Lagos- Last Friday, some 2,000 enthusiastic fans gathered in Lagos to witness the Williams Sisters, Venus and Serena round off their trip with a high profile friendly match. The sisters who are both counted among the world and United States' most successful athletes, share 22 major Women's Singles Championships between them.
The match was the first leg of the recently launched Breaking the Mould (BTM) women’s initiative by the tennis giants. The BTM is an African Women's engagement initiative, which uses national and international women figures considered as Mould Breakers to showcase how women have achieved greatness across various portfolios.
In an earlier statement, the organizers of the tour of Lagos said of the duo’s visit, "Serena and Venus are role 'Mould Breakers' having gone through the crucibles of life to become what they are today. As 'Champions of Change', they are coming to Lagos to encourage more women to breakmoulds that have stood between them and their potentials."
In essence, their trip was mainly aimed at promoting "the role that women play in shifting perceptions and encouraging development at all levels across the African continent."
Venus, 32, clearly beat her 31 year old sibling, Serena in two straight sets of 6-4 and 7-5 respectively on Friday.
During their four day stay in Lagos, they gave a lecture, attended a fundraising dinner and staged an exhibition match in which the two sisters came head to head with a 6 year old and 9 year old – in a double friendly match. Another headliner at the exhibition match was when a man in the crowd raised a placard that read “I am the Nigerian husband Serena never had.”
The Williams sisters, Venus and Serena Wednesday also put a halt to insinuations that they were from Nigeria and not the United States of America as perceived.
Venus spoke in response to the question on their origin at the Federal Palace Hotel. She said that while they love Nigeria, the fact was that they were from the United States of America. In her own words, she said "This is another country that we would love to come from but we are from the United States and are proud to be from there as well."
On their mother's decision to name their late sister, Yetunde, after a Nigerian, Venus also said that it was because of their mum's love for Africa.
Another controversy sparked by the visit of the tennis icons was the fact that the organizers spent a hefty N 160 million (less than a million dollars) to bring the tennis stars to Nigeria.
The duo are said to be getting ready for the second leg of the “Breaking the mould” women rights campaign match to be played in South Africa soon.