Sunday, in the finals of the Australian Open, # 3 seed, 23 year old, Naomi Osaka beat # 22 seed, 25 year old, Jennifer Brady, in two sets. Gracious from ‘first serve ‘ to ‘game, set, match ‘ both competitors played like total pros. The 1st Grand slam, of the year, was uneventful, with one exception.
To get to the finals, Osaka had to out-play, # 10 seed, 39 old Serena Williams. Osaka won 6/3, 6/4. It should have been Naomi’s day to advance headlines. Instead, Serena stole the international spotlight from her. And, it wasn’t the first time,
In 2018, Osaka beat Williams, 6/2, 6/3 at the US Open. At the time, sportswriters found no fault with Serena’s rant against tennis officials who penalized her for being coached from the sidelines, calling the umpire a thief, and breaking her racquet in a tantrum. Williams, with others, excused the tiraid by saying, she’s “fighting for women’s rights.” HUH? Self-aggrandizing showboating doesn’t advance women’s rights.
Serena, you weren’t penalized for being a woman, you were penalized for being a brat.
Last week, Ms.Williams left her post-match interview in tears, stealing the lime-light from Osaka again. This time the former champ choked when asked about the inevitability of her retirement. It wasn’t worth headlines, but she made them them anyway.
Serena crying 💔after the media keeps asking her about retirement pic.twitter.com/htjHEL5yoG
— BlackCultureEntertainment🗣 (@4TheCulture____) February 18, 2021
Serena’s known as an ‘all’-court player. Eight times she’s been ranked the World’s No.1. She’s earned 23 Grand Slam singles titles. Named ‘Sportswoman of the Year’ four times Sport’s Illustrated also named her Sportsperson of the Year in 2019. Her net worth is estimated by Forbes to be $225.M, So it’s surprising, despite a lifetime of impressive stats, this tennis star can’t net an interview with enough respect for the sport to let everyone she plays shine.
Because Serena Jameka Williams has changed the dynamics of women’s tennis with power, pace and a passion for in-your-face fashion, no one can challenge the future ‘Hall of Famer’s” eventual right to hear the applause from an International court of admirers. She took the lessons, put in the time, and suffered the blisters. Serena deserves credit for what she’s achieved, but, there’s still more the court can teach the arrogant prima-donna.
However sterling Serena Williams stats are, they should be tarnished by her lack of decency as a role model of sportsmanship.
Weekend wanna-be’s, will never experience the rewards of being a world-class tennis player, and yet we play. We take our lessons, put in the time, and suffer our blisters. We too hate to feel frustrated by missed shots, being robbed of a call, and losing a match we coulda, shoulda, woulda won. We’ll never be tennis stars, but we’ve learned the greater meaning of the sport. We play for laughs, and tacky trophies but most importantly; win or lose, we play with love and respect for the game and our competitors.