“As an African-American, I’m not going to stand for it”
Yeah, Serena, you shouldn’t have to and you didn’t. I saw the replay of the “racist incident” from yesterday’s Second Round match against Lucie Safarova at the Sony Ericsson Open, and I think Serena showed some real grit. It seems like every other tournament she and Venus deal with something obnoxious, whether it’s a shoulder bump during a changeover, some egregious officiating, or “Watch Gate.” Monday’s heckler sheds a harsh light on these more subtle incidents and makes it harder to brush them off as the Williams clan’s paranoia hypersensitivities of a race-obsessed media.
But there are some other things Serena’s not going to stand for anymore, so all you haters are on notice.
1. No more dissing her fitness. Not only does she look trim and powerful on these Florida courts, she proved in Australia that she doesn’t have to be fit anyway. It’s just a bonus. (Love the outfit and the creative headband tying, by the way.)
2. Move ova, Sharapova. Serena’s not sharing the spotlight. I loved hearing that Andy Roddick and the rest of the men’s locker room sensed some major tension between the women during the warm up, with neither willing to cooperate with the other. Maria, U.S. Open Champ and World Number 1 until just a couple of weeks ago, wasn’t going to be intimidated. Serena, of course, was incapable of feeling anything but fierce. I expected a battle this time (much like I expected Federer to beat down Canas, but I won’t get into that right now.) Instead, Maria caved – and Serena dominated in a way that made Sharapova seem almost invisible. Maria usually amazes with her power gamebut against Serena her strengths become impotent and her weaknesses are exposed and raw. I’m watching Roddick play Ferrer right now and think this applies to him, too, when he plays people like Nadal or Roger.
3. Distractions? Hmm? What did you say? Serena’s distractions over the past couple of years were annoying because they seemed so silly. Why be a third rate actress when you can be the best female tennis player that ever lived? I think that while Serena will always have an exciting and eclectic life off the court, she realizes that the thrill of being superhumanly talented at something really hard trumps cameo appearances on Will and Grace. I wonder if Roger’s dominance and talent have inspired her to get back on the court. It reminded her of how important and how admirable being the best tennis player in the world can be. Serena is awe inspiring when she plays her best tennis – most of us will never know what it’s like to inspire those emotions.
I can’t wait to see her play Justine Henin, who did not show up in Australia. Justine’s game is so different, yet so good, and I can’t wait to see how this rivalry will shape up. And what will become of Maria it she can never beat Serena again