Happy Birthday, Lady (the hommage of a non-fan to Venus Williams)
It was a shock to me realizing that Venus Williams just turned 29. In one year she’ll reach the critical tennis canonic age of 30.
So to say, Venus’s tennis future is now behind her, although I believe she still can compete at the highest level for several more years. She has a game and a body that makes it totally possible for her to still win big when she’ll be 35. But based on the little we know of this secret lady, it seems unlikely: the strange thing about Venus is that her very self seems so remote to her glorious tennis-career.
To tell the truth, I have misunderstood Venus and that misunderstanding made me dislike her for several years. Probably, the fact that she and her sister Serena dethroned my past favorite, Martina Hingis played a role in that. Also, the extravaganza of her early looks, especially her hairstyle with colorful beads, did not quite please me. Last but not least, her association with her beloved sister and arch-nemesis, the unbearable Serena clouded my judgment.
But now that her career is slowly heading to its end, I realize how I do like Venus. She’s the last survivor of a women’s tennis divas dynasty, the true heir of the Evert, Navratilova and Graff of this world; even though Venus will end up with numbers that won’t really compare with those, to me she represents what a great champion is. It’s not just about what she won or lost, it’s about the way she doesn’t let her ego overshadow what she truly is for the game.
On top of that, there’s something about her that is priceless, a certain form of naivety that amazingly matches the stunning purity of her game when she’s at her best.
To be honest, I still struggle to understand Venus. I don’t understand why she didn’t win much more major tournaments; I don’t understand how it was possible at some point that Serena took a big edge over her, while Venus clearly has the better game of the two. Right now the sisters are even at 10-10 in their head-to-head, but it seems to me it shouldn’t be so balanced, Venus should have the edge but there was one year and a half, in 2002-2003 when Serena owned her totally, with no apparent technical reason; I don’t understand why she’s so prone to crash out of a tournament in early rounds, losing to players that she could crush playing on one leg; I don't understand how at times, her service can be a total disaster when she's the one that can crack the most explosive first serve among women.
That’s the Venus Williams Mystery: there’s no way to know what’s coming. With Serena, or someone like Maria Sharapova, you can see patterns, body-language, technical aspects or other elements of context that give some predictability. Not with Ms Venus Williams, you never know what’s coming, you don’t see her coming.
It’s that mystery that makes me like her, the mystery of a femme-fatale.
Happy birthday, Lady.
Last edited by Sharapower; Jun 19th, 2009 at 06:18 AM.