I am a major tennis fan. I am particularly a fan of Serena Williams–not necessarily the Williams sisters, just Serena, really. My admiration for Serena lies in not only the way a woman of her size and proportions carries herself well, but also her fighting spirit.
A few years ago, a tennis writer noted that in women’s tennis, they play not to lose. I agree. But, Serena doesn’t just play not to lose; she plays to win, also. Serena, the more interesting of the two sisters, evidenced by her wild fashion choices and love affair with the media, is a fighter.
No match proved this more than her quarter-finals Australian Open 2010 match against Victoria Azarenka, an aggressive and tough 20-year-old player from Belarus.
After losing the opening set 6-4 and getting down 4-0 in the second set, I was certain Serena was done–the match was over. Azarenka was simply too tough and too good a player for Serena to come back against.
I changed the channel, only to return to it some 40 minutes later to see that the second set was tied at 4-4. Serena won all four games. I learned a lesson about the fighting spirit from Serena. Never count out a champion. Serena’s passion to fight is pushed by her desire for glory and backed by her raw, natural talent for the sport she has dominated (11 grand slams).
Azarenka is a solid player with strong potential, but there are so many of those in tennis, particularly women’s tennis. A few years ago it was the Serbians, and before them, it was the Belgians; and before them, a wave of Russians, led by glam goddess Maria Sharapova, made their mark in 2004. They came, aggressive, determined and tough, but Serena has outlast them all. She continues to outlast them, while they battle injuries, bruised shoulders, knees and overhype. After briefly retiring, the Belgians are back, and now there’s talk of the Chinese (she outlasted Li Na of China in the semis after Na defeated her sister in the quarters), but even considering the disaster U.S. Open semis in 2009 against Kim Clijsters, the words of Esquire magazine must be noted: this is Serena’s show. Serena has proven, at 28, that she’ll continue to be a presence in women’s tennis for as long as she wants to be.
So, Serena, I appreciate you and your tough fight.