By Josh Kramer
Yesterday, tennis fans across the globe felt like it was 2002 again. At least for a couple of hours. It was a vintage Serena Williams performance on Centre Court as she dismantled the defending Wimbledon champ, Petra Kvitova in straight sets. I know that a few days ago, I mentioned a “major changing of the guard” in regards to the tennis world we once knew. I still fully believe that the times are changing. But yesterday demonstrated to me something I have known all along but never pieced together.
No athlete in our generation has the ability to flip on the “Switch” the way that Serena Williams can. It is truly a fascinating phenomenon. She also has the ability to turn off the “Switch” at any time as well unfortunately. The 13-time Grand Slam winner has dominated the WTA Tour for nearly a decade. But really on her own time. Due to injuries and other interests, Serena has kind of come and gone as she has pleased. A little different from Mr. Federer, a guy who recently advanced to his 33rd consecutive quarterfinal at a Grand Slam.
Nobody has every questioned Serena’s talent or athleticism. She is truly an amazing specimen in the same way that LeBron James is on a basketball court. No other tennis player possesses the same physical gifts as Serena. Just take a glimpse of her bulging biceps. People at a time not too long ago questioned LeBron James will to win. Serena’s committment and desire to be the best has always been the question mark with her.
Just when people were beginning to say that the reign of the 30-year-old Queen Williams was over (including myself), she appears to be the heavy favorite to take home her fifth Wimbledon Championship. A few weeks ago, Serena took arguably the worst loss of her career, when she exited in the first round of a Grand Slam tournament for the first time in her illustrious career. Then she proceeded to limp into the quarterfinals at the All England Club after being pushed to the brink by Jie Zheng and Yaroslava Shvedova. Her powerful serve seemed to be the only reason why she was surviving. Yesterday, she flipped the “Switch.”
It is honestly like nothing I have ever seen. Sure many of you are thinking, wasn’t Michael Jordan pretty good at flipping the “Switch” when he needed to? But in all honesty, when wasn’t Michael’s switch on, whether it was the regular season or the postseason? All that guy did was win (at least as a player). Serena’s career is much more of an enigma though.
I am not going to act like I envisioned Serena dismantling a player of Kvitova’s caliber that was on her “A” game. I do know that when Serena wants to play, she can play. The question is will the “Switch” stay on for two more matches? Or will this be a repeat of what happened in Flushing last year when Samantha Stosur blew Williams off the court?
Only time will tell.
Stay tuned for the next edition of TheSportsKraze.