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DeDe4925
Sep 30th, 2004, 05:30 AM
"
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. "

Stamp Paid
Sep 30th, 2004, 05:37 AM
Serena http://wtaworld.com/images/smilies/hearts.gifhttp://wtaworld.com/images/smilies/hearts.gifhttp://wtaworld.com/images/smilies/hearts.gif

Ekkekko
Sep 30th, 2004, 05:45 AM
Serena :hatoff:

Knizzle
Sep 30th, 2004, 05:48 AM
What a smart and mature woman!! :hearts:

dreamgoddess099
Sep 30th, 2004, 05:50 AM
Wow, that's deep. I always knew she prayed on court. That's big of her to share her prayers.

vs1
Sep 30th, 2004, 05:55 AM
Oh my goodness...she is so damn articulate and insightful. :worship: 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!!! :hearts: :hearts: :hearts:

MrSerenaWilliams
Sep 30th, 2004, 06:03 AM
:angel: :hearts: :kiss: ;) :worship: :wavey: :clap2: :bigclap: :bowdown: :smooch: :hug: :woohoo: :hatoff: :inlove:

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

DUNEMAN
Sep 30th, 2004, 09:56 AM
Thats our Baby Girl, Loveeeeeeees Ya baby

bandabou
Sep 30th, 2004, 11:15 AM
Wow, babygirl!! You keep amazing us!

boggs570
Sep 30th, 2004, 11:27 AM
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.

Shuji Shuriken
Sep 30th, 2004, 11:31 AM
Excellent read :)

Serena :hearts: :kiss:

vettipooh
Sep 30th, 2004, 12:54 PM
Intelligent girl, on and off the court!! Insightful article on the deeper side of Serena.Very very nice.

SJW
Sep 30th, 2004, 01:22 PM
OMG how amazing is she....she's so grown up, i don't like it, she's still my little but cute babygirl :sad: 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 :yeah:

bandabou
Sep 30th, 2004, 01:58 PM
I hope people are gonna read this and think about it when they say Serena has bad attitude this and that..

kabuki
Sep 30th, 2004, 02:07 PM
She is so well rounded, mature, and insightful. :worship:

boggs570
Sep 30th, 2004, 02:13 PM
Yes she certainly is well rounded. This is one thread where we will not have 5 pages....you know why....it's to positive and the author is damn classy.

Experimentee
Sep 30th, 2004, 02:19 PM
Great article Serena :yeah:

bandabou
Sep 30th, 2004, 02:22 PM
Yes she certainly is well rounded. This is one thread where we will not have 5 pages....you know why....it's to positive and the author is damn classy.

You said it....

kabuki
Sep 30th, 2004, 02:41 PM
Yes she certainly is well rounded. This is one thread where we will not have 5 pages....you know why....it's to positive and the author is damn classy.

Well, I guess in your case, stating the obvious is better than stating basically nothing at all, which is what you normally do.

Stamp Paid
Sep 30th, 2004, 02:43 PM
Interestingly, NO Non-Williams Fans have posted in this thread. I wonder why?

jacobruiz
Sep 30th, 2004, 02:54 PM
:worship: Way to go, Serena! Richard and Oracene have certainly instilled great values in Serena and Venus - if only more parents, not just tennis parents, could do the same.

drive-volley
Sep 30th, 2004, 02:58 PM
What I gotta say is WOW! Serena, you really impressed me by this article.

bandabou
Sep 30th, 2004, 03:01 PM
Interestingly, NO Non-Williams Fans have posted in this thread. I wonder why?

Something positive about Serena and you expect people to comment about it?!

darrinbaker00
Sep 30th, 2004, 04:07 PM
Serena Williams is not 22. She's a 55-year-old woman trapped in a 22-year-old body. Of course, if you must be trapped in a 22-year-old body..... ;)

steffilover
Sep 30th, 2004, 04:32 PM
"Serving the spirit"
wow, serena has decided to call it a day and become a waitress?
good decision!!:lol:
now at least most of her wardrobe will look in keeping with her job!!!:devil:

tennischick
Sep 30th, 2004, 06:28 PM
link to this article :confused:

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. i wish this description of her game was literally true but it isn't.

