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CNN Today

The Williams Effect; Venus and Serena Serve as Inspirations to Inner-City Youth

Aired July 7, 2000 - 1:33 p.m. ET

THIS IS A RUSH TRANSCRIPT. THIS COPY MAY NOT BE IN ITS FINAL FORM AND MAY BE UPDATED.

LOU WATERS, CNN ANCHOR: Now the latest from Wimbledon. Pat Rafter advances to the Men's Finals after beating Andre Agassi today in five sets. Rafter becomes the first Australian to advance to the Wimbledon finals in 13 years. He will face number-one seeded Pete Sampras in the final match on Sunday.

There are no hard feelings between the Williams sisters. Venus and Serena teamed up today to win a spot in the Women's Doubles Finals. You will recall that Venus beat Serena yesterday to advance to the Women's Finals against Lindsay Davenport tomorrow.

NATALIE ALLEN, CNN ANCHOR: Well, as the Williams sisters make their mark in the tennis world -- they are certainly doing that -- they are attracting a new generation of players to the sport.

WATERS: Yes, as you might expect. CNN's Mark Potter -- no relation to Harry -- visited a neighborhood in Miami where Venus and Serena are important inspirations.

(BEGIN VIDEOTAPE)

MARK POTTER, CNN CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): At Moore Park, in Miami's Allapattah neighborhood, summer tennis camp is in full swing. In this inner-city area, among the mostly African-American children and teens, interest in tennis is sharply on the rise.

Coach Kendedrick Simmons says there are two reasons for that and they just played each other at Wimbledon.

KENDEDRICK SIMMONS, TENNIS CAMP COACH: That's all they talk about here, the kids here, talking about Venus, Serena. They might not know anybody else. I mean, everybody knows Agassi, but besides them, Venus, Serena, that's it.

POTTER: Twelve-year-old Ashanti Williams says she gets a special charge whenever sisters Venus and Serena Williams appear on TV.

ASHANTI WILLIAMS: It makes we want to get out of my bed and just go out and tennis, and just play.

POTTER: To 15-year-old Charelle Lans, the Williams sisters are role models. In them, she sees there is absolutely nothing that can hold her back.

CHARELLE LANS: I know that tennis is a prestigious sport and like to know that I can do the same thing that they can do too.

POTTER: Ten-year-old Keisha Dean agrees.

KEISHA DEAN: I feel more determined that I can do it and that I can be a pro.

POTTER: Johann Malivert and Jairo Angueira coach the younger players. Next fall, they'll be seniors on their high school tennis teams. Johann understands the importance of Venus and Serena. Her hero was Arthur Ashe.

JOHANN MALIVERT: I saw myself, kind of. I figured I could get out here and play, too.

POTTER: Many of these youngsters say they connect with the Williams sisters, because they are African-American. But 11-year-old Lindsay Syeh says that's not as important as what they teach about success.

LINDSEY SYEH: I could probably be like Venus, but then again, I could be something else.

POTTER (on camera): Like what?

SYEH: Like a doctor.

POTTER (voice-over): Lessons in life at summer tennis camp.

Mark Potter, CNN, Miami.

(END VIDEOTAPE)

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