Venus & Serena Finish Nigerian Leg Of Tour
Published November 03, 2012 12:00
LAGOS, Nigeria - The Williams sisters - two legends in tennis, and legends in just sports all together - have completed the first leg of a very meaningful visit to Africa, spending three days in Lagos, Nigeria, spreading the message of empowerment to young girls throughout the West African country.
After a fantastic finish to the tennis season, both of them winning their last tournaments of the year - first Venus in Luxembourg, then Serena in Istanbul - the Williamses headed to Lagos incredibly empowered themselves.
Wednesday was the first day of the three day tour and included a visit to the government house, where they were presented the emblem of the state government by Lagos State Governor Babatunde Fashola; a press conference, where they talked about the aim of the trip, which was to promote the role women play in shifting perceptions and encouraging development at all levels across the continent; and a two hour tennis clinic at a club in Ikoyi.
"It's great to come here for such a wonderful initiative," Venus said at the press conference. "Serena and I have been looking forward to this and we're also excited to play tennis here! We've played some unbelievable matches and finals together around the world, and this will be like our first final in Nigeria."
"We want to empower young girls," Serena commented. "We want to let them know if you dare to dream, you can achieve any goal you want to - it's okay to have a dream, it's okay to have a goal, and it's okay to break the mould."
On Thursday, Venus and Serena visited the Federal Government College in the Ikoyi district of Lagos for a question and answer session with young girls from the school, as well as a little bit of dancing with them afterwards.
Venus and Serena wrapped up their visit at the Lagos Lawn Tennis Club on Friday, first pairing with two young girls for a friendly doubles match, then playing a singles match against each other in front of about 2,000 fans - a match Venus would end up winning in two close sets, 64 75. The pair also signed autographs and were given an honorary membership to the club.
Serena has visited Africa before; for Venus this was the first time. "I've always wanted to come here," Venus commented. "We've been looking forward to being inspired by the young women in Nigeria, and to inspire them as well."
"We'd definitely love to see more athletes come out of Africa," Serena said.
The Williamses will go to South Africa for the second leg of their trip.