Serena Williams great even in defeat
BY LOU SIFA
Truth be told, I don’t remember how many times I mechanically turned off my tv during the final match of the Australian Open women’s single this morning, especially during the third set when it appeared N0. 1 seed Serena Williams was going to lose to Germany’s Angelique Kerber, thereby missing, once again, the golden chance to make history by tying Steffi Graf’s record of 22 Grand Slam titles. When the obvious became unavoidable, at the point when Kerber was just one inch away from victory, I turned off my television set, frustrated after bracing the 16-hour time difference between the U.S. east coast and Melbourne, Australia to stay up all night to watch the match that ended close to 6 in the morning.
Then reason kicked in, and I turned my set back on, just when Serena, a gracious loser, started giving her little speech saying: “Thank you for tonight guys, it was a great match. Angie congratulations, you did do well, you really deserved it, I really hope you enjoy this moment. I would like to thank my team and of course the crowd. I really enjoyed myself this whole time so thank you very much.” Then, in a great show of sportsmanship, Serena warmly hugged the new champion, the brilliant, victory-hungry Kerber who gave us a stunning performance that led to the dramatic 6-4 3-6 6-4 upset victory.
“Enjoyed myself?” Wow, I said to myself. Then, during the news conference, Serena said: “I think I did the best I could today. Would I give my performance an A? No. But this is all I could produce today.” She then added: “Every time I walk in this room I’m expected to win. I’m not a robot. I do the best that I can. I try to win every point but realistically I can’t. Maybe someone else can.”
So true, and so humble. A reminder to us, overly-demanding, sometimes unreasonable fans, that athletes are human, too.
Serena, even in defeat, you are great. Congratulations.