Tennis champion Serena Williams testified Tuesday that she never agreed to play against male counterparts in a "Battle of the Sexes" match and never authorized her father to make the deal for her.
Serena and Venus Williams and their father, Richard Williams, are being sued by promoters who say they reneged on a contract to play in the proposed 2001 match. The promoters, a company called CCKR, claim in their lawsuit that the event would have raised $45 million (Ђ38.19 million).
Serena Williams told jurors that she never intended to play in the match and that she never signed a document that appeared to bare her signature. "The only person who had that authority was myself, and no one ever asked me if that's what I wanted to do," Serena Williams testified. "I've always made my own decisions and signed my own documents." Venus Williams was scheduled to testify Wednesday at the trial, which is expected to last two more weeks, attorneys said.
The lawsuit contends that Richard Williams, and his company, Richard Williams Tennis and Associates, agreed to a contract in which both sisters would participate in the match. The principals in the CCKR Carol Clarke and Keith Rhodes had negotiated directly with Richard Williams.
Serena Williams said her father did not have that authority. "He's always acted as a dad and a consultant to me. My dad has never asked to be a manager," Serena Williams said.
CCKR began working to secure a venue, make other preparations and raise money for the Battle of the Sexes event after Richard Williams signed a contract with the promoters in March 2001, according to their lawsuit.
A short time later, the company that has long represented the sisters, IMG, informed Rhodes that they had exclusive rights to represent Venus and Serena and that he should halt preparations for the event. No male tennis players were ever signed to participate, reported AP. P.T.