Welcome Denzera!:wavey:Hey everyone, for my first post I thought I'd introduce myself over here. My father was a big tennis fan and I grew up watching Agassi and Sampras, but started following women's tennis more seriously once the Williams sisters made their debut, and have been a huge fan of both ever since (I feel like Oracene when they play each other). I wrote the following on another board during RG this year, after an annoying article had questioned her resolve or focus or ability to beat better players on clay, and thought I'd share:
I fell in love with watching Serena Williams back in January 2003 during the Australian Open, as a college freshman. Serena had the big shots, the #1 ranking and seed, and the intimidation factor, but there was one opponent of hers that never seemed rattled: Kim Clijsters, who had won their last matchup in straight sets. On this day, in the Semi-finals, Clijsters seemed to be inside Serena's head, always knowing where the shot was going to go, and having a Jedi-like ability to will Serena to take low-percentage shots. After opening strong, Serena's focus had cracked in the 2nd set, and completely fallen apart in the 3rd - she was down 1-5, down two match points, facing an end to her run and the "Serena Slam" of holding all 4 major titles at once.
So, Serena got angry. Well, angry's not even the right word for it - she was ENRAGED. Destroyed a racket. Got a conduct warning. Her frustration had been building and building, and now she was just FURIOUS with herself, not to mention staring down elimination. But unlike other people whose anger gets the better of them, Serena's anger somehow focuses her and kicks her into a top gear. Suddenly hitting everything twice as hard, she proceeded to BLOW CLIJSTERS OFF THE COURT. Six games in a row, including 3 breaks of serve, against the world #4... and took the 3rd set 7-5 to win the semifinal. Once that switch was flipped, Kim Clijsters never had a chance, poor girl - but really, nobody else would have either. That day was tennis magic.
In over 12 years since that day, Serena has re-created that magic time and again. It's part of who she is, a core part of what makes her great. That adrenaline rush, the sudden focus that turns errors into winners, is why I watch her and enjoy following the tour. And now today, I read about her most recent Tennis Lazarus act, returning from the dead 3 matches in a row in the French Open to smite her opponents, and see the same breathless tone in the articles - "she can't keep this up!", or "don't be surprised if her next opponent takes it to her!", or "she's getting old, this is the wheels coming off!". Hogwash, all of it. She can keep this up because she's done it her whole life. Her next opponent is irrelevant, she will dictate the pace of play and always has, just about the only one who beats Serena Williams is herself. And she'll keep doing it until her body gives out, because the joy she gets from crushing fools out there on the tennis court never gets old. May she keep it going for a long time.
Looking forward to learning more about the game with everyone here, in SS and on TF in general.