By Kunle Adewale
Against the backdrop of insinuations that the Williams sisters, Venus and Serena, have their origin from Nigeria, the sisters have debunked the claim, insisting they are Americans.
While reacting to a question at a media parley Wednesday at the Federal Palace Hotel on whether they originated from Badagry, in Lagos, the sisters who were in company of their mother, Oracene Price, said: "We surely have an African roots, but we are from America. My mum just named our late cousin, Yetunde, after a Nigerian, but from America," Venus affirmed with a grin on her face.
The sisters said it was so exciting and a great privilege to be in Nigeria, just as they also admitted that it will not be their last visit to the country.
"I feel great to be here for such a wonderful initiative. We will continue to make the difference in the lives of oncoming black tennis players in the world and this will definitely not be our last visit to Nigeria," Venus, whom Serena described as the spokesperson for the two stressed.
Serena, who had to dash to South Africa before touching down in Lagos said Nigeria is giving her a great and different feeling, just as she said she receive many mails from Nigerians on twitter.
"I feel honoured and proud that some Nigerians are taking to tennis as a result of our rise to the top of our career. It's really amazing," she said.
Continuing, the 2012 US Open winner said she feels sad each time her sister loses a game. "I take her loss the same way I feel when I loses, I feel angry. It was always emotional each time I watch my sister loses," she said as a matter of fact.
Recalling her first Grand Slam win, Venus described it as an 'amazing feeling'. Saying she appreciates those moments more than now, just as she said her dad did a great job working and improving on them. "He was very tough on us," he said.
While Nigeria is still holding various workshops on how to move sports forward, the Williams Sisters are already preparing for the 2016 Rio Olympic Games. "We hope to be in Rio and we are already preparing for the games," Serena confirmed.
The duo later headed to Ikoyi Club 1938, where they held a tennis clinic with about 200 school children of ages six to 16 years.
In his reaction, frontline tennis promoter, Chief Molade Okoya-Thomas said it has always been a dream to have the tennis icons in Nigeria. "You can't imagine how many fans you have in Nigeria," he told the sisters.
Venus and Serena will Thursday visit some schools and later be hosted to a gala night. Their visit to Nigeria would be rounded up on Friday after which they will travel to South Africa in continuation of the Breaking The Mould tour.
The sisters shared in-between themselves 34 grand slams, including doubles.