Monday, June 24, 2013

Serena Poised To Repeat at Wimbledon

Serena Williams at Wimbledon players party
Serena Williams is set to play Mandy Minella of Luxembourg in her opening match at Wimbledon. You will not see her get blasted out of the tournament in straight sets, like Rafael Nadal did on Monday. Serena has won this tournament 5 times. If Serena wins here again, she'll move one step closer to tying the record for Grand Slam Championships. The record is 18. If Serena wins she'll have 17, and will only need to win the U.S. Open to tie the record this year.

Watch Wimbledon this year to watch a slice of history. My guess is Serena is on a mission to win the next six Grand Slam titles. If she wins the next three, she'll have the "Serena Slam." She'll be the defending champion in all four Grand Slam events. What she wants is "The Grand Slam." To win all four events in the same year.

Williams is now the defending champion in three of the four Grand Slam events. Two weeks ago, Serena won the French Open. She beat her nemesis, arch-rival Maria Sharapova. Sharapova is the number two women's player in the world. As long as Serena is playing and healthy Sharapova will never be number one.

Maria Sharapova
And maybe that's why Sharapova decided to attack Serena in the media just two days before the first ball toss of Wimbledon. Sharapova is frustrated.

“If she wants to talk about something personal, maybe she should talk about her relationship and her boyfriend that was married and is getting a divorce and has kids,” Sharapova said. “Talk about other things, but not draw attention to other things. She has so much in her life, many positives, and I think that’s what it should be about.”

Sharapova was prompted to respond to a Williams quote to a Rolling Stone reporter. “There are people who live, breathe and dress tennis. I mean, seriously, give it a rest.” Serena exits the car and the conversation moves on to a top-five player who is now in love. “She begins every interview with ‘I’m so happy. I’m so lucky’ – it’s so boring,” says Serena in a loud voice. “She’s still not going to be invited to the cool parties. And, hey, if she wants to be with the guy with a black heart, go for it.” {An educated guess is she’s talking about Sharapova, who is now dating Grigor Dimitrov, one of Serena’s rumored exes}

(If she did say this, however, c'mon Serena you sound like you're in high school)

The "educated guess" part appeared in a Sports Illustrated ariticle. That's what passes for journalism. Coincidentally, Williams apologized to Sharapova for inadvertently getting Sharapova involved in the discussion. It was AFTER this apology that Sharapova then made her comments about Williams.
The writer, made an educated guess, and that guess became attributed to Serena, even though Serena did not name, names. In any case, its clear to whom Shaparova was speaking about when she was running her mouth.

Williams is the women's version of "the man," in women's tennis, and Sharapova can't stand it. Williams has 43-2 match win-loss record since the beginning of this season's WTA tour, which began December 30, 2012. Serena has won six tournaments this year, including huge events in Madrid, Rome and in, what some people call the fifth Gram Slam, Miami. Serena is the oldest women's player to be ranked number one. At 31, Serena seems as focused now, as she's ever been. What motivates a tennis player with 16 Grand Slam singles titles? (29 when you include doubles and mixed doubles)

My guess is this is quest for respect as well as glory. Williams is number one, but her closest competitor, Sharapova, is the highest paid female athlete. Yet Sharapova is not even the best women's tennis player. That has got to bug the crap out of a clearly competitive person like Serena. It should bug the crap out of all of us because of our sense of fair play. Serena is trying over come something she may not be able to overcome. The higher standard African-American athletes must meet just to be considered equal. Serena has beaten Maria 13 times in a row. During that stretch, Sharapova has won only 3 sets. Serena's 14-2 against Sharapova all-time. Sharapova has never been the number one ranked player at season's end, and yet she, not Serena, gets all the commercials, all the endorsements, and all the cash money.

It's the dynamic for minorities in this country. Even if you work hard and are the best at what you do, you're not always rewarded like you are. Some would argue that standard might apply to anyone, not just minorities. An yet I can't think of one non-minority with a dominating record like Serena's that has had to endure second class treatment at the hands of the market. Can you?

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