You’re Gonna Hate Me for Saying This…

 

There seems to be things these days that we cannot say. Influenced by PC or whatever – you shouldn’t say them. Well, I’m about to go ahead and say one anyway:

I don’t like Serena Williams. Can’t say I never did; she once was very pleasantly innocent, naïve and wide-eyed way back when. Older sister, Venus, lead the sisters into sport dominance until Serena exploded past her into the phenom she was for the following 23 years.

Serena showed unbelievable talent. And her desire to win only faded a bit Friday night as she reluctantly gave into her final match. Her desire to win that last game – was it the fifth or sixth match point before the inevitability of the evening took over? – seemed unmatched until it wasn’t. She couldn’t pull it out. And all the fancy, private-jet-delivered attendees who don’t know the difference between deuce and match point, moaned and emotionally collapsed as Serena couldn’t manage the strength to scream “I’m forty. I did my best! I’m done!”

But the unending desire to go on that Serena had surely always shown, did end. And it allowed a pause for us to finally consider some things in her professional past that mightn’t be so GOAT-flattering. As one remembers, in not such the distant past, she demonstrated she could be a world class player and loser. Not just shamelessly bombastic at the refereeing of the US Open 2018 Finals match in which she lost, Serena kept emotionally lamenting another opportunity at a Slam title lost that, winner, 18-year-old Naomi Osaka, could not believe what was going on around her. Naomi just knew that the moment her young life had been building to for all these years was being trampled. Trodden by the antics of the half-billionaire and her disbelief at being the victim of a Slam final first-timer and maybe not thrilled she happened to be one of color as well (if I might add).

In career’s nascence, It took no shortage of time for the wonderfully fresh-faced and joyfully wide-eyed girl from Compton in Los Angeles County to believe not only that the world was her oyster but that the billion-dollar pearl inside was the first of a necklace. Especially when compared to her gracious sister, her ego was, in not a terribly long time, evident in every picture, her self-importance obvious in every scream on the court. A journalist friend here in New York shared with me how she and her hangers-on one evening during a prior US Open arrived at a well-reputed although under-celebrated and attended restaurant in Harlem, ate and drank to capacity, then when over, split without even going through the formality of asking for the check. Having worked with well-known actors most of my life I never saw, even once, one of them reach for the bill. I hadn’t realized it extended to tennis players and their dozen best friends, too.

As a show business acquaintance once let me know, there is something quite unsettling about a star athlete instead expecting to be treated like a genuine movie star when arriving on the set to do a Direct TV commercial. But that’s what Serena apparently did. Given all her fortunes, money clearly wasn’t the object. As folks on set speculated, maybe that having nothing else scheduled for that day, she just enjoyed showing up and having her ass uber kissed that afternoon.

I played tennis on the college level way back when and being a singles player makes you rather selfish. It’s just you out there, in your head alone. All the time. You spend so much time out there by yourself you simply become the never unending center of the universe. Always. Like a child. It’s understandable but not all that likeable.

Easily put, all this has added up to a very unflattering conclusion. Serena Williams has become Meghan Markle.

It’s no simple exercise getting to the point of disliking SW. Her early life was not easy, especially if you’ve ever been to Compton. We all know the story of her half-sister, Yetunde, who, long ago, met her fate simply by standing on the porch of the family home there. Richard Williams at times was a very difficult father to have around.

But the absorption, the utter absorption, springs forth from her like the flowers we’ll see next April. I suppose when you’re on as a journey as long as Serena’s, you lose some people along the way. I’m tired of her. I’m one of them. Good luck to her in her new but hopefully inconspicuous life.

Published in Sports
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  1. kedavis Inactive
    kedavis
    @kedavis

    Too bad you didn’t post this on the Member Feed where more people would see it first.

    • #1
  2. RushBabe49 Thatcher
    RushBabe49
    @RushBabe49

    Is it only me, or has professional tennis become incredibly boring?  Rallies only last two or three hits, and the players don’t seem to do any running to get the ball when it’s hit to the other side of the court.  I can’t even watch it anymore.