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.and indeed one of things i have been admiring since her return is that Serena's matches are indeed a lot cleaner. the exception was the match she lost to Capriati where her becoming upset must have interfered.

Knizzle
Sep 30th, 2004, 06:30 PM
link to this article :confused:

i wish this description of her game was literally true but it isn't.

and indeed one of things i have been admiring since her return is that Serena's matches are indeed a lot cleaner. the exception was the match she lost to Capriati where her becoming upset must have interfered.
Cleaner than when??

tennischick
Sep 30th, 2004, 06:33 PM
Cleaner than when??obviously than before her injury break. she was making a LOT more UE's then. she's making less of them now. the exception was that infamous Capriati match.

bandabou
Sep 30th, 2004, 06:41 PM
Yeah....I think right now it´s just that serena´s forehand is still a bit shaky, but yeah....she´s having some pretty long rallies now in her matches.

SJW
Sep 30th, 2004, 06:44 PM
i think she's slowly but surely becoming a better player :)

her volleys are like 100% better, her serve is becoming a legend and yea, she's developing an all court game to go with her baseline game :)

harloo
Sep 30th, 2004, 06:44 PM
Great article Serena!! Keep up the good work, and I will be praying with you!!:)

boggs570
Sep 30th, 2004, 06:54 PM
I remember the IW fiasco in an article Serena said she did not pray to win that match but she pray for God to give her strength to handle what she was going through from the people in the stands.

heartBREAKeRS
Sep 30th, 2004, 07:11 PM
Love her, learn frome her, respect frome her, and all JUST SIMPLE LOVE THAT GIRL :kiss:

RVD
Sep 30th, 2004, 07:32 PM
WONDERFUL WONDERFUL article. THANK YOU!

Serena has always struck me as insightful, mature, and intelligent. Also, someone who 'goes for it'...whether in personal pursuits or spiritually. And this article just brings it all home for me.

I love the way she uses 'spiritual' instead of 'religious' as well. There is such a HUGE difference. For her to endure all that she does on tour takes someone with so much inner strength and courage, I couldn't begin to describe it.

Keep growing Serena, cuz you are truly LOVED babygirl ! :worship: :worship: :angel:

DeDe4925
Sep 30th, 2004, 08:10 PM
Serena Williams is not 22. She's a 55-year-old woman trapped in a 22-year-old body. Of course, if you must be trapped in a 22-year-old body..... ;)
:lol: :p

DeDe4925
Sep 30th, 2004, 08:16 PM
link to this article :confused:
http://www.guideposts.com/WEEKLY_FEATURE.ASP?DATE=9/20/2004
i wish this description of her game was literally true but it isn't.
Well, I guess if you can't say she's being selfish, ungracious or arrogant, she must be lying about the one thing she knows better than anyone. :rolleyes:

and indeed one of things i have been admiring since her return is that Serena's matches are indeed a lot cleaner. the exception was the match she lost to Capriati where her becoming upset must have interfered.
That's going to happen with more match play. What did you expect? Or Should I said, what were you hoping for? :rolleyes:

thelittlestelf
Sep 30th, 2004, 08:49 PM
Serena :hearts:

Both Vee and Serena are great writers, you should read some of the stuff they wrote for Tennis Magazine...

DUNEMAN
Sep 30th, 2004, 08:56 PM
"Serving the spirit"
wow, serena has decided to call it a day and become a waitress?
good decision!!:lol:
now at least most of her wardrobe will look in keeping with her job!!!:devil:

:wavey: God Bless you, you can't steal our joy :wavey:

AkademiQ
Sep 30th, 2004, 08:57 PM
This was great to read. Both Serena and Venus are quite impressive. On the court and off the court. I like reading insightful pieces like that which allow you to see more of the person and player. Quite impressve.

Chrissie-fan
Sep 30th, 2004, 10:23 PM
Sorry to disappoint you mate! :devil: ....Yeah,interesting article and Serena seems to be a good person. I have no difficulty in saying nice things about players that aren't my faves when I feel it's deserved.

Something positive about Serena and you expect people to comment about it?!

