Serving the Spirit by Serena - TennisForum.com
Reply
 
LinkBack Thread Tools
post #1 of 54 (permalink) Old Sep 30th, 2004, 06:30 AM Thread Starter
Senior Member
 
Join Date: Apr 2003
Location: USA
Posts: 3,087
                     
Serving the Spirit by Serena

"
GUIDEPOSTS STORE


September 30, 2004

WEEKLY FEATURE


"Serving the Spirit
In life and in tennis, there’s always something new to learn

By Serena Williams
Palm Beach Gardens, Florida


I have to laugh when people say, “Wow, Serena, the way you play, you must have been born with a tennis racket in your hand!” Well, not quite. But close. Back in the late seventies my dad taught himself to play tennis by reading books and watching videos. He needed a practice partner, so he talked my mom into taking it up too. They’d hit the public courts at 5:30 A.M., then practice again after work. Mom stuck with the routine while she was pregnant with me.
Some parents have their babies listen to classical music in the womb. For me, it was the thwock of the tennis ball ricocheting off racket strings, the squeak of sneakers on asphalt. You could say I came into the world with a sense of the rhythm of the game. Still, I had to wait till I was four years old before my dad let me follow my older sister Venus (who’d already started lessons with him) onto a neighborhood tennis court in Compton, California. I wasn’t much taller than the net, but did I love to play!
I picked up the game at an early age. I picked up on something else too, something that goes far beyond tennis. The idea—the belief, really—that life is about learning. Not just from school and church, though my parents certainly stressed both. But also from people, from experiences, and, yes, even from losing.
You learn from the get-go when you’re the youngest in a big family, like I am. I had my older sisters—Yetunde, Isha, Lyndrea and Venus—as examples. Especially Venus, who’s just 15 months older than me. I copied how she dressed, how she wore her hair, how she talked. I wanted to do everything Venus did.
Our mom told me that even though God makes us unique and different, he loves us all exactly the same. It’s how true you are to yourself that matters. It wasn’t until 1999, when I was 18, that the truth of that statement dawned on me. Venus and I had the same coach (our dad), went to the same tennis school in Florida and practiced together. But our games didn’t turn out the same. Venus is a strategist, rallying from the baseline, waiting for the right moment to rip a passing shot out of her opponent’s reach. Me, I’m more aggressive. I like to come to the net and volley, take charge and dominate the match, especially with my two-handed backhand. Different styles of play, yet as I found out, both do the job. In tennis the most prestigious tournaments are the four Grand Slams. I won my first Grand Slam title at the U.S. Open in September, and the next summer Venus won her first, at Wimbledon.
Winning was amazing! But long after the glow of victory faded, the deeper spiritual lesson stayed with me—that like every one of us on this earth, I’m meant to become my own person, make the most of the unique gifts God has blessed me with. I’m still having fun discovering what they are. I just turned 23, after all.
Losing, that’s another story. I don’t like to lose—at anything. (Just ask my sisters about the singing contests we used to have.) Yet I’ve grown most not from victories, but setbacks. If winning is God’s reward, then losing is how he teaches us.
Take the time I hurt my wrist in 1997, my debut year on the pro tennis tour. (I was 16.) In my second event, I beat two top-10 ranked players and made it to the semifinals before I got beat. Nowhere to go but up, I thought. Later that month I was skateboarding and bam, total wipeout! I stuck my left arm out to break my fall. Jammed my wrist. Badly. I’m right-handed, so it wasn’t the worst injury, but I was seriously dejected because I couldn’t hit my two-handed backhand (to say nothing of the trouble I got into with Mom and Dad because I’d skipped school to go boarding).
“Why don’t you make the pain your gain?” Venus said. “Work on your forehand.”
My sister’s advice was totally on target. I focused on my forehand like never before, working on every element from my stance to my follow-through. By the time my left wrist healed, my forehand drive was ferocious. That improved my entire game.
The biggest lift? It came from a devastating loss in the quarterfinals of the 2000 U.S. Open. My opponent: Lindsay Davenport, No. 2 seed. I was the defending champ and I wasn’t about to give up my title without a fight. We were tied in the first set at 4–4, neither of us able to break the other’s serve. The ninth game, I served. Lindsay pushed me to a break point. I hit a forehand long, past the baseline. Lindsay was up, 5–4. Dumb. How could you lose that game? I smacked my racket against the court. I knew it was unsportsmanlike, but I was just so frustrated.
The negative thoughts kept coming at me. The next thing I knew Lindsay was serving for the set. I lunged, hit a backhand. Right into the net. Lindsay won the set, 6–4. That time I smacked my racket on the court so hard the frame cracked. I had to grab a new racket out of my bag. Not that it helped. I fell apart, overhitting, complaining about calls, throwing my racket. I lost the second set, 2–6, and the match.
In the locker room, I went over the match point by point. I’d made 27 unforced errors. That’s like giving your opponent 27 points. I lost the match because I lost my composure. I expended so much energy being negative I didn’t have anything left to put into winning. Worst of all, with my bad behavior I hadn’t shown respect for my opponent, for the game or for the ability God gave me. I’d blown it. Totally.
The only victory would come in learning. No more whining about bad calls. No more dwelling on my mistakes and getting down on myself. It’s hard enough to beat these women on the pro tour. I didn’t need to fight against myself too. Stay positive. My most powerful weapon on the court is my attitude.
I added another weapon to my game—prayer, which is as sure as my two-handed backhand. One rule in tennis is that every other game you switch ends of the court with your opponent. Every changeover, I bow my head, close my eyes. And I pray, Help me stay strong out here. Help me stay calm and do my best. Thank you, Lord.
I don’t pray to win. Not that I don’t want to or try to. But I know now a loss can be a gift. A chance to grow. Losing has taught me to be a better winner and a better person, one who is always looking for opportunities to learn. And in life, just like in tennis, that’s how you go forward. "
DeDe4925 is offline  
Sponsored Links
Advertisement
 
