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Venus Williams as Duke Ellington

 “Venus Williams Is Straight Outta Compton!” Venus Williams is Duke Ellington at the piano. Keep your solos understated, perfect. Let others in the orchestra stand out: the saxophone, the trumpet, Serena. Yet for the first half of her career, it was Venus’s tennis that screamed lead trumpet. All the other women over 6 feet tall who won Wimbledon–Davenport, Sharapova, Kvitova—moved in the freeway’s slow lane while Venus gobbled up turf as if on a German Autobahn. Great speed, great height, great power. Those are the scary athletes. And that most outrageous of all shots for the old-school folks: the fierce swinging volley of both forehand and backhand wings. But what happens as you age, as health problems emerge such as Sjogren’s syndrome. What will happen to those millions of young girls, especially girls of color, who see themselves, their possibilities, in the way you carry yourself? What is grace? What is beauty? When arguing for equal pay at Wimbledon, keep your solos understated, perfect: The message I like to convey to women and girls across the globe is that there is no glass ceiling.

About the Artist:

Based in San Francisco, Brian Estill has a BA in Art from San Jose State University. Often working in the area of sports portraiture, he has painted numerous tennis players such as Gael Monfils, Roger Federer, Novak Djokovic, Andre Agassi, and others. His work emphasizes a very colorful and direct approach to his subjects. An emerging artist, Brian exhibited his paintings at his first public show in February of this year. You can learn more about him and see more of his work on his website.  

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“Venus Williams” was first published in Tennis Players as Works of Art with the National Senior Men’s Tennis Association.

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