By Jessica Shambora
August 28, 2009

“It’s a stage. I’m a performer and I love to perform and being in front of the crowds and hearing them cheer for me.”

— Tennis star Serena Williams in today’s Wall Street Journal story about her and sister Venus’ renewed commitment to the game. Last year, hours after losing to a pair of little-known Chinese players in the doubles quarterfinals at the Banglaore Open in March, the sisters decided they’d had enough. They knew they weren’t playing to their potential. What was holding them back? A lack of drive and discipline. Serena admits to loving the attention of competition–but not the practice it requires.

Venus too has had her share of distractions, including a side career as a fashion designer. Now the two women have rededicated themselves to the sport, adopting strict conditioning routines and more strategic play. With the U.S. Open beginning Monday in New York, the sisters–and spectators too–are hoping that the new discipline translates on the court. –Jessica Shambora

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