post #2 of 54 (permalink) Old Sep 30th, 2004, 06:37 AM
.
 
Stamp Paid's Avatar
 
Join Date: Sep 2002
Location: ...
Posts: 49,014
                     
Talking

Serena


█████████████████ʘ
Stamp Paid is offline  
post #3 of 54 (permalink) Old Sep 30th, 2004, 06:45 AM
Team WTAworld
Senior Member
 
Ekkekko's Avatar
 
Join Date: Jul 2004
Posts: 555
                     
Serena
Ekkekko is offline  
post #4 of 54 (permalink) Old Sep 30th, 2004, 06:48 AM
Senior Member
 
Knizzle's Avatar
 
Join Date: May 2003
Posts: 21,749
                     
What a smart and mature woman!!
Knizzle is offline  
post #5 of 54 (permalink) Old Sep 30th, 2004, 06:50 AM
Senior Member
 
dreamgoddess099's Avatar
 
Join Date: Mar 2003
Location: Lost in time
Posts: 6,357
                     
Wow, that's deep. I always knew she prayed on court. That's big of her to share her prayers.

"I want you to believe in yourself in every positive thing you do, and success will be your portion,"
Serena Williams inspires the children of Ghana
dreamgoddess099 is offline  
post #6 of 54 (permalink) Old Sep 30th, 2004, 06:55 AM
country flag vs1
Senior Member
 
Join Date: Jun 2002
Location: 15 hours via JFK!!!
Posts: 7,259
                     
Oh my goodness...she is so damn articulate and insightful. I'm not a very religious person, but I'm glad that Serena's sense of spirituality has made her a stronger and more productive person.

I'm ALWAYS amazed by the beauty of Babygirl!!!

Little darlin'

Here comes the sun

It's alright

You can come on out


SERENA WILLIAMS - 2005 AUSTRALIAN OPEN CHAMPION!!!


OFFICIAL BISHOP OF THE ROYAL COURT!

Andy_ & I are Zelda's Guys of the Decade!!!
vs1 is offline  
post #7 of 54 (permalink) Old Sep 30th, 2004, 07:03 AM
-LIFETIME MEMBER-
 
Join Date: Dec 2003
Location: Among The Greats
Posts: 40,061
                     


All of that AFTER that whole Capriati fiasco! I LOVE HER! SHE IS AWESOME! THE BEST EVER!

