SERENA WILLIAMS: SHE’S BAAAAAAACK!!!

SERENA AGAIN

Bedecked in a hard-to-miss canary yellow, Serena began her quest to defend her Australian Open title.  Her opponent 24 year old, Camila Giorgi wasn’t quite enough to hold off the powerful younger sister of tennis great, Venus Williams.  Serena managed to capture three out of four grand slams in the 2015 season and she certainly seems poised to put on a repeat performance in 2016.  Williams is one grand slam away from tying Steffi Graf’s  historic record. Graf has the most Grand Slams of the Open era with 22.

Serena held off the Italian, Giorgi by beating her in two sets 6-4, 7-5.  I’ll keep you updated on her progress through this tournament.

 

JAMES BLAKE WANTS COP FIRED

It has now been a few days since the an overly aggressive NYC Police Officer tackled  innocent former tennis star, James Blake, and cuffed him for 15 minutes.  This was a case of mistaken identification and yet it still does not sit well with most who hear this story.  A picture of the intended suspect, who resembles Blake, has also surfaced yet that has absolutely nothing to do with how Blake was treated.

blake1   Blake thinks that this cop should be fired.

From the Associated Press:

“I don’t think this person should ever have a badge or a gun again … I don’t think it’s too much to ask … I think that that kind of police officer tarnishes the badge, which I have the utmost respect for and I believe that the majority of police officers do great work and they’re heroes. So this person doesn’t ever belong in the same sentence with the heroes that are doing the right kind of police work and keeping the public safe.”

James Frascatore, the plainclothes officer in question, has been named in a number of civil rights lawsuits where excessive force was alleged.  He has also been the subject of at least four civilian complaints. This time he may have gone too far.  With the current climate centering around abuse by cops and the high profile nature of his most current victim, James Blake, I’m pretty certain that Frascatore’s days are numbered.  I still think that Blake should sue in order to shed more light on an issue that is very prevalent in our society today.

NYC ARREST VIDEO OF JAMES BLAKE (FORMER TENNIS STAR)

This is one of those stories along with an accompanying video that makes me sick to my stomach.  My hope and my wish is that James Blake will sue  the arresting officer and the NYC Police Department.  There are too many ways that this incident could have been avoided but instead… this young man was humiliated and cuffed because this overzealous (I could include more adjectives) officer did not do due diligence.  He could have easily identified himself and… questioned Blake until he was satisfied that this was/was not the suspect that he was looking for.

Here is a picture of Blake and the suspect that they were seeking.

blake

Blake is on the left and the unidentified suspect’s picture is on the right.

  Check out the story from the Associated Press below:

NEW YORK (AP) — Video surveillance released Friday of the mistaken arrest of former tennis star James Blake shows a plainclothes police officer who has a history of excessive-force complaints grabbing Blake by the arm and tackling him to the ground.

Officer James Frascatore’s rough arrest of the hometown favorite outside a midtown Manhattan hotel on Wednesday prompted apologies from New York City’s mayor and police commissioner.

Frascatore was the subject of four civilian complaints in a seven-month period of 2013, and he has been named in two federal civil rights lawsuits as being among a group of officers accused of beating, pepper spraying and falsely arresting two Queens men in separate incidents that year.

The surveillance footage shows Blake standing against a silver post outside the Grand Hyatt New York when Frascatore approaches suddenly, grabs Blake, spins him around and throws him to the ground.

Stephen Davis, the NYPD’s top spokesman, released the video Friday and said Blake was interviewed by internal affairs detectives Thursday night.

Frascatore, who has four years on the force and previously worked as a police officer in Florida, was the officer who arrested Blake, a law enforcement official confirmed Friday. The official was not authorized to publicly discuss the case and spoke on condition of anonymity.

The official said one of the complaints was exonerated, another dismissed, a third — for refusing to identify himself — was substantiated, and the status of the fourth was unclear.

In a statement, Blake said that “while I continue to believe the vast majority of our police officers are dedicated public servants who conduct themselves appropriately, I know that what happened to me is not uncommon.”

Mayor Bill de Blasio and Police Commissioner William Bratton said in a statement that the city “extends deepest apologies to Mr. Blake” and that both the mayor and police commissioner “stand ready” to meet with Blake.

“The incident remains under investigation to determine what contributed to the errors made, who may be held accountable, and what we can learn to prevent these mistakes from being repeated in the future,” they said.

