Just three years ago, Serena Williams had aced the legion of doubters. She had tied Steffi Graf and then won grand slam #23 in 2017. But after giving birth to daughter Alexis later that year, the doubters have returned. And this time their arguments are plausible; this time Serena acknowledges doubt. Supposedly, Serena would claim the record-tying 24th title against Simona Halep. But it’s not a real match if the opponent concedes.
Serena Williams: Victory In An Hour?
Some speculated that match would last only an hour. After all, Serena was 9-1 all-time against Halep. But past performance, like a defensive volley, have a bad way to peter out. Halep very quickly raced to four games to none lead. Serena still served well enough, but couldn’t seem to get enough oomph on return shots. She fell quickly 6-2 in the first set, and then a comedic shot and finish cruelly victimized her (2:37).
Facing a 2-4 deficit in set two, Serena desperately needed to win her serve. But despite earning an ad-in, she lost the set, seemingly giving up on the final point (4:12). Frustration set in in the last set, and for the third time, Margaret Court’s record stood.
One More History Point
Granted, Serena did claim before the match she has had a great career no matter what. She also claims the record isn’t a distraction. But at this point, it’s easy for fans to think otherwise. Outwardly, Williams exhibited positive energy after the match, typically being a gracious loser (an always tricky task for most of us).
"She literally played outta her mind."
Serena Williams congratulates Simona Halep on her Wimbledon win 👏 pic.twitter.com/aqSSm4Dnws
— espnW (@espnW) July 13, 2019
But her body language during the match was concerningly atypical. Serena’s competitive drive unfailingly was in overdrive in previous failures. Rackets, umpires, and cynics didn’t like it, but one must always be true to herself, whatever the consequences. But Saturday she seemed frustrated and discouraged. No tennis player was ever undefeated, but father time is. Whatever the solution, Serena needs to gather focus and heart as the endless field of obstacles tauntingly separates her from the ultimate tennis champion’s rank.