Career Grand Slam in your 20s? Been there done that. Career golden slam your 30s?
There's only 1.
Serena.
♛♛♛♛♛♛♛♛
[22]
MrSerenaWilliams is offline  
post #8 of 54 (permalink) Old Sep 30th, 2004, 10:56 AM
Senior Member
 
Join Date: Dec 2003
Location: USA
Posts: 468
                     
Thats our Baby Girl, Loveeeeeeees Ya baby

DUNEMAN- WITNESS TO WILLIAMS DOMINATION

Official Dream Catcher Of the Royal Court
Dream Catcher (Lakota) Legend
DUNEMAN is offline  
post #9 of 54 (permalink) Old Sep 30th, 2004, 12:15 PM
Senior Member
 
Join Date: Apr 2003
Location: Netherlands
Posts: 45,107
                     
Wow, babygirl!! You keep amazing us!

Always bet on black!
Can you handle the truth?
The truth:
Serena Williams: Greatest African-American tennisplayer in history
22 majors:6376


Official Prince of the Royal Court
bandabou is offline  
post #10 of 54 (permalink) Old Sep 30th, 2004, 12:27 PM
Senior Member
 
Join Date: Jul 2004
Posts: 475
                     
That was just awesome it brought a tear to my eye. I alway knew she prayed on court but it's also amazing that she does not pray to win but for strength that is deep. That's why I love you and your sister; you guys are just what I would want my kids to emulate. After reading that I even love you more.
boggs570 is offline  
post #11 of 54 (permalink) Old Sep 30th, 2004, 12:31 PM
Team WTAworld
Senior Member
 
Shuji Shuriken's Avatar
 
Join Date: Feb 2002
Location: Planet Venus
Posts: 12,073
                     
Excellent read

Serena

Official Earl Of The Royal Court


Brandysan's Keeper

žžŸŸl[lŸŸžž

Venussan #1 Fan
Serenasan Warrior Princess

http://www.myspace.com/keimodarkheart
Shuji Shuriken is offline  
post #12 of 54 (permalink) Old Sep 30th, 2004, 01:54 PM
Senior Member
 
vettipooh's Avatar
 
Join Date: Oct 2002
Posts: 5,076
                     
Intelligent girl, on and off the court!! Insightful article on the deeper side of Serena.Very very nice.

Venus and Serena.....2012 Grand Slam Champions!
The Greatest Ever Grand Slam Team, Does It Again!!!!

And It's Not Over Yet...Just Wait....Wait.
vettipooh is offline  
post #13 of 54 (permalink) Old Sep 30th, 2004, 02:22 PM
country flag SJW
Senior Member
 
SJW's Avatar
 
Join Date: Oct 2002
Location: Allez
Posts: 11,016
                     
OMG how amazing is she....she's so grown up, i don't like it, she's still my little but cute babygirl gosh she's so damn smart....what a read, it's refreshing to know there are a few tennis players out there with something to say
SJW is offline  
post #14 of 54 (permalink) Old Sep 30th, 2004, 02:58 PM
Senior Member
 
Join Date: Apr 2003
Location: Netherlands
Posts: 45,107
                     
I hope people are gonna read this and think about it when they say Serena has bad attitude this and that..

Always bet on black!
Can you handle the truth?
The truth:
Serena Williams: Greatest African-American tennisplayer in history
22 majors:6376


Official Prince of the Royal Court
bandabou is offline  
post #15 of 54 (permalink) Old Sep 30th, 2004, 03:07 PM
Senior Member
 
kabuki's Avatar
 
Join Date: Jul 2004
Location: In denial
Posts: 6,176
                     
She is so well rounded, mature, and insightful.
kabuki is offline  
Reply

Quick Reply
Message:
Options

Register Now



In order to be able to post messages on the TennisForum.com forums, you must first register.
Please enter your desired user name, your email address and other required details in the form below.

User Name:
Password
Please enter a password for your user account. Note that passwords are case-sensitive.

Password:


Confirm Password:
Email Address
Please enter a valid email address for yourself.

Email Address:
OR

Log-in









Human Verification

In order to verify that you are a human and not a spam bot, please enter the answer into the following box below based on the instructions contained in the graphic.



Thread Tools
Show Printable Version Show Printable Version
Email this Page Email this Page



Posting Rules  
You may not post new threads
You may post replies
You may not post attachments
You may not edit your posts

BB code is On
Smilies are On
[IMG] code is On
HTML code is Off
Trackbacks are On
Pingbacks are On
Refbacks are On

 
For the best viewing experience please update your browser to Google Chrome