I really love articles like this.
Dressed, partly it has to be said, in luminous lime, Williams proved again that tournaments are there for her taking. Men’s tennis is being overwhelmed by grace while the women’s game explodes in clunky power.
[snipped out some standard Federer worship]
The fascination with Williams - and to a lesser extent nowadays with her older sister Venus - can centre on her personality at the expense of the tennis.
Rather than pour beads of sweat on to the court, she actually poured beads - of the hair-holding variety - on to it once. She turned up at Melbourne last week with what looked from afar like cymbals dangling from the ears. What next? Glockenspiels?
Williams blows hot and cold, lacking the relentless tenacity and spirit of champions through the ages. She may turn up, or she may turn it up.
Her presence, and triumphs, hint at where women’s tennis may get to, rather than where it has been. Surely, a player or players will emerge with not only her brute force but also the guile of Martina Hingis, the heart of Chris Evert, the athleticism of Martina Navratilova to take women’s tennis to a brilliant new place.
There are times, in witnessing Williams, when you feel you are most definitely watching the world No 81 - the men’s 81 that is. Accolades tumbled towards Williams, who is returning from a knee injury, but women’s power tennis can look like bad men’s tennis.
Left to more lithe beings such as Sharapova, the women’s game contains itself within borders where it thrills at its own particular level. But plant more muscular figures such as Williams there, and it can appear worse (to some eyes) even though it is being played better.
Michelle Wie has downgraded women’s golf because her disastrous foray into men’s tournaments has highlighted the gap between the sexes. Likewise, Serena Williams has shown that relatively unskilled and cumbersome power can obliterate the next best. Williams lacks the subtleties, the touches, the elegance which always serves tennis so well and takes the breath away, as Federer does.
It would be no surprise at all if Williams disappeared back into the world of her sponsor-emblazoned handbag, to emerge as a winner again only when she has the rub of the green.
You know that your argument lacks any technical basis when you have to make fun of a attire - from the beads to dresses and earrings…we’re all back in grade school! At least that is a somewhat legitimate thing to dislike - what I really don’t understand is the belief that Serena Williams (or any other player) owes it to tennis to be in shape and always playing. Personally, while I am no huge Serena cheerleader, I could care less if she enters a tournament and wins even though she hasn’t played in years. By doing this, she isn’t ruining the game or anything - she is just playing. That’s how it works -why judge her? I actually think (even though she claims to not read the press) that Serena feeds off of commentary like that of the moron quoted above. She doesn’t seem like the type of person who craves the approval of the media or fans - but if she can shove it in all of our faces, she surely will enjoy it.
I don’t think anyone understands Serena, including myself. Her choices don’t affect my enjoyment of tennis in the big picture, and her decisions on when and where to compete don’t bother me in the least. She certainly doesn’t owe anyone anything.
As for lacking the grace of Federer, sure. I won’t argue. But how many Federers have we had in the history of tennis? And since when is it winning ugly when you don’t use injury timeouts, coaching from dad, etc? If anyone really thinks the women’s final sucked, then the fault also resides partly with Sharapova for caving so easily.