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CHAMPION IMMORTAL: Serena, goddess of the courts rises again to silence doubters

buzzz worthy. . .
OPINION

by Mona Austin




It is said that success is the best way to silence  doubters.  Tennis champ Serena Williams' racket has once again served as a nozzle.

Williams is receiving praise for her 23rd Grand Slam win  over her sister Venus in the Australian Open on January 28, 2017. Breaking the record she once tied with Steffi Graff for most singles wins, making history with the most recent victory she now stands at the top alone .  But it was not long ago that sports journalists attempted to demote her for losing to a  lesser known player. 

Let' just set the record straight, shall we?

Serena Williams lost a Grand Slam, not her championship status or footprint on the ages and came back to prove once more that she is a formidable opponent.

Will Smith made a fitting comment about  Williams, at the  2015 Sports Illustrated Athlete of the Year ceremony where she was honored. He said Williams isn't suppose to be possible. Ironically, some of worst critics give the same thought a different meaning. We all know Williams has defied odds, like when she bounced back to champion status after suffering from a worn ankle and blood clots.  That's serious, but it did not stop her.  What Smith sees, however is far more discerning than the media would see, her indomitable spirit.  Smith continued, "She represents a beacon of possibility."

With the crowning of  Williams as the 2016 Sportsperson of the Year, her critics' attempts to caricature her stature were rendered hopeless.  Serena Williams has kept our attention and stayed in the limelight for one reason-- she is a phenomenal athlete.


In July of 2015 the goddess of the court, 33, won her 6th Wimbledon title, her fourth consecutive grand slam win! However, it was shocking when Williams lost to the 43rd-ranked Italian, Roberta Vinci, who bested her 2-6, 6-4, 6-4 in the U.S. Open semifinals.  The loss was not tragic or career-defining, although it may have been ego-deflating.  Ms. Williams will get over it as she squints from the shine of the myriad other trophies she has won. One Grand Slam loss does not make a winner a loser.  Her critics know this of course, but incessantly try to wane her shine.

Williams  has already made her mark  in the sport of tennis and  proven  she will continue to do so.  As every mortal human tends to do, Williams had an off day and was unable to regain control of the court. This flub changes nothing for her, but changes everything for her opponent. 

A USA Today writer's damning analysis in the article "How Serena Williams Blew Her Shot At Tennis Immortality" suggests that the No.1 ranked player lost because she cracked under pressure and got in her own way. "Serena’s loss was the culmination of nine months of building pressure that finally reared its paralyzing head," it read.  


Her head was not in the game? Paralyzing? His opinion shows that someone is always trying to decrease William's dominance, her value. If they run out of ways to belittle her performance, they attack her body or appearance.  Writers have masculanized her physique and force, unable to describe her supersonic swings without offensive language. Yet, no one compared the victor to a man for defeating the so called masculine Williams.  It's time that Serena's critics face two facts: 1) Serena Williams is already established as champion immortal and 2) She is all woman with both muscle and curves.

Honest historians will aptly record one story about Williams some day -- that she is/was one of the greatest tennis players/athletes of the ages.  May this report stand on the record for accuracy, honesty and truth.  

Despite losing to relatively unknown Vinci and not achieving the history making Grand Slam bid she was aiming for, the Compton, CA native walked away a champion with an ego bruise that will quickly heal.  Having won her first Grand Slam at the age of 17, followed by 20 more over her stellar career Williams is a heroine of the courts.  Any other account of who she is as a professional tennis player would be inadequate, inaccurate and outright unfair. 

But unfairness and insults off the court surround her name unfortunately, as magazine such as  Business and finance publication Forbes sent out a Tweet in the middle of the Open, held at the Arthur Ashe Stadium in New York  devaluing Williams' as an off-court entity.  Forbes compared her to lower seeded player, third ranked Maria Sharapova who happens to unjustly command more endorsements than Williams.  What Forbes could have focused on is the fact that Williams is a boss off the court as the owner of her own clothing line that is sold on HSN.


Meanwhile, Williams has secured her rank among tennis greats -- Steffi Graf, Billie Jean King, Martina Navratilova -- as one of the greatest of all times.