Monday, 2 February 2015

Serena Williams @ 19 Grand Slams!

When she and her sister Venus started winning Grand Slams, I remember reading a sports news item that quoted their father Richard saying that, between the two, it was Serena who was hungrier.

He was right. Father knows best, I guess.

I saw Serena Williams play at the Rod Laver Arena during the Australian Open back in January 2007 at Melbourne. That summer day in Melbourne Park, inside the players' lounge, my friends Elizabeth, Louise (a tennis commentator and the former Australian Fed Cup captain), and I were watching Serena battle against Nadia Petrova from the TV monitor. The first set score was 6-1 in favor of the Russian, but Serena fought back on the second set. That was when we decided to go up to the Rod Laver Arena and watch the match from there. Serena won in three sets.

I guess that's just Serena; the grit, the determination to win and the fight till the end. And just as Monica Seles said of her matches against her legendary tennis rival, "with Steffi, till you shake hands, the match is not over". I think that's the same mentality of champions. They never give up until the chair umpire declares 'game, set, match'.

And just over the weekend, Serena Williams won her 6th Australian Open singles title, making her total Grand Slam singles titles to 19, one more than the individual Grand Slam records of Chris Evert and Martina Navratilova. Last Saturday, she defeated Maria Sharapova in straight sets. Serena's 19 GS titles make her female tennis player with the 3rd most titles, after Margaret Court (24) and Steffi Graf (22). So, in tennis history, she is already one of the best tennis players ever.

And as a tennis fan, I consider myself lucky that, in my lifetime, I was able to watch and enjoy a legend play a competitive match live, and at a Grand Slam at that! She actually went on to win that year in Australia.
                     (A post-match interview)

And to make things even special, I received a gift from the Australian Open organizers that year: a t-shirt which was signed by 20 female tennis players who I think played there in 2007, and one of them was Serena! I intend to keep and treasure this souvenir, of course! 

Congratulations to Serena! What an athlete and a competitor. Now, she'll be definitely chasing Steffi's record of 22.

         (My souvenir t-shirt signed by 20 female 
          tennis players at the Australian Open)
                         (Serena's autograph)

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