Venus Williams And Serena Williams To Play Back To Back On Opening Night Of 2007 US Open Following Althena Gibson Tribute

August 27, 2007 10:32 AM

The USTA announced that Venus Williams and Serena Williams will play back to back matches on Opening Night of the US Open. They will compete following a historic tribute to Althea Gibson that will celebrate the 50th anniversary of her historic title victory at the U.S. Nationals (formerly the US Open).

Serena Williams was the first black woman since Althea Gibson to win the US Open. Venus Williams was the first black woman since Gibson to win Wimbledon. Together Serena Williams and Venus Williams have won 14 Grand Slam titles. Each has won the US Open twice.

“Opening Night will be one of the most historic nights in US Open history,” said Arlen Kantarian, Chief Executive, Professional Tennis, USTA. “We can’t imagine a more fitting way to commemorate Althea Gibson’s achievements, than seeing these two great champions -- and pioneers in their own right -- take the stage on Opening Night.”

“Althea Gibson opened the door, said Zina Garrison, U.S. Fed Cup Captain. “Venus and Serena knocked it down.”

The Opening Night Ceremony, entitled “Breaking Barriers,” will feature more than 15 African-American female pioneers from the fields of sports, entertainment, politics and the arts in a special on-court celebration of Althea Gibson’s life and career.

Serena Williams is scheduled to play Angelique Kerber of Germany. Venus Williams drew a qualifier for her first-round match-up.