Venus and Serena Bond with America’s Tennis Future

From Doug Robson at USA T0day, a story of the Willliams sisters and the next generation of American Women’s tennis players.  Some excerpts:

Young Americans build bond with stars Venus, Serena

Last year here 20-year-old Christina McHale said she had never exchanged words with 15-time Grand Slam titlist Serena.

Ditto Jamie Hampton, who turned 23 this month and beat Luksika Kumkhum of Thailand 6-1, 6-2 Thursday to set up a third-round meeting with No. 1 Victoria Azarenka.

Sloane Stephens, 19, called Serena “our tennis god” but had barely conversed with her.

Twelve months later, the story has changed.

Hampton and McHale have practiced with the sisters, shared laughs over dinner and now exchange pleasantries at tournaments.

Stephens? She and Serena are buddies.

“I love her, she’s amazing, she’s a god, but now she’s like my friend,” said 29th-seeded Stephens, who joined Hampton in the third round Thursday with a 6-4, 6-3 defeat of former junior rival Kristina Mladenovic of France.

Among American men, the experience gap has been more easily bridged.

Veterans such as the now-retired Andy Roddick and Mardy Fish have gone out of their way to mentor prospects such as Sam Querrey, Ryan Harrison and Jack Sock, making it one of the most congenial groups in memory.

There is a lot more to this story which can be found at:

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