Serena Williams smashing tennis ball 311.
(photo credit: Michel Spingler/AP)
LONDON – It’s hard to think of two players who polarize the tennis-loving public more than the Williams sisters.
You can’t remain indifferent towards Serena and Venus – you either love them or you hate them.
However, even those who cannot stand the brashness and often outrageousness of the Americans must be grateful to have the two back fit at Wimbledon.
Women’s tennis without the Williams sisters is a little like the strawberries without the cream.
Good, depending on the season, but not quite tantalizingly delicious.
After a year spent battling a serious foot injury and then suffering
life-threatening blood clots, the usually stoic Serena broke into tears
following her first round win over Aravane Rezai, admitting that she was
overjoyed to be back winning on Centre Court at Wimbledon after being
sidelined for 49 weeks.
Like her younger sister, Venus also made her return at Eastbourne two
weeks ago, playing in her first tournament in more than four months,
while Serena was in action for the first time since last year’s
Neither really impressed in the tune-up event, but both are slowly
working their way into match fitness at the All England Club, and after
securing their place in the second week of Wimbledon by reaching the
fourth round, a fifth all-Williams final at SW19 is looking more and
more like a strong possibility.
“Throughout the last 12 months, I’ve been through a lot of things that’s
not normal,” said Serena, a 13-time Grand Slam winner who is the
defending champion at Wimbledon.
“So it’s just been a long, arduous road. To stand up still is pretty awesome.
“If you believe in yourself, you just continue to fight and never give
up. I always preach, you know, never give up, never give up. I finally
was in a position that I could have gave up, I couldn’t have came here, I
could have sat home and said, I’ve had a fabulous career I don’t have
to work extra, extra hard now.
“But it just really goes to show if you don’t give up, you still have a chance.”
Love them or hate them, you can’t help but be thankful that the Williams sisters are back.
We may not still feel this way if the two produce yet another dreary
final or alienate even more fans by seemingly showing more care for what
they wear than how they play, but for the time being it is nice to have
the cream back with the strawberries.
“I think Serena just showed that once you’re a champion, you’re always a
champion, as long as you’re always willing to believe in yourself,”
Venus said of her sister, but essentially also spoke of herself.
“Regardless of what happened to her off the court, whatever it was, she
still believes in herself. I think that’s a good role model for anyone,
regardless of what they’re trying to achieve.”