Venus Williams could attest to that. The House of Williams came to Key Biscayne embroiled in controversy born in Indian Wells. There, moments before a much-anticipated semifinal match against her sister, Serena, Venus withdrew because of tendinitis in her right knee. Unless you've been living in Ulan Bator, you know the rest: Allegations flew that the Williamses' outlandish father, Richard, orchestrates the outcomes of matches between them and had ordered Venus to default. The fans booed Serena as she went on to win the title. Richard complained that the tennis world was awash in racism and envy of his daughters. Despite plenty of goading—including Martina Hingis's claim that the charges of racism were "total nonsense"—Venus declined to join the fray last week and remained focused on tennis.
Showing no ill effects of the tendinitis, Williams overpowered Hingis in the semifinals and then outlasted Jennifer Capriati 4-6, 6-1, 7-6 in a gripping final. Though Williams faced eight match points—five in a spellbinding 26-point game as Capriati served for the match at 6-5 in the third set—and committed 71 unforced errors, her confidence never waned. "I never really thought I might lose," she said. Was her title particularly sweet given the contretemps of the past few weeks? "I don't worry about that," she said. "All I know is that Serena and I are never going to stop winning unless we die or get injured or get old."
Agassi would contend that the third scenario isn't necessarily fatal. On Sunday, having finished off Gambill, Agassi performed his customary kiss-and-bow routine for the adoring capacity crowd. An hour after the match, he was escorted to a courtesy car behind the stadium so he could catch a flight back to Las Vegas. Before climbing in, he dropped his bag and obliged a throng of autograph seekers that were clustered nearby. When a security guard asked Agassi about making his flight, the best player in tennis waved him off. He had plenty of time left.