Serena Williams doesn’t appear to be in the business of coming up with excuses, yet I don’t think anybody would blame her if the pressure of a Grand Slam didn’t hadn’t weighed heavily on her mind, body and soul.
I’d imagine a Slam wasn’t on Serena’s mind at the beginning of the year; as a consummate professional, it is more likely she was focused on one game, one set, one match, one tournament at a time. Winning breeds chatter and when you win the big ones that same chatter gets louder as it increases.
Ms. Williams fell short in the quest this time. Have no doubt though, she will most certainly rise again. That is precisely what a Phoenix does and she’s proven she has a remarkable ability to rise above the fray; again, and again.
Serena has risen above the ridiculous body shaming attacks hurled her way. Internet trolls seem to get delight from making one insult after the next. In return, Serena seems to delight in flaunting what she has. On the court or off, she can never be mistaken for a member of the Sister Wives cast.
If nothing else, the numbers speak for themselves. While the trolls may be plentiful—they are anonymous. On the flip side, a billion dollar cosmetic industry and an ethnic community that traditionally celebrates curves, and a mainstream community that apparently is buying into the same curvy nation notion, thus the birth of the billion dollar cosmetic industry signals to Serena, that she is more than okay, she is fine—pun most definitely intended!
Like a Phoenix, Serena has risen above being overlooked by an advertising industry that has poured millions into endorsements for fellow tennis star Maria Sharapova. Serena’s professional accomplishments are unmatched.
However, if you were to land on this planet from another galaxy and happened to come across a list of highest paid athletes in endorsements, you would have thought it was Maria in hot pursuit of a Grand Slam and you would have been sadly mistaken.
Serena even manages to rise above it all when naysayers challenge how much effort is put into a match with older sister Venus. It makes perfect sense for the subject of sibling rivalry to enter the conversation; it is one of the true head to head rivalries in the sports world today.
Although much ado is made on the rare occurrence of a Peyton and Eli showdown they are never on the field at the same time. Perhaps a more accurate example would be the Harbaugh brothers, Jim and John, in the Super Bowl that pitted the 49ers against the Ravens. One head coach doing his darnedest to out mastermind the guy on the other side of the field, who happens to have a shared occupation and surname.
What doesn’t make sense is to doubt their integrity and professionalism. They are competitors and as such, while the emotional pull can not be denied, competitors want to win and if they just so happen to beat the very person they’ll be vacationing with in a few short weeks, well even better.
Funny thing is, when the sisters played each other I didn’t have a horse in the race. As an older sister myself, I tend to lean toward Venus not to mention her game had been spectacularly on point. Given the health challenges Venus faces, there was concern in the back of my mind whether she could be in it for the long haul but I was convinced, if Serena won, the Slam was hers for the taking.
As it turned out, it wasn’t meant to be. Without a doubt, the probability of being in the same position anytime soon are not high after all, there is a reason why a Grand Slam hasn’t been accomplished since 1988.
Just to reiterate, Serena isn’t in the business of making excuses and I’m not in the business of counting a Phoenix out—no matter what.