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Tennis Briefs: Oudin In, Serena and Venus Williams Out $$$

March 24, 2010 07:00 PM
by Rick Vach, ustaflorida.com

Oudin In for U.S. Fed Cup Hosting Russia in Birmingham

Melanie Oudin has committed to play the Fed Cup semifinal when the U.S. squad hosts Russia on April 24-25, 2010, at the Birmingham-Jefferson Convention Complex Arena in Birmingham, Ala. Now it remains to be seen whether the U.S. can bring in some firepower by adding one or both of the Williams sisters.

"[Venus has] pretty much demonstrated that she wants to go. I'm pretty confident she will be there," said U.S. Fed Cup captain Mary Joe Fernandez, speaking to the Birmingham News. "We'll see about Serena, depending on how she comes back from [her knee] injury. She's pretty much going on a week to week basis."

Serena Williams skipped the Indian Wells event, then withdrew from the Sony Ericsson Open in Miami citing her knee injury.

Birmingham organizers say they are looking at eclipsing the all-time Fed Cup attendance record of 5,700, hoping to draw a good number of fans from Oudin's home state of Georgia.


 Venus (left) and Serena (middle) Williams

Serena, Venus Hit in the Bank Account at Indian Wells

WTA Tour CEO Stacey Allaster says Serena Williams will miss out on $400,000 and Venus Williams on $150,000 by not participating in the BNP Paribas Open last week in Indian Wells, Calif., in March.

The Palm Beach Gardens, Fla.-based sisters have annually skipped the WTA tournament since 2001 when, after Venus withdrew from her semifinal against Serena right before the match citing injury, Serena was booed by fans during the final and their father Richard Williams accused the crowd of racial taunts.

The respective $400,000 and $150,000 amounts that would have gone to the sisters (Serena would have gotten more because she is higher ranked) would have come from the WTA Tour's year-end bonus pool of $4.5 million the tour sets aside for Top 10 players that meet their tournament commitments.

Williams Sisters Collect Honors

World No. 1 Serena Williams was named the 2009 WTA Tour Player of the Year, and with sister Venus was named Doubles Team of the Year at a ceremony held at the Sony Ericsson Open in Miami this week.

Serena Williams, who is not playing Miami this week due to a knee injury, last year won the Australian Open and Wimbledon, and was a semifinalist at the US Open and a quarterfinalist at the French Open. In doubles the sisters won the Australian Open, Wimbledon, the US Open, and the Stanford doubles titles.

"It's exciting because I don't think we've won the Doubles Team of the Year award before," Serena Williams told The Associated Press. "I won the daily double today and that was cool."

Other American winners were Melanie Oudin honored as the Newcomer of the Year, and doubles specialist Liezel Huber won the Player Service Award for the fourth time in her career.





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