Bratton said earlier Friday that investigators were reviewing the officer’s disciplinary record “understanding that some of those issues were exonerated.” He didn’t elaborate.

A number listed for Frascatore, 38, wasn’t in service Friday and a spokesman for his union declined to comment on the claims.

Patrick J. Lynch, head of the police officer’s union, said the officer was apprehending “what he had every reason to believe was an individual who had just committed a crime.”

He said he regrets any embarrassment or injury suffered by Blake as a result, but the apprehension was made “under fluid circumstances where the subject might have fled, and the officer did a professional job of bringing the individual to the ground.”

Frascatore’s four complaints to the Civilian Complaint Review Board, which investigates claims of police misconduct, are more than average for an officer. Three-fourths of the department has two or fewer complaints against them, according to the board’s data. The complaints against Frascatore were first reported by radio’s WNYC.

In one of the federal lawsuits, Warren Diggs claims Frascatore and other officers arrested him in the driveway of his own home in January 2013 as he attempted to go inside to get his ID, hitting him on the head so hard he fell down and then pepper spraying him, court papers show. City lawyers are reviewing that case, a spokesman for the Law Department said.

Four months later, Stefon Luckey claims Frascatore was among a group of officers who punched him, pepper-sprayed him and hurled racial epithets at him outside a Queens deli, the lawsuit said. Luckey’s lawyer, Philip Hines, said his client texted him after Frascatore’s name became public: “Everything done in the dark eventually comes to light.”

Lawyers for the city “are in the early stages of litigation,” in that case, Law Department spokesman Nick Paolucci said.

Blake, 38, was arrested after he was misidentified as being involved in a fraudulent credit card scheme that was using the hotel for deliveries, police have said.

Blake had been ranked as high as No. 4 in the world and reached three Grand Slam quarterfinals. Before retiring after the 2013 U.S. Open, he won 10 singles titles, most recently in 2007.

Twice he reached the quarterfinals at the U.S. Open, a hometown tournament that seemed to bring out his best play.

___

The story has been corrected based on information from a law enforcement official to show that the officer received four complaints, not five, from the New York City agency charged with investigating allegations of police misconduct.

SERENA WINS 20TH MAJOR AT FRENCH OPEN

Williams says No. 20 was about as tough as any of her majors

Hours before American Pharoah ran his way into history with the Triple Crown, Serena Williams inched her way closer to history with her third time win of the French Open.  This was William’s 20th career major win and three major wins away from overtaking Steffi Graff as the best women’s tennis player in the open era.

Serena has had to fight off many opponents to get to this point in her storied career.

”It’s hard. I need to sit down and, like, rank them,” Williams told a small group of reporters Saturday evening after becoming the third player in tennis history to get No. 20. ”This is up there, because I was not at my best.”

She had even considered pulling out of this tournament due to an illness that left her coughing and throwing up during matches.  Williams had to come from behind (2-0) in the third set before taking the last six games.  In four of her other matches, she lost the 1st set before battling back to make it to the finals at Roland Garros.

”Down a break. Down a break. Down a break. Down a break. And I just kept coming back and I kept fighting,” Williams said, reflecting on her circuitous route through the draw. ”I just kept thinking, ‘I’m not going to give up. I’m not going to stop. I’m just going to do the best I can.’ And it just really kind of goes to show that old adage of ‘never give up.”’

If you’ve ever watcher her play, you know that she is a force to be reckoned with for many years to come.  For all intents and purposed, I believe, she is in fact the best women’s tennis player ever.  Only time will tell but from the looks of things, it won’t be much more time before we will know for sure.

 

SERENA @19

serena outfit 2015

I’ll mark this post as my first official BLACK HISTORY post of 2015.

Serena Williams now has19 Grand Slam titles under her belt.  She had been tied with Chris Evert and Martina Navratilova at 18 each.  Her win yesterday over Maria Sharapova in the Women’s Final of the 2015 Australian Open marks her 6th win there.  It is always so interesting watching her play.  The loud grunts/screams are a distraction to some but nonetheless seems par for the course nowadays.  Serena  not only was a hit on the court with her outfit, she was also a big hit with her winning speech afterwards:  “Growing up I wasn’t the richest, but I had a rich family in spirit and support. Standing here with 19 championships is something I never thought would happen. I went on court with a ball, a racquet and hope, that’s all I had. And it’s an inspiration for you guys who want to be the best – you can be, never give up and you don’t know who you can inspire.”

