There isn’t a lot about Serena Williams that has not been said yet at this point in her career. She’s strong, she’s powerful, she serves with an air of unshakable, unthinking belief and authority. Above all, Serena Williams is one of the most resilient athletes in the history of sport, coming back time and time again from injuries, personal tragedies and media freakouts to dominate simply because domination is the natural essence of her character.
Watching Serena beat Radwanska 6-1, 5-7, 6-2 yesterday, jogging up to her box with her arms outstretched for her mother, it’s hard not to truly appreciate the magnitude of her latest comeback. It’s Serena’s first Major since Wimbledon 2010, 14th in total. And in the two years that spanned in between, Serena has taken glass out of her foot, underwent operation for a pulmonary embolism, suffered numerous losses and setbacks, and – shall I mention it – turned 30.
Is it any wonder that almost everyone in the typically aloof Williams box lost it as Serena embraced the trophy in her arms, her voice shaking with emotion?
As for her opponent, there is no doubt that with the odds of strengths and history stacked against her, Aggie Radwanska still came to fight, coming from a set and a break down to make life difficult for a player much stronger and more experienced than her. The Hingis comparisons are overdone, but the point is well taken: Radwanska has made a career out of using her court craft and colm to outfox much more powerful “Big Babe” opponents.
How ironic is it then that Gilles Simon’s rant against equal pay has in fact put the spotlight on just how healthy the women’s tour has become in recent times? There’s Petra Kvitova, creative, exciting, inconsistent on tour, but fit and focused at slams. There is the court craft in Radwanska, the tenacity of Sharapova, the ferocity in Azarenka – all of whom have performed consistently over the past year, locking themselves in a 3 way race for No 1. There are the Chinese ladies, Madame Li and Zheng, who carry the hopes and curiosity of a quarter of mankind on their backs; the Italians – Flavia, Franny, Errani – who are all seasoned, experienced professionals who play with a level of maturity and femininity that is starting to typify Italian women’s tennis.
And then, there is Serena Williams. Peerless in every respect.
PS. SL Price has a fabulous piece on Sports Illustrated on the Williams comeback.
PPS. Since we’re all waiting for the Federer v Murray match to start, Top 10 Roger Federer verbal jabs at Andy Murray.