Monday, July 02, 2007

I'm sorry, but I just watched Serena Williams win her match at Wimbledon and I've gotta' speak out about it. Her display, in my mind, bordered on classless and I grew tired of the commentators "praising" her while the crowd cheered her on. And here's why.

I missed the beginning of the match but, apparently, she experienced some severe cramping in her calf that affected her play. It looked quite serious and, having experienced "cramping" when working out, I can only imagine how much it's itensified by the high level of play that these athletes are involved in. Luckily for her, a rain delay meant that she could work through it enough to continue on. That being said....she was presented with the opportunity to gracefully bow out of the match due to her injury/cramping, but elected to stay in and play. Which would, I assume, mean she was better. If not, it just doesn't make much sense (although I do realize that these tournaments are very important and one may try and battle through the pain). I give her credit, she put a lot of effort in and, although at certain points she seemed hardly able to move to the ball, she made the most when she did. Then miraculously, on some shots, it was like she wasn't hurting at all as she appeared to move effortlessly. I guess when you're that focused you don't feel it (I'm attributing it to that). But I began to question each time she'd miss a shot and grimace and, on the very next serve, move to the ball like a gazelle. How'd that happen? It seemed almost like at times she was using the grimace face when she'd mess up a shot. And her pain would disappear as she'd make a tough shot and pump her fist in the air while gritting her teeth like she was in fighting form. Perhaps she was just working through the pain and was completely focused on winning. - champions can do that. So I kept that in mind, but still couldn't help thinking that it seemed she'd like she'd worked through the cramping and was possibly making excuses when she'd lose a point. I'm so cynical that way.

Anyhow, what probably added to me pulling so hard for her opponent (Daniela Hantuchova) was the fact that on a few of those missed shots you could actually see Serena mouthing the word "fuck" and "fucking" this and that in her rants to herself (more than once). And the fellow in her corner (I think it must've been her father) also did the same at one point. Personally I just find that tasteless in a high caliber match like this...these are pro athletes who are playing in front of millions of viewers, some of them being children. They're role models and need to keep a certain amount of "cool" about them and she didn't always do that. Let's face it - anyone can lose it and I'm not above that. Hell, I use the f bomb here all the time. But it was wearing thin on me as she shouted aggresively and pumped her fists...I actually found her quite scary. At one point she made a crucial shot and looked completely crazed as she screamed "COMMMME ON!!" at her poor opponent. I would've run off the court and hid at that point. The commentator even remarked about it, saying her screams were "primal". Maybe it was all to intimidate her slight little blonde opponent who, much to her credit, managed to keep her wits about her and battle hard in the match. I so wanted her to win because she was quiet, focused and never resorted to these tactics. She showed true class in the match and came close to winning it. Serena, not so much for me. She won on pure heart (and aggression), but it seemed mixed in with a lot of whining and questionable conduct/sportsmanship (again, just my opinion). I'm not taking anything away from her abilities...she's truly one of the best. But this other stuff is so unnecessary and I have so much more respect for someone who wins graciously.

The final straw for me was when her opponent started to rally and was in good contention for the match. Daniela was about to serve when Serena had a few words with the umpire...apparently she had to use the bathroom and the umpire told her to wait until it was her serve. She argued a bit, explaining that the amount of water/fluid she'd been drinking for the cramping made it an issue and she really had to go. Apparently this is a tactic used by some players to throw off their opponent before their stops their momentum and breaks the rhythym of things. Anyhow, when she was refused the break she gave a bit of attitude and then play went on as instructed. I kept thinking "oh, that's terrible" as I imagined how it would be to have to go while you're running around on the court...surely she'd dash when she was able to. But then came time for Serena's serve, which meant she was permitted a bathroom would expect she'd be sprinting off the court. But no, suddenly she decided she no longer had to go (coincidentally, momentum had swung her way in the match at this point). I'd have cried foul there..."what do you mean you don't have to go? Two minutes ago you were dying, remember?" The umpire instructed her to go now or forever hold her legs together in the peepee dance position, but she declined and said she wanted to continue with the match. Questionable, to say the least. I just don't have much respect for the antics displayed by Ms. Williams throughout this match. While I do admire her competitiveness for battling through and overcoming her pain (and wearing Depends) to win, I'm not impressed by the way she went about it. I question her behavior and motives and how she appeared to be manipulating things in order to gain sympathy and support. Because of how she presented herself throughout the match, I would've much rather seen Daniela take this one.

Most are applauding her and saying she's a true champion....I'm just not one of them.


Blogger junky said...

her real name is Samuel, not Serena if that clears anything up.

7:33 PM  
Blogger Alana said...

LOL, junky.

Debz, check your email. :)

7:54 PM  
Blogger Deb said...

I'm glad you said that junky 'cause that's what I thought. And I bet she's roid raging.

alana...oh, I guess I better do that. It's been a week or so. :)

8:16 PM  
Blogger aka k said...

You are not alone in your thoughts. There's a number of people thinking she should be an Oscar nominee. Though it was a bit hammie. I have to say I agree with Wogan this morning (BBC2 breakfast). You don't sit down and rest a cramp, you walk around and try to stretch it out or your trainer puts you on your back and works your foot to stretch the muscles.

wow, another rant. lol

4:40 AM  
Blogger Deb said...

You're absolutely right aka (and good to "see"'s been awhile!)

9:25 AM  
Blogger Deb said...

(and I don't think "hitting" your leg with your racket is the remedy either!)

9:26 AM  
Blogger busterp said...

Interesting. I haven't watched tennis for years. I remember seeing what is sometimes known as the greatest match ever: Borg vs McEnroe. Six plus hours.

I remember Yannick Noah playing too - the Chicago Bulls just drafted his kid.

Anyway, I agree with you opinion. I don't like her either. I like Sharapova (for some reason) and before her Jennifer Capriati.

12:36 PM  

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