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Tennis
Williams sisters promote women's rights
Serena and Venus Williams travel to Nigeria to fight gender disparity while the men's season nears its conclusion.
Last Modified: 30 Oct 2012 11:28
After winning WTA Championships Serena (L) is joining forces with sister Venus in Nigeria [AFP]

The short gap in the women's tennis season gives players the chance to have a well-deserved break.

However, many of them will be spending it on the court. Not all of this will be for practice though as some of the world's top stars use their talent to promote charitable causes.

American tennis stars Serena and Venus Williams are set to arrive in Nigeria's largest city on Tuesday as part of a two-nation tour that will see them play exhibition matches to promote women's rights.

The sisters are both counted among the United States' most accomplished athletes, sharing 22 major women's singles championships between them.

"They are coming to Lagos to encourage more women to break moulds that have stood between them and their potentials"

Breaking The Mould statement

Their trip is aimed at promoting "the role that women play in shifting perceptions and encouraging development at all levels across the African continent," said a statement from the Breaking The Mould initiative they are representing.

Serena, 31, and Venus, 32, are due to meet the governor of Lagos state, hold a tennis clinic at an exclusive club, visit a puberty education class for girls and play an exhibition match before heading to South Africa on November 2.

"They are coming to Lagos to encourage more women to break moulds that have stood between them and their potentials," the statement said.

Gender disparity is an acute problem in Nigeria, Africa's most populous country of roughly 160 million people, with the most glaring divides existing in the mainly Muslim north.

Worldwide, Nigeria ranks 118 out of 134 countries on the Gender Equality Index, a British Council study released in May said.

Top spot for Djok

The men have to wait a couple more weeks until the end of their season, although the top ranking for the year has already been decided. 

Novak Djokovic will move above Roger Federer to number one in the world rankings next week and is guaranteed to retain the top spot until the end of the year, the ATP Tour said.

The Serbian, who lost the top spot to Federer in July, will be the first player to top the men's singles rankings at the end of consecutive seasons since the Swiss did it four times from 2004 to 2007.

Djokovic has won five tournaments this year - including the Australian Open and Masters series titles in Miami, Canada  and Shanghai - and pocketed more than $8 million in prize money.

The 25-year-old, who is scheduled to compete at the Paris Masters this week, will be presented with a trophy to recognise his feat at next week's season-ending championships in London, the ATP said.

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