Watching ESPN just now, coverage of the Australian Open, and the verbiage is all about age – “Serena is the oldest player to reach an Aussie final.” Falderal! Serena Williams is on a history-making journey to surpass her compatriots, Chris Evert and Martina Navratilova , in the elite 18 Grand Slam club. And she is only one win away from doing just that.
Why then has this part of her competing in the 2015 grand slam down under been on mute? Simply unbelievable to me. Seems the greater Serena’s achievements the harder the media, specifically the US tennis media, attempts to devalue her greatness. They remain stuck on the power narrative when it comes to her. Will they ever acknowledge what they see when watching Serena play? She is a most intelligent player, which enables her to strategize and win? Overlooking Serena’s continuing dominance in her sport is plain out perplexing.
While in America the chat is all about “the changing of the guard”. It only took the World #1 two straight sets[7-6 (5), 6-2] in her match against fellow American Madison Keys to restore order and shut down that talking point.(Avenging her sister’s loss to Keys at the same time!) ShoutOut to Serena for her encouraging words to Madison after the match. [WATCH VIDEO]
Now I am thrilled for the rising young and obviously talented Keys who reached her first Grand Slam semifinal. That she is projected to make her top 20 debut is fantastic. Under new coach Lindsay Davenport I only expect continuing progress in her development.
Here me well now, I don’t begrudge her media attention, but it should not overshadow what winning this final means for Serena and history! And at same time it should not make Serena’s elder sister Venus an after thought as she will move up the rankings after this Grand Slam to maybe as high as top 10.
Truth is the Williams sisters, top two American women in the game, are not products of the USTA. Father Richard Williams chose, wisely as time has proven, not to put his child prodigies Venus and Serena under their tutelage. Could that fact possibly be at work here in what appears to be an eagerness to see a “Changing of the Guard?”
ESPN and the USTA are contractually bound at the hip and therefore responsible parties in what I see as disrespectful treatment of the Williams sisters. Maybe it’s because the USTA is so desperate for legitimacy; with its failure in producing top tennis players that it experienced under the many years of Patrick McEnroe’s leadership? (Must have been one hellova contract that still keeps him in the booth at ESPN Tennis as a talking head!)
Venus and Serena remain perfect examples of positivity; no matter what swirls in the media. Most endearing to me is their close bond, it’s as if they understood that it would always indeed be them against the world!
And in the case of Serena it is astonishing to watch her transform her steadfast belief that she is the greatest – in match after match –where she mentally constructs a strategy, then physically delivers play, resulting in the defeat of whomever is on the other side of the net!
In her December interview with Chris Evert, Serena said she was hard at work fine tuning movement and improving her serve; and when asked about Graf’s record of #22 grand slams, she said she was going to go for the gusto this year.
Click Here for Interview→http://espn.go.com/video/clip?id=12190332]
And aren’t we the lucky ones, Serena does the hard work of fending off those attempting to dethrone her…and all we have to do is watch!
Now the Australian Open gets the sexy championship final match it was probably hoping for with Maria Sharapova versus Serena. Now Sharapova has lost every encounter with Serena since the 2004 Wimbledon. And again I fear the lead story will be all about the fighter coming for Serena and not Serena going for her 19th Grand Slam!
Let’s talk a bit more about history-making and grand slams; Serena has only lost four times in finals. This has her currently tied with Martina Navratilova (18-14) and Chris Evert (18-16) at fourth all-time. Beating Sharapova would place her alongside Helen Wills Moody (19-3), and behind only Margaret Smith Court (24-5) and Steffi Graf (22-9). That Williams continues her climb up the record accomplishments in women’s tennis at the age of 33 is beyond amazing, and frankly, my dear, I’m out of superlatives…OK.
Meanwhile as the tennis season continues I’ll be watching another game that’s being played – the Dodge-Ball game the tennis media is playing as Serena Williams continues her pursuit of Grand Slam #19 and beyond. Go get #19 Serena and let all the other damn games continue, then…LOL! ‘-)
submitted by guest blogger @BlackPearlMoi