The L.A. Times published a funny piece on Tuesday about “the odd couples of sports merchandise”(click here) and pitched this tennis-related souvenir:
“Serena Williams tennis racket with a No. 1 foam finger — It’s actually not clear which finger Williams is waving at the moment.”
Make that a big thumb – pointing down – after Serena’s 6-2, 2-6, 6-1 loss to Patty Schnyder in the second round of Rome on Tuesday. And only a day earlier, the No. 2 ranked Serena was all ego, telling the press:
Her words came at the expense of poor Dinara Safina, the dumped-upon World No. 1. Safina stood up for herself, saying:
Williams played her last tournament about a month ago in Marbella, Spain, where she lost to 95th ranked player, Klara Zakopalova, in the first round. And Patty Schnyder has enjoyed past successes against Serena on clay, so Tuesday’s match is hardly a huge upset. But I do think it’s strange (and fascinating) that Serena has lately been so vocal about deserving the No. 1 ranking, a label she’s often shrugged off as a secondary accomplishment to winning majors.
So is Williams just stating the obvious, indulging in some trash talk or genuinely pissed that a non-Slammer like Safina is one spot above her?
One thing’s for certain: now that Serena’s out of the tournament, it’s up to Safina to prove her wrong.
Hopefully the Russian can do one better than her finalist showing in Stuttgart last week (where she lost to Svetlana Kuznetsova.) It would be exciting if this budding “No. 1 rivalry” could gain some on-court momentum – with big sibs Marat and Venus cheering in the wings.
Safina took the first step on Tuesday, beating Virginie Razzano in the second round of Rome, and will face Zheng Jie next. No. 4 seeded Venus Williams and No. 5 Ana Ivanovic are the top contenders in her half of the draw with Jelena Jankovic (3) and Victoria Azarenka (6) the favorites for the final.
Click here to visit the Internazionali BNL D’Italia website.