thought they were going to show. So you don’t get a call from Venus and Serena; you get a call the day before from Venus and a call the day of from Serena. That’s very much their modus operandi, and not in an inconsiderate way. It’s more like, “we have a ton of shit to do, we have to prioritize, and the biggest priority for us is always tennis.” We’ve talked to their agents. They fully support the film and they’re going to come to something in future, we just don’t know what.
EBONY: One thing missing from the film was the lack of participation of the sister’s competitors. Billie Jean King, John McEnroe, Anna Wintour and even President Clinton were interviewed, but none of their opponents. Was that by design?
MM: Believe it or not, we did effort to include their major opponents and none of them would do an interview. They all declined for various reasons. We offered to travel to them wherever they were in the world, but while some agreed, the interviews never happened.
EBONY: How much do you now believe that they care about their legacy?
MM: I think that they care enormously about their legacy. I wish we could have put more in the film about how much they do give back. We spoke to McEnroe, and he said it’s really impossible when you are still playing and fighting to be no.1 to give back anything. Having a tennis academy? Not possible. People shouldn’t be expecting that much from them at this time. But in following them, we saw them go to the ’hood and different places and I saw Serena incredibly moved. Venus is a great teacher and I think she’ll want to teach and be a commentator. But both of them really, really care a lot about how their achievements will live on and affect younger people.
Tonya Pendleton is an entertainment writer based in Philadelphia. Follow her on Twitter @amazonink.