Thursday, September 10, 2015

Was Venus and Serena's US Open match staged?

Katelyn Caniford | Towpath Tennis Pro
Rolling Stone

The story could not have been written better. One of America’s favorite sibling athlete-duos squaring up against each other in the quarter-finals of the biggest tennis tournaments in the country, the US Open. On Tuesday September 8th, 2015, Venus and Serena Williams faced off against each other for the 27th time at Arthur Ashe Stadium in NYC. After 98 minutes of back and forth tennis culminating in a somewhat close third set, Serena took the victory 6-2, 1-6, 6-3 to put her just two matches short of not only winning the US Open, but also achieving a calendar-year Grand Slam. If Serena wins her next few matches, she will become one of only a few women to ever win all four major singles titles in a season.                                                                                       
The importance of this tournament for Serena is huge--so huge in fact that one might ask the question as to whether or not this match, or at least some parts of it, could have potentially been predetermined. Now I will say that I’m a fan of both of the Williams sisters and think that they are two of the greatest women’s players of all time, however, after witnessing their match Tuesday night I had a hard time believing that 100% of everything that I was watching was not staged in some sense. From the over the top reactions from Serena, to the absolute dominance of Venus in the second set, I think there might have been some talks between the two beforehand as to how they wanted their match to go. It was so tightly contested that it almost seemed too good to be true. Serena dominating the first, Venus dominating the second, and then Venus creeping up slightly near the end of the third--it was textbook perfection! Not to mention, I’m sure that Venus absolutely would not have wanted to be the one to take away her sister’s chance of becoming one of the few women to ever achieve all four Major singles wins in a season.
To me, what seemed like a dead giveaway to what was potentially going on were the strong reactions from Serena when she would miss her shots. Don’t get me wrong, I tend to react strongly when I’m not playing well too, but it almost seemed that in this match she was forcing herself to react that way for drama-sake. And then to do so against her sister of all people? It’s almost like she had to tell herself to freak out for the crowd.
This then made me think of what other majoring sporting events that have possibly been predetermined beforehand, because it’s no shocker it’s been done before (Hellooo 2014’s World Cup, 2002’s NBA Playoff scandal, or the WWE!) Now granted, I'm not undermining professional athletes or the hard work they put into their sport, but I do think that when it comes to “Cinderella stories” or huge moments in the world of sports (or whatever will draw big ratings), there is a possibility that some, if not all, parts of them are predetermined or at least discussed beforehand by the participants/officials. Who knows, maybe this is just all speculation but I am curious to hear thoughts from others about this match, as well as thoughts on the potential of fixed results in all sports today.

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  1. There had to be some discussion between the sisters. There also was some discussion probably between the coaches as to what would be a dream result. When siblings play each other you can never really say it was an objective event. It is only objective if one really does not know how to play, and that is not the case here. It think there was too much destiny on Serena's side to say that anyone would really want to upend her quest. All in all I think the match was an excellent exhibition of the awesome skills that the William sister have. When healthy they are so far superior as athletes than any of the contenders out there.

  2. I think it was discussed that Venus would not impede serena's chances of making history even though both sisters have made it over and over again. I figured that they would split sets and plus serena hit like two drops shots. When has serena ever hit drops shots in a match? That definitely proves it

  3. Well written Katelyn. Expressed a lot of my sentiments too. Yet, you expressed your thoughts in a highly professional manner and in a nicer, more family friendly fashion than I could have ever done. Thanks for your insights.

  4. I doubt it was staged, looked very natural to me.

  5. In various big tournaments, we have found this America’s favorite sibling athlete-duos facing each other as competitors. Both of them are good quality players and perform well from the past few decades and watching them will be very exciting for the viewers. In the 2015 US open also we have found both the siblings playing against each other to won the final position. It's really exciting to watch them again in the future tournaments.
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