I’ve come to the startling realization of something watching the Australian Open this year. It’s in regards to my feelings about Serena Williams and WTA players as a whole. I’ve never liked Serena because she always wins. It hasn’t seemed like anybody can even compete with her. My way of thinking has changed however.
To give you a better sense of what I’m going to say, let’s look at the men’s side of things. Growing up I wasn’t much of a tennis fan, but I knew about the sport. I knew of Roger Federer and Rafael Nadal. Federer dominated and I didn’t like that. Nadal was the guy who could put an end to his reign, so I wanted Nadal to do it. With my experience of that and being a Djokovic fan now, I focus on legacy and who’s the best ever, as I watch each tournament. I want Novak to build his resume as best he can to put himself in the consideration of the best players ever. I’ve already given in that Novak can’t win ten more majors to match Federer’s 17, but I’d like to see him get to 10 at least and have a lot of success with the number one ranking and other big tournaments. I can’t stand to see Roger even win a match, let alone a title, or especially a major championship. Each achievement is just something Novak has to make up for.
What I’m trying to say is my favorite player, Novak Djokovic, is a top player in the ATP. One of the best ever. The guys he competes with are the best ever. I’m not as concerned about players other than Federer and Nadal or anyone who can threaten his number one ranking. In fact it goes a step further. I’m not concerned about Nadal either, but here’s the catch, unless it impacts Novak. Meaning I don’t mind seeing Nadal win major championships to get to Federer, as long as Novak is out and the number one ranking isn’t in jeopardy. As long as what Nadal does doesn’t impact Novak directly, I’d prefer he wins. In a perfect world they’d collectively hold all four majors, but Novak would have a significant lead in the rankings.
So what does this mean for my WTA favorites, Sabine Lisicki and Simona Halep? Well, my favorite players haven’t won major titles. Actually you can go several layers deep beyond Sabine and Simona and find more of my favorite WTA players not ever having won a major championship…Urszula Radwanska…Angelique Kerber…Elina Svitolina. The best of players like Serena Williams and Maria Sharapova don’t really impact me because my favorite WTA players are at the bottom of the sport in regards to legacies. They won’t even be brought up in the discussion for GOAT. Sure Simona has a young and bright future and may just win a major or multiple ones, but I don’t see her getting upwards of five, you know where players really start to get considered for their greatness.
That being said, why should I put so much into wanting a player to fail that doesn’t impact my favorite players? The players I need to focus on are the ones that are at Sabine and Simona’s level. The ones without major championships. If others get one major and Sabine and Simona don’t ever end up winning one, then that’ll make them better off than my faves. My focus should be on the players who are capable of breaking through to win one and hope that they don’t. Not be on one of the best players ever. Serena has had a career my faves will never be able to compete with, so why focus so much on wanting her to lose? Serena winning means no one new is and my faves are safe from someone surpassing them. I should actually be rooting for Serena, in fact, once Sabine and Simona are out.
I’ve always hated seeing Serena win for all my years watching tennis and even before I did. I look at some other players who I’ve rooted for in the past, Maria Sharapova and Genie Bouchard, and see people who seem mean. Not wanting anything to do with other players. I don’t like seeing that. I understand why they do it, but I think they’ve taken it to another level. Too focused on their careers. When I look at Serena, I see a nice woman who has a balanced life. Not one overly concentrated on her career, but can achieve the greatest of successes. One who is kind to other players less than her and shows respect for opponents. You won’t see Maria or Genie having warm handshakes after matches and congratulating opponents for beating them or giving them a test, but you see that with Serena Williams. You may get sick of seeing her win, but at the end of the day the kind of person you are and how you treat people matters more than winning tennis matches.
I’m not saying Serena’s my new fave or even close to such a thing, but I have a greater respect for her on the court and off now that I’ve recognized she doesn’t impact my faves and how nice she is. That’s not the only reasons though. Also, Serena wasn’t as dominate last year. She only won one major. Can’t hate on someone who isn’t so dominant. She’s looked as vulnerable as ever too, getting blown out in big tournaments a couple times even. Her form didn’t look good heading into the Australian Open and I was sure someone would get her early on, but it looks like she has gotten through the stages of poor play to produce her best tennis when it matters most. If it’s Serena holding the trophy at the end, I’d be more than okay with that because it would mean Keys and Makarova would not be. It just goes to show how far your feelings towards someone can change.