J_Migoe
Sep 30th, 2004, 10:43 PM
just a beautiful artilce. i love you serena!!!!

tennischick
Sep 30th, 2004, 10:44 PM
http://www.guideposts.com/WEEKLY_FEATURE.ASP?DATE=9/20/2004

Well, I guess if you can't say she's being selfish, ungracious or arrogant, she must be lying about the one thing she knows better than anyone. :rolleyes:


That's going to happen with more match play. What did you expect? Or Should I said, what were you hoping for? :rolleyes:huh??? :confused: :confused: :confused: :confused: :confused: :confused:

vettipooh
Oct 1st, 2004, 01:06 AM
"Serving the spirit"
wow, serena has decided to call it a day and become a waitress?
good decision!!:lol:
now at least most of her wardrobe will look in keeping with her job!!!:devil::retard::scared: :smash:

Stamp Paid
Oct 1st, 2004, 01:26 AM
Not to sound like a bitch, but I felt some welling up in my eyes after rereading this. http://wtaworld.com/ubb/redface.gif

dreamgoddess099
Oct 1st, 2004, 02:51 AM
http://www.guideposts.com/images/gphmpgbnr4.jpg
I just saw this copy of Guideposts magazine in the store. It had a nice pic of Serena wearing a green top while standing in a bambo forest.

dreamgoddess099
Oct 1st, 2004, 02:53 AM
Not to sound like a bitch,
Too late. :p :lol: ;)

Stamp Paid
Oct 1st, 2004, 03:13 AM
Too late. :p :lol: ;)
LMAO, I know right! Whenever you preface it, you just need to stop it right there.

Knizzle
Oct 1st, 2004, 03:14 AM
Not to sound like a bitch, but I felt some welling up in my eyes after rereading this. http://wtaworld.com/ubb/redface.gifemotional like Carl Thomas??

Crazy Canuck
Oct 1st, 2004, 08:41 AM
I hope people are gonna read this and think about it when they say Serena has bad attitude this and that..
I would hope that level minded, mature individuals would not need to read this article (although it was wonderful, no doubt) in order to be able to separate competitive fire oncourt from a player's true personality offcourt. It's really not difficult to understand how totally different those things can be. Take Lleyton Hewitt, for example. The guy can be a loud ass on court by some peoples standards, but off court he's well mannered and soft spoken. How an individual acts in a high pressure situation with tens of thousands of people watching gives only a very brief glimpse into their personality, their character.

Crazy Canuck
Oct 1st, 2004, 08:44 AM
http://www.guideposts.com/WEEKLY_FEATURE.ASP?DATE=9/20/2004

Well, I guess if you can't say she's being selfish, ungracious or arrogant, she must be lying about the one thing she knows better than anyone. :rolleyes:


That's going to happen with more match play. What did you expect? Or Should I said, what were you hoping for? :rolleyes:
Infinitely demented response considering the fact that TC has been a Serena fan since God knows when. Try turning down your defenses and saving them for when you actually need them.

DeDe4925
Oct 1st, 2004, 06:09 PM
Infinitely demented response considering the fact that TC has been a Serena fan since God knows when. Try turning down your defenses and saving them for when you actually need them.
You're right Canuck, I'm totally demented. :rolleyes: Since I know all the posters on this board as well as you do, I should have known better. I know every poster by name and what they post and who their favs are because I'm posting on this board, 24/7. What's wrong with me? :rolleyes:

Try kissing my ass and saving your comments until I ask for them. :wavey:

tennischick
Oct 2nd, 2004, 12:24 PM
You're right Canuck, I'm totally demented. :rolleyes: Since I know all the posters on this board as well as you do, I should have known better. I know every poster by name and what they post and who their favs are because I'm posting on this board, 24/7. What's wrong with me? :rolleyes:

Try kissing my ass and saving your comments until I ask for them. :wavey::ignore: :ignore: :ignore:

nice try Beccs but clearly you're wasting your time :wavey:

DeDe4925
Oct 3rd, 2004, 09:18 PM
:ignore: :ignore: :ignore:

nice try Beccs but clearly you're wasting your time :wavey:
:rolleyes: Sarcasm is clearly wasted on some.