When Willie Mays said goodbye to America 49 years ago, it was time. But that’s not the case with Serena Williams.
Tomorrow will have to wait.
It was about tennis, not hagiography in the Ashe spotlight on Wednesday, but when it comes to this 40-year-old American icon, it’s often a distinction without difference.
And when it comes to tennis, no one has done better.
On Wednesday, no one did it better than Williams in her stunning 7-6(4), 2-6, 6-2 triumph over Anett Kontaveit – the second-ranked woman in the world and the tournament’s second seed – in a Dramatic match Serena seemed to roll back time.
She was sharp and sure and fast. Yes, quick in her movements and light on her feet in the third set in which she beat her Estonian opponent three times with a crisp shot, equally crisp decision-making and a light step.
It was a match that was very uncertain after the second set, in which Williams was broken three times. But Serena turned around – what’s that word? – story his way into the third with a dominating performance that came out of nowhere.
Well, if you don’t count the last 23 years in which she won 23 Grand Slams, of course.
“Well…I’m a really good player,” Williams told ESPN’s Mary Jo Fernandez on the court immediately after the game.
This is Serena’s playground, no doubt. The USTA does not claim otherwise with its match presentation. After Kontaviet was introduced and took her place on the court, a montage of Williams’ career on the scoreboard preceded her presentation. Maybe Timmy Trumpet will accompany her entry next time.
And the crowd? Well, every break point sounded like Jacob deGrom had two strikes on a batter.
“It’s totally about her,” said Kontaveit, 26, who showed outward poise even as her every misstep was cheered on. “I was fully aware of that. I knew it was going to happen, but when I was on the pitch it was tough. It was hard.
“[But] it’s just. She deserves it.
Kontaveit didn’t crumble, even though her game got smaller and smaller. Williams crushed the winners. She seemed to touch almost everything. She rediscovered the wave she had been riding until her first-set tie-break win and just rode it.
In fact, Serena’s tennis evolved in the third set. He did so through this strange mix of competition and celebration.
“The experience was really good,” she said of the surroundings and the embrace she received. “I think you can only have this experience once in your life, that’s for sure.”
Williams said she was trying to find the balance between embracing this celebration of herself and getting ready for her matches. Next Friday, Croatian Alja Tomljanovic, 46th in the standings.
“I did a bit of both,” she says. “I think I mostly blocked everything, but at the same time I took advantage of it a bit, because I want to enjoy the moment.
“These moments are clearly fleeting. For me, it’s really about having a little hug, but also understanding that I’m here to focus and do my best this time.
The No. 2 seed is out. The same goes for the third, seventh, 10th, 11th, 14th and 16th seeds in the first two rounds of this tournament. It’s not like the seas have parted for Serena – who knows, maybe it will happen this weekend as it is – but still.
Williams said she is not focused on her ability to win this championship. She’s moving one step at a time and one game at a time, though she’ll be on court Thursday night to play doubles with her sister, Venus.
And do your best to enjoy and appreciate this unique journey.
“It’s this weird mix of embracing and staying focused. I’m just trying to figure out what percentage of each,” said Williams, who also told Fernandez on the court that she felt like she didn’t. had nothing to lose. “I feel like I’ve had a big red ‘X’ on my back since winning the US Open in 1999.
“I feel like he’s been there my whole career. But it’s different. I feel like I’ve already won, figuratively, mentally. It’s just pretty awesome, the things I’ve done. Tonight, I was like, ‘Serena, you’ve already won, play. Be Serena. ”
On Wednesday, she was Serena. She will need to win five more matches to claim the title. It looks like an inaccessible star.
But what are dreams if not impossible. And what’s impossible when it comes to Serena?
New York Post