    I must be spoiled by pro squash.

    • #2
  3. Skyler Coolidge
    Skyler
    @Skyler

    Wow, what a classless essay.  Serena Williams might be unlikeable to you, but she has indeed dominated her sport for a very long time.  Sharing rumors about her not paying a bill is uncalled for.  

    I think this article is reprehensible.  

    • #3
  4. Eugene Kriegsmann Member
    Eugene Kriegsmann
    @EugeneKriegsmann

    I grew up in Forest Hills Gardens where the annual USLTA Opens used to be held at the Westside Tennis Club. My older brother was much more of a fan than I was, but I did know and follow a lot of the then stars. I am sure that quality of play is far better these days, but to get there a good deal of decorum has been lost in the quality of the players. I have no doubt that Althea Gibson, who I remember well, would be trounced by Serena Williams, but Gibson was ever a lady in her behavior despite a very nasty environment for African-Americans in those days. I don’t miss the societal bigotry of that era, but I do miss the gentility of people towards each other when they participated in competitive sports. The word “sportsmanship” doesn’t seem to have any meaning in the current environment.

    • #4
  5. Stad Coolidge
    Stad
    @Stad

    RushBabe49 (View Comment):
    s it only me, or has professional tennis become incredibly boring?  Rallies only last two or three hits, and the players don’t seem to do any running to get the ball when it’s hit to the other side of the court.

    I used to like women’s tennis because the rallies lasted hit after hit . . .

    • #5
  6. Jerry Giordano (Arizona Patriot) Member
    Jerry Giordano (Arizona Patriot)
    @ArizonaPatriot

    I don’t hate you for saying this.

    • #6
  7. Skyler Coolidge
    Skyler
    @Skyler

    Skyler (View Comment):

    Wow, what a classless essay. Serena Williams might be unlikeable to you, but she has indeed dominated her sport for a very long time. Sharing rumors about her not paying a bill is uncalled for.

    I think this article is reprehensible.

    Also, when you precede your act of rudeness by saying “you’re going to hate me for saying this,” doesn’t get you off the hook for your ill manners. 

    • #7
  8. Jerry Giordano (Arizona Patriot) Member
    Jerry Giordano (Arizona Patriot)
    @ArizonaPatriot

    Skyler (View Comment):

    Skyler (View Comment):

    Wow, what a classless essay. Serena Williams might be unlikeable to you, but she has indeed dominated her sport for a very long time. Sharing rumors about her not paying a bill is uncalled for.

    I think this article is reprehensible.

    Also, when you precede your act of rudeness by saying “you’re going to hate me for saying this,” doesn’t get you off the hook for your ill manners.

    You know, if Williams is of poor character, she shouldn’t get a pass just because she’s been great at her sport.  If anything, a star athlete should endeavor to behave better.

    I don’t know too much about her.  I have seen a small number of actions or statements that I did not like, but didn’t pay very much attention.

    One thing that I seem to recall is her acknowledgment that the men in tennis would beat her, overwhelmingly.  Of course, she didn’t take the next step in this line of thinking, and ask why a tennis player who is not competitive with the best in the world nevertheless gets to make millions of dollars, solely because she is a woman and is sheltered from competition.

    • #8
  9. Skyler Coolidge
    Skyler
    @Skyler

    Jerry Giordano (Arizona Patrio… (View Comment

    .

    If anything, a star athlete should endeavor to behave better.

    Why?

    • #9
  10. kedavis Inactive
    kedavis
    @kedavis

    Skyler (View Comment):

    Jerry Giordano (Arizona Patrio… (View Comment

    .

    If anything, a star athlete should endeavor to behave better.

    Why?

    I seem to remember something from my youth about “role models.”

    • #10
  11. Skyler Coolidge
    Skyler
    @Skyler

    kedavis (View Comment):

    Skyler (View Comment):

    Jerry Giordano (Arizona Patrio… (View Comment

    .

    If anything, a star athlete should endeavor to behave better.

    Why?

    I seem to remember something from my youth about “role models.”

