Not quite ‘serene’ like her name suggests, the younger of the Williams sisters, Serena Williams rushed to the lady making line calls and bullied her for calling a foot fault against her name. This happened during her semi-final match against the Belgian Kim Clijsters at the US open 2009. The verbal feud that lasted inside the Arthur Ashe Stadium following the infamous incident, with Serena Williams repeatedly abusing the official, broke the sporting nature of the game. And yet, the sort of arrogance that Williams displayed became the dominant characteristic of women’s tennis. Save for Steffi Graf and, for a very brief period Martina Hingis, no one in women’s tennis has dominated the game in the last two decades like Serena Williams.
With her power game, Serena, along with her elder sister Venus Williams, successfully outwitted and outclassed most of the Russian beauties of women’s tennis who stood no chance of facing the heated devastation unleashed at the other end. Her sheer presence on the court lowered the confidence of her opponents. She had no weakness of any sort in her game and to add to her power she was quite speedy on her feet, with great court coverage.
Very few players have had enormous success in both singles and doubles competitions. Serena was one such rare entity who tasted victories in both the formats. Her success overwhelmed and overshadowed everything else on the women’s tour for close to a decade.
But gone are those days now. The same intimidating American is now banking on her luck to win matches. She is no more the force that she once she was, when she annihilated even gritty players like Justin Henin, Kim Clijsters, Maria Sharapova and her own elder sister, Venus at will.
A winner of 13 Grand Slams, Serena has always failed as a role model when it comes to behaving on the tennis court. As many fans as she earned through her game, she also lost a lot of supporters owing to her attitude, which has never seemed befitting a champ. The fact that she said she could even defeat players from the men’s tour clearly revealed how much excessive vanity she had, which could never be hailed as an attribute of any champion sportsperson.
The success got into her head on many occasions, and she could not handle her fame the way her predecessors like Chris Evert, Martina Navrotilova and Steffi Graf did. While she lived on her successes, she failed to live up as a sportswoman.
Very often, champion players who start their careers with despicable attitudes change their behavior as they grow up, to become more revered and loved by the world. But somehow, this was not the case with Serena Williams. She failed to understand that there exists an eternal thing called ‘time’ which has the capacity to both make you and break you. Time has spared no one. Be it a boxer like Cascious Clay or a footballer like Pele, they all had their egos shelved by a time. Now it seems that time has started to exert its dominance on Serena as well.
Who would have ever thought that Serena Williams would undergo a Slam title drought like she has been undergoing. Now it looks as if the Grand Slams do not share any chemistry with her anymore. Serena’s first round elimination in the French open and that too after having won a set and leading 4-0 in the second set tie-breaker only shows that her days are getting numbered.
It is a real pity that the dominant Williams sisters who were once the greatest force in women’s tennis are looking down the barrel. I am not sure how long these two can continue playing tennis at the top level. Time has eroded away their skills totally and now it is Serena’s time to finally realize she has nothing more to offer and it is time for her to quit the game.