal worth $500,000 on January 30, 2007. This was the same contract that Sosa turned down the previous year from the Nationals. The contract included an invitation to spring training, where Sosa competed for a spot in the lineup with Nelson Cruz, Jason Botts, and other rookies/prospects. Sosa was successful during spring training and was added to the team’s 25-man roster. He started the 2007 season as the Rangers’ designated hitter and occasional right fielder.
At the same time, the Chicago Cubs awarded Sosa’s # 21 to new pitcher Jason Marquis, despite the fact that it was formerly worn by Sosa, who coincidentally later hit his 600th home run against Marquis. This caused some concern, due to Sosa’s accomplishments with the Cubs, including his status as the Cubs’ all-time home run leader.
On April 26, 2007, Sosa made history by hitting a home run in his 45th major league ballpark. He has also homered in The Ballpark at Disney’s Wide World of Sports, near Orlando, Florida, a usually minor-league and Spring Training park that hosted a regular season series between the Rangers and the Tampa Bay Devil Rays in May 2007, although he did not hit a homer at the two regular season games the Cubs played at the Tokyo Dome in 2000 vs. the Mets.
On June 20, 2007, Sosa hit a home run off of Jason Marquis during an inter-league game against the Chicago Cubs. Sammy became only the fifth man in history, following Babe Ruth, Willie Mays, Hank Aaron, and Barry Bonds, to hit 600 regular season home runs.
The home run was the first one that Sosa had recorded against the Cubs, and as a result he has hit a home run against every active MLB team. Sosa is the Cubs’ all-time home run leader, having hit 545 with that team.
On May 28, 2008, Sosa announced that he instructed his agent not to offer his services to any Major League team for the 2008 season, and planned on filing for retirement, but never did.
On December 25, 2008, Sosa announced he intended to unretire and play in the World Baseball Classic and once again test the free agent market in hopes of signing for a Major League ballclub in 2009. Sosa said that he had been keeping in shape at his home, and was hoping that after a strong World Baseball Classic he would prove to major-league teams that he was still capable of playing in the MLB. However, he was not selected as part of the Dominican Republic’s roster. He remained a free agent and did not actively look for a team.
On June 3, 2009, Sosa announced his intention to retire from Major League Baseball. He made the announcement in the Dominican Republic and said that he was calmly looking forward to his induction into the Baseball Hall of Fame since his statistics were up to par.
Drug test controversy
On June 16, 2009 the New York Times reported Sosa was on a list of players who tested positive for performance-enhancing drugs in 2003. The paper did not identify the drug. Sosa’s agent, Adam Katz, told The Associated Press he had no comment on the report. Rich Levin, commissioner Bud Selig‘s office spokesman, declined to comment on the situation, claiming that the MLB did not have a copy of the test results. Michael Weiner, the union general counsel, also declined comment. The union, while fighting to get the list back from the government, has mostly refused to discuss reports about the list because it does not want to confirm or deny who is on it.
Previously, Sosa sat alongside Rafael Palmeiro, Jose Canseco and Mark McGwire at a 2005 hearing before Congress. His attorney testified on his behalf, stating “To be clear, I have never taken illegal performance-enhancing drugs. I have never injected myself or had anyone inject me with anything. I have not broken the laws of the United States or the laws of the Dominican Republic. I have been tested as recently as 2004, and I am clean.”
In a recent interview with ESPN Deportes, Sosa said he would “calmly wait” for his induction into baseball’s Hall of Fame, for which he will become eligible in 2013. His comment angered many people and again brought up the argument of positive drug testing players being accepted into the Hall of Fame.
|Samuel Sosa and Sonia Sosa|