She has and continue to inspire hope in millions around the world.  Hopefully there’ll be many more opportunities to report on her winning ways.  Serena will definitely go down in history as one of the greatest, if not the greatest women tennis players of all time!

 

 

MEN ARE FROM MARS, WOMEN ARE FROM… VENUS

Venus… wins first title for 16 months
Check out this story below. I was thrilled to have read it. It goes to show you that when you stick with something, you can prevail. Venus has suffered over the past few years with many ailments so I am certain that this victory for her is really something special.
venus
US tennis player Venus Williams celebrates after winning the Dubai Duty Free Tennis Championships on February 22, 2014 in Dubai (AFP Photo/Marwan Naamani)
Dubai (AFP) – Venus Williams, the seven times former Grand Slam champion, won the WTA Dubai Open on Saturday to silence some of the doubters who said she could never make a significant come-back at the age of 33.
Williams produced a magnificent performance by outplaying the tournament’s sensation, Alise Cornet, 6-3, 6-0 to earn her a first title in 16 months.
Williams only gained entry into the Dubai Open with a wild card after falling outside the top 40, yet completed five fine wins.
In doing so she avenged the defeat which the French player had inflicted on her sister Serena Williams in the semi-finals, captured her first Premier level title since 2010, and ensured she would climb back into the world’s top 30.
Williams’ face was afterwards wreathed with enormous smiles, while Cornet twice dissolved into tears during the match, aware from an early stage that she was unlikely to find a way to halt one of the game’s most formidable attacker two nights in a row.
“It’s great to be back,” she said, referring to her capture of the Dubai title four years ago.
“I was expecting to be playing Serena, but Alize played an amazing game in the semis, so congratulations on that.
“I have continued being able to practise, and I have been getting healthier,” Williams went on, referring to the long term effects of the immune deficiency which has been threatening her career.
“It hasn’t been easy. I have to thank the tournament for a wild card, and my family and Serena for encouraging me. They all kept me up when I was down.”
– consistent excellence –
Despite her consistent excellence, the first blow was Cornet’s.
Combining two great forehand drives, which dragged her opponent in different directions, she reached deuce on the Williams serve, and then immediately prospered from a double fault, perhaps induced by the return of serve pressure she created on the previous point.
Williams saved that break point, but conceded the next one with a moderate second serve, which Cornet thumped back hard and deep, forcing an error.
It gave Cornet a break, a lead of 2-1, and feeling that she was not out of place in this final.
But from that moment Williams, sensing the danger, raised her game, struck the ball better and, often roaring loudly, began to exert more dominance.
She broke back at once, with some help from Cornet who took a couple of risks too many in trying to maintain the initiative, and it propelled Williams to a run of four games which did much to alter the character of the contest.
Cornet bravely saved two set points in the eighth game, but Williams concluded it with a brilliant inside out backhand, which swung itself snugly into a small gap in Cornet’s forehand corner.
Williams began the second set by breaking serve for the third time in four attempts, even though Cornet produced the shot of the match, a running forehand sidespin passing shot which Nadal might have liked.
It was a brief interlude in the plot which saw Williams increasingly able to find telling blows while Cornet was forced to stretch and strain to contain.
Another break took Williams to 3-0, which she converted to 4-0, despite having to recover from 15-40. During also profited from an uncharacteristically prodigal miss by her opponent, causing Cornet’s eyes to fill with tears, and making her drop her racket.
It took several seconds for her to recover, but although she fought on bravely the momentum of Williams’ onslaught did not cease, and she finished the match with yet another flurry of fierce drives.
Cornet’s consolations were that she had achieved her first final on a hard court surface, and that she had managed four top 20 scalps, including a career best win to reach only her second Premier level final.
She is now very close to being back the top 20 for the first time in five years, a better player than she was then, and with every prospect of further progress.
With her sequence of five wins in this tournament Venus has remained ahead of sister Serena as the active player with the most WTA Tour wins (647 to Serena’s 641). Her dream of continuing till the Rio Olympics may yet be alive.

SERENA’S 58TH CAREER TITLE

This is a brand new year but for Serena Williams… she’s looking for the same or better results. Obviously there is no slowing down in sight for the No. 1 tennis player in the world. She just defended her title at the Brisbane International. She defeated Victoria Azarenka
6-4, 7-5. Last year Serena had a 78-4 record and won 11 titles. This win was her 58th career title.

serena-azarenka