SUPER SIBLINGS: Venus, left, and Serena Williams during their whirlwind African tour to inspire youth on the continent to pursue their dreams. Their tour started last week in Nigeria, where Venus won their exhibition match. Picture: Thapelo Morebudi
They may not have met with world icon and former president Nelson Mandela as tradition dictates, but tennis superstars Serena and Venus Williams’ visit to the country will no doubt go down in history as a great example of American celebrities using their prominence to inspire young people to pursue their dreams.
Since their hyped arrival in the country on Saturday to champion the Breaking The Mould campaign, the sisters have been engaged in a busy schedule that saw them inspire young girls during a tennis clinic at Arthur Ashe Academy in Soweto on Saturday. The tennis duo coached children aged 8 to 16.
With no formal tennis training, both Serena and Venus have risen to succeed and inspire. True to their illustrious tennis careers, the sisters talked to the kids about believing in their dreams and themselves.
During a press conference at Montecasino earlier, Serena spoke about the impact the initiative stands to make, saying: “Having the opportunity to show these women that they can break the mould can really create champions.”
Venus added: “We hope to show the people of South Africa the importance of doing your best and reaching your full potential.” Yesterday at the Johannesburg Standard Bank Arena, the sisters faced each other in an exhibition match in front of a sell-out crowd of 4000 fans.
Serena defeated her elder sister, Venus, in two sets (6-3; 6-4) in their first match played on South African turf.
This latest win for Serena means she’s won 14 of the 24 games they’ve gone head to head in. Speaking after her victory yesterday, Serena said: “We want to encourage young people to become South African champions in tennis. That’s why we are here, and this is not the end of it. We are going to make sure that we grow tennis in South Africa and do more to encourage young people.”