That time of the week guys. A wonderful tennis tournament has come to the end. This was supposed to be a preview article for the Toronto tournament for women [X square, get it? Please post a comment if you do not get it, and I will explain it]. By the time I did my brainstorming, and looked up at the TV – BOOM! Serena is up 6-2, 5-0. I have no idea what the freak happened. I was so busy with my brainstorming that I did not even notice Serena put a mighty walloping on another pretender in the WTA.
How can you not like Serena’s domination of the WTA. She has raised the bar so high in women’s tennis that other players are playing for the 11th position onwards. It does not reflect well on the present generation of women’s tennis players, but we should also acknowledge that Serena is a once in a generation player – like Billie Jean King, Martina Navratilova, Steffi Graf. She does this on the wrong side of 30. She does it on grass, hard courts and get this – clay. Yes, that alien surface where players who succeed do not fare well on the fast surfaces like grass and indoor. In that sense, she is a lot like Federer who showed the tennis world that you can have superior results on clay even if you are an aggressive shot-making tennis player. Together, the two of them have done their very best to dispel the notion that fast-court players cannot bring home the title on the Parisian clay.
Serena is on the track to GOAT hood on the women’s side. She is still 6 slams away from Graf’s 22 and 8 away from Court’s 24 titles. Even with her impressive track record and the inability of the other players to reach the bar set by Serena, it is still a very tough task. When you add Graf’s 350+ weeks as the No.1 player in the world, the challenge becomes close to impossible for the younger Williams sister. I know the odds are stacked against her, but Serena has made an entire career out of overcoming adversity. I, for one, cannot put it beyond her to do the unthinkable. Let us say, by invoking that clichéd phrase – If anyone can do it, it is Serena.
I have not been a big fan of Serena till recently. Having spent around three decades in the pursuit of knowledge, I like athletes who go about their professions using their grey matter and do not rely on robotic efficiency that is justified by the end result rather than the means or the journey that helps the athlete get to the destination they covet so much – Victory. The power players of WTA never appealed to me. I liked Martina Hingis, Amelie Mauresmo, Justine Henin. I still would love to sit and watch Hingis/Justine play for not just a few hours but for a few hours every day for the rest of my life. Serena has converted a person like me – who does not rate the power hitters high, to sit up and take notice of her ferocious game. In doing so, she has demonstrated to us that the paths to greatness are many and there is a place in our wonderful sport for both brain and brawn.