By Marc Rasbury
Even among all of the excitement pertaining to the MLB All Star Game and ever revolving drama associated with NBA free agency activities, we would be remiss if we did not take time out to give one Serena Williams her props. Over the weekend she captured her fifth Wimbledon Singles Championship on Saturday defeating Agnieszka Radwanska 6-1, 5-7, 6-2. Just by looking at the score, one might think that Serena made short work of Radwanska, but that could not be further from the truth. As matter of fact this dramatic journey to her latest Grand Slam title paralleled the trials and tribulations she has experienced over the past two years.
Back in 2010, Serena was trying to regain her lofty title as the best women’s tennis player in the world. She hit a speed bump when she threatened a line judge at that year’s US Open and took a huge publicity hit, but never the less,she was still among the elite of the game .Then she cut her foot in a freak bathroom accident which side lined for seven months. And if that wasn’t bad enough, doctors discovered a blood clot in her right lung soon after she recovered from the foot injury. In less than a year, she went from the top of the tennis world to a point where it was uncertain whether she would play again or survive.
Through the grace of God, she not only survived both the foot injury and blood clot, but she was able to resume her tennis career. Once again she initially stumbled out of the gate, but as we saw on Saturday, she reclaimed her lofty place in the tennis world. As I followed her journey to her fifth Wimbledon Singles Title, 14 Grand Slam overall, I could not help but to think how last two weeks mirrored her last two years.
Serena overcame some difficult moments in the early rounds to make it to later rounds. Once she made it to the finals, she was expected to make short work of Radwanska who was the higher ranked player and was still considered the underdog. Like in her career, Serena raced out to a quick and decisive early lead taking the first set 6-1. Then out of nowhere, Radwanska took control; of the momentum and took control of the match winning the second set 7-5. Serena looked lost and out of it in that match. Some may blame that on the fact that they had to stop the match so that they could close the retractable roof after it started raining. I do not believe that was the case. You have to give Radwanska credit for weathering the storm, no pun intended, of that intense first set.
Going into that third set, things looked dim for Serena. But like the true champion that she is, Serena rebounded to take the last set and match just like she rebounded from her injuries and medical issues. She was boxed into a corner and came out swinging. In one game in that third set, she earned a point on consecutive aces. You may think that her days as the best women’s tennis player were over, but you were wrong.
It was especially touching to see Serena acknowledge her family, especially Venus during the post match presentation. She broke down as she thanked them for their support during her down period. Her family got her through that dark period and that is why she was able to hold up that trophy once again.
You would have to have the heart of the Grinch not to be touched while watching Serena after winning Saturday. She has gone through more trials and tribulations than the law allows. But she persevered and regained her title as not only the best female tennis player of this generation but perhaps the best female athlete of all time!