    Again, why?   They aren’t trying to be paragons of virtue, their only goal is to jump higher, run faster, etc.  it is others who inject that role model nonsense.  Babe Ruth was a womanizing, boozing lout but you won’t find many ball players better than him. 

    • #11
  12. kedavis Inactive
    kedavis
    @kedavis

    Skyler (View Comment):

    kedavis (View Comment):

    Skyler (View Comment):

    Jerry Giordano (Arizona Patrio… (View Comment

    .

    If anything, a star athlete should endeavor to behave better.

    Why?

    I seem to remember something from my youth about “role models.”

    Again, why? They aren’t trying to be paragons of virtue, their only goal is to jump higher, run faster, etc. it is others who inject that role model nonsense. Babe Ruth was a womanizing, boozing lout but you won’t find many ball players better than him.

    Such people will always become role models, whether you or I or anyone else thinks they should.  One difference of course is that the present-day media covers them differently.

    • #12
  13. Basil Fawlty Member
    Basil Fawlty
    @BasilFawlty

    Skyler (View Comment):
    Again, why?   They aren’t trying to be paragons of virtue, their only goal is to jump higher, run faster, etc.  

    Then they should just shut up and do it.

    • #13
  14. Zafar Member
    Zafar
    @Zafar

    Richard, my mother watches tennis obsessively, and she would completely agree with you.  Serena is a truly great tennis player but not such a great sportswoman – which is sad.  Winning and losing graciously is important.

    • #14
  15. kedavis Inactive
    kedavis
    @kedavis

    Zafar (View Comment):

    Richard, my mother watches tennis obsessively, and she would completely agree with you. Serena is a truly great female tennis player but not such a great sportswoman – which is sad. Winning and losing graciously is important.

    Added for accuracy.  Accuracy is important.  As someone commented earlier, she would be completely thrashed by even a somewhat-middling male player.

     

    • #15
  16. Skyler Coolidge
    Skyler
    @Skyler

    Zafar (View Comment):

    Richard, my mother watches tennis obsessively, and she would completely agree with you. Serena is a truly great tennis player but not such a great sportswoman – which is sad. Winning and losing graciously is important.

    That’s a legitimate complaint.  Complaining about a rumor that sometime at some restaurant she might have left the bill for an underling to pay or not pay is not a legitimate complaint.  That’s rumor mongering.

    • #16
  17. J Ro Member
    J Ro
    @JRo

    Skyler (View Comment):

    Zafar (View Comment):

    Richard, my mother watches tennis obsessively, and she would completely agree with you. Serena is a truly great tennis player but not such a great sportswoman – which is sad. Winning and losing graciously is important.

    That’s a legitimate complaint. Complaining about a rumor that sometime at some restaurant she might have left the bill for an underling to pay or not pay is not a legitimate complaint. That’s rumor mongering.

    I wouldn’t be surprised that exceedingly wealthy celebrities who may go out attended by personal assistants don’t carry cash or cards or maybe anything. I assume someone takes care of the bill. The obvious question in this hit piece (which I enjoyed reading) is: Does she tip well?

    • #17
  18. J Climacus Member
    J Climacus
    @JClimacus

    RushBabe49 (View Comment):

    Is it only me, or has professional tennis become incredibly boring? Rallies only last two or three hits, and the players don’t seem to do any running to get the ball when it’s hit to the other side of the court. I can’t even watch it anymore.

    I must be spoiled by pro squash.

    Tennis should have controlled racket technology when it started changing around 1980.  Specifically the materials used and the size of the head.  Back then the limited technology allowed a variety of styles to compete that made for interesting matches. Borg was a very different player from McEnroe, and both were different from Connors and Ivan Lendl.  Since then the racket technology has gotten so powerful that there is only one style that can succeed: Big serve, then blast the other guy off the court with groundstrokes from the baseline. Boring.

    • #18
  19. Henry Castaigne Member
    Henry Castaigne
    @HenryCastaigne

    I think you are awesome Richard. I also like Lucifer. I am a bit odd. 

    • #19
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