Serena Williams is one of the greatest players to have ever picked up a tennis racquet, and undoubtedly one of the most recognisable in the global sporting arena, but some facts have been lost in her career.
As sports journalists and broadcasters it is an industry job to call it as we see it, but time and time again Serena has somehow managed to get people to overlook some putrid behaviour, and sheer arrogance.
The US Open, seemingly a swan song of sorts, became this sycophantic love fest for Williams that was fairly sickening to say the least.
Words like ‘Queen’ and ‘Goddess’ have been thrown around, but why exactly? Is it because she can hit a ball over the net?
If she conducted herself with grace on court then maybe it could be accepted, but over the years and even now in this self indulgent ‘non-retirement’, it is hard to see why people are not calling it out.
The US Open became the Serena show, and her post match interviews were cringeworthy to say the least, but for some reason the world ate it up, it was all about her, with nothing to say about her opponents and reeking of arrogance.
Compare that to Rafael Nadal’s on court interview after his second round win over Fabio Fognini, he was full of praise for the Italian and tried to down play his own performance despite coming from a set and a break down.
Humble and reserved as Rafa has so often been throughout his career.
But even the retirement has now all but seemed like a falsehood with her recent comments this week.
She never alluded to retirement but before the final Grand Slam of the year she said she was evolving away from tennis and allowed the tournament to honour her in a plethora of ways.
But all of a sudden it’s not happening. It makes absolutely no sense.
“I am not retired, the chances are very high, you can come to my house, I have a court,” Williams said.
“I still haven’t really thought about (retirement). “But I did wake up the other day and go on the court and (considered) for the first time in my life that I’m not playing for a competition, and it felt really weird.
“It was like the first day of the rest of my life and I’m enjoying it, but I’m still trying to find that balance.”
Why did she let the event honour her if she hasn’t thought about it? Why would you be so self-centred to make it all about you when it is far from set in stone?
It is frustrating for the sport because we have seen Roger Federer’s emotional retirement in recent weeks, and yes it was all about the 20-time major winner but he announced it definitively and it was a chance for the tennis world to say goodbye to someone who truly has been the perfect poster boy for the sport.
He has been honourable in victory and defeat, yes there have been outbursts, but most players have a few in there time.
People have seemed to completely players over Serena’s pretty major indiscretions, one being threatening to shove a ball down the lineswoman’s throat at the 2009 US Open.
She literally berated and abused her, but Serena can do no wrong.
Fast forward nine years to the 2018 US Open final against Naomi Osaka where the umpire detected her coach Patrick Mouratoglou was coaching her from the players box.
Safe to say she didn’t like it.
She called Ramos a thief, and even went as far to say that she would never cheat because
she is a mother, which is still unfathomable four years later.
But then, she decided to say that she acted out for women’s rights, and the media believed her! Even more unbelievable.
Mouratoglou admitted he was coaching her after the match mind you. It is unknown whether Ramos has ever received an apology.
It is a slap in the face to women’s rights activists that work tirelessly for equality, because Serena was just being a petulant brat trying to deflect her embarrassment.
But the fact that she has gotten away with it and seems to be looked upon more favourably pretty much sums up where common sense is in this world.
Even this year at Wimbledon, Williams was due to take part in the ceremony celebrating 100 years of Centre Court which included champions such as Federer, Djokovic, Halep, McEnroe, Edberg, Smith, Nadal, Kerber, Borg, Court, Evert, Newcombe, King, Laver and her sister Venus.
According to UK media reports, she was annoyed that the five luxury cars for her and her entourage to be transported to the All England Club would need to be given back the next day as she was already out of the tournament.
So, she didn’t go. Real classy...
She has achieved pretty much everything there is to achieve both inside and outside the tram lines of a court, winning all four majors on more than one occasion in singles and doubles, four Olympic gold medals, a Billie Jean King Cup crown (formerly Fed Cup), five WTA Finals championships, 23 WTA 1000 titles and even a Grand Slam Cup trophy when the former
event was running.
It seems people have remembered the accolades, but not the actions or self-indulgence.
It just needed to be said.