Venus and Serena Williams, James Blake and others came to Bryant Park in New York City to show off their tennis skills before the start of the US Open.
Players took to the blue court where the Williams sisters and tennis legend John McEnroe played singles and doubles matches. Then Venus and Serena broke out into a “dance off”, with younger sister Serena seemingly taking the title with a little razzle-dazzle move. However, both sisters are more focused on a much bigger prize.
“The US open means a lot to me. It’s my first grand slam I was able to win and it will always hold a special place especially since its in New York,” said Serena Williams.
The sisters are also the first African-American women to hold a limited stake in an NFL Franchise with the Miami Dolphins.
Serena says she sees the purchase as a way to be pioneers in the eyes of young people and that while she didn’t grow up with a silver spoon in her mouth, she managed to make a good life for herself.
Venus’ incentive was much simpler, “It’s a great sport. We love the game. Go Dolphins.”
John McEnroe entertained everyone with his usual brand of “bad boy” tennis. A racquet or two was thrown to the ground but it was all in good fun.
The star athletes also played a few sets with the children from the Harlem Junior Tennis Program, which teaches tennis to kids from the New York area. James Blake is an alum of the program.
As a child, he heard his role model Author Ashe speak at a similar event which inspired him to pursue tennis.
“It’s a little strange because I was such a big fan and so excited as a kid to see someone famous, a big tennis player, come in and be a part of anything to help out and now I’m that person,” Blake said.
Blake understands that there could be many more stories like him and the Williams sisters and that’s why he says he wants to use events like this one to let kids know that they can also achieve their goals.