It's time Serena Williams started playing like Serena Williams
Serena Williams has been ranked World No. 1 by the WTA on six different occasions. She is the only female player to have won over $40,000,000 in prize money. She has won 31 Grand Slam titles (16 in singles, 13 in doubles and 2 in mixed doubles), four gold medals in the Olympics [1 in singles and 3 in doubles] and three WTA Tour Championships. She is also the most recent player and the fifth female player overall to have won all four Grand Slam titles simultaneously. She is the only player to have achieved a career Golden Slam in both singles and doubles. One look at Serena Williams’ career statistics and one can’t help but be amazed by the 31 year old’s achievements.
She started her career in the shadows of her elder sister Venus Williams, who back then, was undoubtedly the best of her time. Then in 2002, Serena exploded on the tennis scene, beating her elder sister, the best at that time, in four straight major finals. The new Williams had arrived. With her super-agility, phenomenal strength and nerves of steel, armed with the ever deadly ‘Serena Slam’, she had everything it takes to be a true champion. Whenever we look at the current crop of female tennis players and think about the best among them, Serena Williams, for sure, comes to mind. There are other good players too, but when we realise that she has a record of 25-3 against two of the top players of today,Victoria Azarenka and Maria Sharapova combined, there’s nothing much left to be argued upon. Moreover, her current counterparts are nowhere near her collection of golds and silverwares.
To be the best is one thing, but to be the best of all time is totally different. Serena has and always had what it takes to be the best of her time. What she lacks is the extraordinary characteristic that makes someone the best of all time.
Professional tennis is extremely competitive and one needs to be focussed and keep working harder to outdo oneself and to keep winning. Serena, however, has had trouble keeping herself focussed on tennis. She quite often, had drifted away from tennis, either to pursue business, publishing, reality-TV or other interests not related to her profession. In her defence, one may say that her loss of focus is due to the fact that she had to quash her elder sister’s dreams to achieve hers, sideline her sister so that she got the spotlight, something which must not have been easy for her. But what she should realise is that it was inevitable. That it was just a matter of time before she took the Williams baton forward.
Now that the Williams era is virtually over and with young, talented, promising players arriving on the scene, it is time she realised that she needs to focus entirely on her career. Age is definitely not on her side and her injury woes are adding to her troubles. Coming back from an injury hiatus, she impressed last year by winning the Wimbledon, the US Open and the gold in the Olympics. She has won just one major title this year, but she looks fit and fully focussed. It’s a fact that age is caching up on her, but there are not many players who can beat her when she is firing on all cylinders and that too is a fact. We’ll have to wait and watch how far she can carry on, how she will be remembered, as one of the bests of all time or as the best of all time.