Twenty-four is not inevitable — and neither is Serena Williams.
These are the facts of life, or maybe the cycle of life, as Rafael Nadal put it on Friday. Sports belong to the young — even if perhaps the greatest champion in the history of her sport rages against the dying of the light.
Twenty years after winning her first U.S. Open and first Grand Slam tournament, the 37-year-old Williams was beaten in the women’s Open final Saturday by 19-year-old Bianca Andreescu — the powerful, poised and bold Canadian — in straight sets 6-3, 7-5. A year ago, under tumultuous conditions, Serena was beaten in the final by 20-year-old Naomi Osaka. There is a pattern here, folks.
In neither match did Williams play close to her best tennis. She has not played close to her best tennis in the four Grand Slam finals she has lost since coming within one of Margaret Court’s record of 24 Grand Slam titles with her 2017 victory at the Australian Open before stepping away to have a baby and be a mom.
“I’m not necessarily chasing a record, I’m just trying to win Grand Slams,” an introspective Williams said. “And it’s definitely frustrating, you know?”
Tennis balls are round. They spin, in much the way the Andreescu attacked her decorated opponent from the get-go in breaking Williams in the first game of the match, the final game of the match, and six times overall. Now, with so many talented young women joining the tour, many inspired by the journeys of Serena and Venus Williams — many of whom idolize the sisters who made not only tennis history, but also American history, the tour reflects the natural order. Read More