Venus coming for Pon De Rock
TENNIS IS BACK pon de rock – with a Williams sister to boot.
Less than two years after her younger sibling graced these shores, former world No.1 Venus Williams is expected to serve off the latest Tennis Pon De Rock festival to end the exhibition series’ year-long hiatus.
An inside source revealed the elder Williams’ anticipated involvement in the three-day festival after the 2010 edition was called off following the withdrawal of then world No. 12 Gael Monfils.
But the 29-year-old Frenchman, currently ranked No. 9, has supposedly reconfirmed his commitment to appear in the series along with American John Isner and women’s No. 4 Victoria Azarenka of Belarus.
The inaugural festival appeared to be a rousing success for organizers Barbados Invitational Tennis Exhibition (BITE), as Serena Williams and current world No. 1 Caroline Wozniacki wowed the Barbados public in a one-set exhibition.
And the following festival promised to be even bigger, with the likes of Monfils, Isner and former US Open champ Juan Martin del Potro confirming their participation in the two-day event.
However, BITE had to abandon the exhibition after failing to find a last-minute replacement for Monfils when the Frenchman was forced to pull out due to a foot injury.
A seven-time Grand Slam champ, Venus will become the sixth top-ranked tennis player to appear in an exhibition in Barbados, joining her younger sister Serena, Wozniacki, Bjorn Borg, Ilie Nastase and Althea Gibson.
But her participation could be under a cloud of uncertainty as the 31-year-old withdrew from this year’s US Open after being diagnosed with Sjögren’s syndrome, an autoimmune disease.
Venus also retired from a third-round match in this year’s Australian Open with a hip-muscle injury before the ailment forced her to miss Roland Garros altogether. (JM)