The Williams sisters, Serena and Venus are in Lagos as part of the empowerment tour targeted at young women in Africa with the theme “Breaking The Mould”.
The tennis superstars who was accompanied on the trip by their mother Mrs. Oracene Price will all be in the Lagos, Nigeria for the next three days and will be busy with a lineup of activities. Their first point of call earlier today was a visit to the Governor of Lagos State, His Excellency Babatunde Raji Fashola at the state house, Alausa. They later briefed press men at Press day/Conference at the prestigious Federal Palace Hotel in Victoria Osland.
Other activities lined up during their stay in Lagos are “Kick Like A Girl” a gathering with young girls at Ikoyi Club, a school visit to talk to young girls on empowerment, an exclusive red carpet gala night and dinner then finally an exhibition tennis match at Yoruba Tennis court Onikan.
OnoBello.com team was present at the press day and will bring you transcriptions of questions posed to the William sisters by press men present.
The press day kicked off with an opening speech by Chief Molade Okoya Thomas, accountant and industrialist, as he expressed his loved for tennis and the game play of the two sisters. It was then followed by short speeches from Tunji Adeyinka of Connect Marketing Services, Mr. Walter Drenth, the Marketing Director of Nigerian Breweries and Mrs. Tope Ituyen, Head of External Relations, P & G. Also present at the conference was the Public Affairs officer and representative of the United States Consulate, Mrs. Dehab Ghebreab.
Venus Williams, born 1980 is a seven-time Grand Slam title winner (singles), and Serena Williams, born 1981, is a fifteen-time Grand Slam title winner (singles). Both sisters have had the honor of being ranked by the Women’s Tennis Association at the World No. 1 position. In 2002, after the French Open, Venus Williams and Serena Williams were ranked No. 1 and No. 2 respectively.
With all these accomplishments and so much more, having the Williams sisters in Nigeria for the planned African Tour as part of the first leg of recently launched ‘Breaking the Mould’ (BTM) campaign, a women’s empowerment initiative which has already been a source of international support towards Nigeria, is being marked for significant change towards young women in Nigeria.
While in Lagos, the Williams sisters are scheduled to inspire, motivate and mentor a broad range of audiences through a series of supporting initiatives and according to organizers of the BTM campaign, this would acknowledge the role that women play in shifting perceptions and encouraging development on all levels across the African continent.
The exhibition tennis match would be screened live on Super sport on Friday, for those who won’t be able to be at the Yoruba Tennis Court.
Questions & Answers At The Press Conference
As stated in a past interview, what do you mean about how you felt when Venus lost at the recently concluded win at Wimbledon(By Zuriel Oduwole, 10 Year Old from Tennis Life Media)
(Serena Williams) I took the loss the same way I would have taken mine. I can’t be consoled in a situation like that, and I am unhappy because I feel what she feels. But I also always learn from her, every match she has won or lost. I learn from her losses and work hard to beat those opponents.
You have established a Tennis School in Kenya. How is that doing and are you going to put one up in Nigeria too?(By Zuriel Oduwole)
(Serena Williams) The school is doing well, but it is more of an educative school. It’ll be good to have a lot of African tennis players and it would have been nice to have some on the tour as well, so establishing a tennis school in Nigeria is definitely something that can be worked towards.
Venus, about 12 years ago you won your first grand slam title at Wimbledon. How did that feel?(By Zuriel Oduwole)
(Venus Williams) I can honestly say that it was a good feeling, but I was motivated by I and Serena’s win a year before at the French Open so there was motivation to work hard and win at Wimbledon.
Growing up with your dad, Richard Williams, as your coach, was that hard on you?(By Zuriel Oduwole)
(Venus Williams) Yes, it was hard but there was a lot of fun though. Even with my mum who was strict on us sometimes, but like I said there was a lot of fun too so I guess he did it right. They both did it right.
Did it pay off?(By Zuriel Oduwole)
(Venus Williams) Absolutely.
Having gotten this far and even being in Nigeria right now, can you say that you are setting your sights on Rio?(By CNN Reporter)
(Serena Williams) That’s the main goal, not only to be there but to perform and do well, to give it our best.
(Venus Williams) Yes, that’s our goal.
Since this is the first visit to Nigeria, does it mean you have saved the best for last?(By Jacob Akindele, Formerly of Tennis Week Magazine)
(Serena Williams) This is definitely not our last trip to Nigeria, we hope to keep coming back and we hope to give everyone a great show.
Why are you here doing the “Breaking The Mould” Initiative to empower women? What empowerment have you gotten so far apart from your mother?(By Adaora, E! News Africa)
(Venus Williams) We started at a very young age with bright eyes and dreams to conquer the world, but as you grow older you realize that you want to help other people, and that becomes more important than anything. This initiative is giving an initiative to do that, and having being empowered by our mother, grandma, among other women, it is only right that we inspire others too.
With more than 20 Grand Slam Titles between both of you, and with Serena competing in more than 30 matches alone this year, how do you keep your motivation?(By Frederick, CNBC)
(Serena Williams) We love what we do, we love tennis, and we love the fans, and its passion and love for what you do that can make you do more.
Speaking of breaking boundaries and breaking the mould, the Williams sisters have been recognized worldwide as opening grounds for black players to win trophies, how do you think you have encouraged other blacks?(By Tim Cocks, Reuters)
(Serena Williams) It’s a joy to be an inspiration and break the mould, to make people work harder to be able to compete. The message we hope to always give is that it doesn’t matter your background, or where you come from and if you have a dream you can do anything.
What’s responsible for the bond between you two? Because it’s hard to see people who can be so competitive maintain a special bond.(By Adeola, NTA)
(Venus Williams) We thank God and our family for the bond and relationship between us, especially our parents. But this is the way all our sisters are, and hopefully during the exhibition match tomorrow Serena won’t ace me so much.
This is to commend your mother for the achievement of 22 Grand Slam Titles for singles and 13 Grand Slam Titles for doubles, and to commend the Williams sisters for their admirable and respectful relationship even though it is just a year difference between their ages, and this is hoping that Nigerians would get the best match from the sisters even though the match scheduled for tomorrow is an exhibition match. Venus is known for her fast serves and Serena is known for her Aces so hopefully Nigerians will see the best tomorrow.(By Deacon Ositelu, Veteran)
(Serena Williams) Nobody can be the best unless they love what they do.
Are you Nigerians by any chance? Especially because of your sister that was named Yetunde, which is a Yoruba and Nigerian Name. (By Tunde Oyedele)
(Serena Williams) As much as we would love to be Nigerian, we are American and proudly so too. The name Yetunde was given to our sister by our mother just to pay respect to the African lineage.
The press conference was concluded with a closing prayer from Chief Okoya Thomas and then a vote of thanks from Kazeem Abimbola of Connect Marketing Services.
Other significant parts of the press conference was the handing of wrapped gifts to the Williams sisters by the marketing Director of Nigerian Breweries which he revealed to contain Ankara Jackets, also the speech by Venus Williams where she agreed that women have a lot to contribute in the world and as such the BTM initiative was a good one. In Serena’s speech she spoke on the desire to empower young girls, to tell them that if they dare to dream they can break the mould.
Again, the exhibition tennis match would be screened live on Super sport on Friday, for those who won’t be able to be at the Yoruba Tennis Court. For more updates on the visit of the Williams sisters to Lagos, Nigeria, stay logged on to OnoBello.com
Pictures Of The Williams Sisters Arriving In Lagos
Video Clip Of The Williams Sister’s Arriving In Lagos
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