Venus Williams will take part in the Hong Kong Tennis Open, which kicks off tomorrow at Victoria Park and will run until next Sunday. The 35-year-old tennis icon is a four-time Olympic gold medallist and has the second fastest serve in the history of the women’s game, at 206km/h. She has played against her sister, Serena, 27 times on the professional circuit, including in eight Grand Slam finals. Last year, the Williams sisters were victims of a sexist slur by the president of the Russian Tennis Federation, Shamil Tarpischev … 

The 67-year-old was fined US$25,000 and forced to apologise after referring to Venus and Serena as “the Williams brothers”. Tarpischev has coached and captained the USSR and Russian tennis teams for more than four decades, and once gave private lessons to Boris Yeltsin, the former Russian president. Tarpischev also enjoys bandy, a sport played on ice with bowed sticks and a ball, which was developed in Cambridge, England, in the 19th century. In 1853, Prince Albert took part in an exhibition match of bandy at Windsor Castle, cheered on by his wife, Queen Victoria … 

Born in 1819, Victoria reigned over Great Britain and Ireland for more than 60 years and helmed a vast empire that encompassed about a quarter of the world. In 1840, she married Prince Albert of Saxe-Coburg and Gotha, who was her first cousin; because Victoria was a monarch, she had to propose to him, not vice versa. After Albert’s sudden death in 1861, the heartbroken five-foot-tall queen piled on the pounds – a pair of her 114cm-waist knickers were auctioned last year for US$16,300. In 1997, she was portrayed in the biopic Mrs Brown by English actress Judi Dench …

The Yorkshire-born lass began her career on stage with the Royal Shakespeare Company, among others, portraying some of the Bard’s classic characters such as Ophelia, Lady Macbeth and Juliet, before playing M in seven James Bond films. Dench admitted that she cried upon being told the MI6 chief would be killed off in the 2012 film Skyfall. The dame, who has been nominated for seven Oscars, is devoutly religious, and says of her Quaker faith, “I couldn’t be without it.” Among her numerous awards is an honorary degree from New York’s Juilliard School, another famous alumni of which is Alan Greenspan … 

The chairman of the United States Federal Reserve for 18 years until 2006, Greenspan loved numbers at school. But the boy who “knew all the baseball averages”, according to his cousin Wesley Halpert, eschewed economics and maths at university to instead study the saxophone and clarinet. After trying to make it as a professional musician, however, Greenspan found his talent fell short: “I realised it’s innate. You either have it or you don’t.” Today, he is one of the highest paid public speakers in the world, although his US$250,000 fee is exceeded by those of Donald Trump (US$1 million), Bill Clinton (US$750,000) and Tony Blair (US$600,000) … 

As prime minister of Britain, from 1997 to 2007, Blair was, for a time, one of the most popular leaders the country had seen. Today, he is among the most reviled ex prime ministers, despised for his role in the Iraq war and his consultancy business that counts among its clients controversial monarchs and autocrats. In Blair’s penultimate year as leader, however, he won fans by endorsing equal pay for male and female players in the Wimbledon Championships after an op-ed article on the issue was published in The Times newspaper. The author of the piece was Venus Williams.