January 27, 2007

Long-shot Serena Williams annihilates #1 Maria Sharapova to win Australian Open.: She started as a 34-1 longshot to win this event, coincidentally the last title she won on Tour (AO '05). Out of shape and will less than five events in the last 12 months, no one expected Serena Williams to compete for this Slam -- much less beat the newly-minted World #1 and US Open queen Maria Sharapova in straight sets. Does this win merely continue the tradition of "wacky" wins, or does it say something about the state of women's tennis today?

posted by somethingotherthan to tennis at 12:23 AM - 22 comments

Serena Williams is obviously not in good physical shape, but then again she wasn't two years ago when she cruised to the title. I'm not so sure her win here means that women's tennis lacks depth so much as it means that Serena has the raw talent. If she ever devoted herself full-time to tennis, she could easily rule the roost just like she did in 2002. She moves from #81 in the world to around #14, I believe, with this win. The WTA doesn't have quality points anymore, and changed the points table for Slams to match the men's. All in all, quite an impressive performance. She's supposedly going to commit herself to tennis this year, so it will be interesting to see how she fits into the mix for the rest of the year.

posted by somethingotherthan at 12:31 AM on January 27, 2007

And predictably, there's some controversy to go with it. Ugh.

posted by cl at 01:25 AM on January 27, 2007

Serena Williams is obviously not in good physical shape She just won another Grand Slam event. Seems like she was in good enough physical shape to me. Sharapova could probably stand to spend a few more hours per week in the gym as well, but she got to the final too. Why focus in on something that is obviously untrue? does it say something about the state of women's tennis today? Mostly, it says that when she's focused and driven, Serena Williams is the best tennis player on the tour. I fail to see anything "wacky" about it. She utterly dominated Sharapova, a two-time Slam winner who is a tough customer even on an off day.

posted by psmealey at 06:07 AM on January 27, 2007

I feel playing serena, would be like playing a man to these other women, she has the strength and power of a man, has to be a battle for these smaller girls..I look forward to seeing serena in tip top shape..woohaa

posted by billyboyy420 at 07:20 AM on January 27, 2007

I don't think this says anything about the state of women's tennis; I think this says something about the state of Serena Williams. She's a bad mamma jamma.

posted by The_Black_Hand at 09:14 AM on January 27, 2007

I agree with Black Hand. She even gave the tennis world a much needed shot in the arm with a little smack talk the other day when she said when she's playing her best, there's no one on the women's tour who can beat her. She obviously speaks the truth.

posted by carolinared at 09:54 AM on January 27, 2007

I should be in obvisously not in good physical shape as Serena Williams. Congrats to her on her win.

posted by steelergirl at 10:11 AM on January 27, 2007

I only saw the highlights, but by the score, it was a pretty thorough whuppin' she put on the anorexic Sharapova. Jus' joking. To me, Serena looked to be in pretty damn good shape, and I think the rest of the ladies in the field would agree...

posted by mjkredliner at 10:56 AM on January 27, 2007

I expected to see comments pro and con to Serena, but eveyone seems to agree with me today. Early in the decade, it looked like she was going to rule the sport. Since then, there's been a slide and people have gotten on her because she's been involved in modeling and clothing lines and general fame. I'm sure all of that had an effect, but I think that personal tragedy and repeated injuries were a bigger part of the picture. It just looked to me like she had her focus back against Sherapova and that she wasn't fighting her own body on top of her opponent this time. Maybe she is still out of shape (but she only needed 15 games to crush Sherapova), but that just means that the rest of the ladies have more to worry about. After all, what's she going to be like if she maintains that focus, avoids injury, and builds up her stamina? There's no certainty, especially about the injury bug, but it's got to be a possibilty that's going to make the rest of the field pretty nervous.

posted by ctal1999 at 11:14 AM on January 27, 2007

Sharapova isn't undistracted either. I can't remember how many times I keep seeing her in those Canon commercials. And she's probably got watch and apparel engagements, too. She's not as distracted as Serena, perhaps, hasn't had injuries of note, and still gets completely dominated. And, remember, Serena had to get through her side of the draw to play Sharapova. In a Grand Slam event, no less. I say BOTH: Serena is a bad mamma jamma AND it's a comment on women's tennis. I haven't been interested in it for a long while, since the days of Graf's dominance. And this is probably the most interesting news since the Williams sisters came on and faded from the scene.

posted by worldcup2002 at 11:26 AM on January 27, 2007

I don't think its the long shot that some people are making of it. I understand that her ranking was something like the lowest in history ever to win a grand slam, but this is mainly because she hardly ever played. Everyone knows that both of the Williams' sisters are incredible talents, all they need to do is stay focused. If she keeps training and playing, I wouldn't be shocked to see her in the top 3 in the world within a short period of time. Congrats on an outstanding accomplishment!

posted by Kendall at 12:09 PM on January 27, 2007

wc2K2, if I may extrapolate, it actually wouldn't be a bad strategy for a marketing-savvy young athlete, especially in a singles sport like tennis: 1. Hit the scene, play well, win majors, make your name a brand; 2. Take time to develop your brand outside of your sport, even if it's done while recuperating from an injury (or during a retirement, a la MJ); 3. Once you become an afterthought, pick your time, storm back, play well, win majors, and continue the evolution from name to brand to legend. Now I can't wait for Venus to let her other shoe drop.

posted by The_Black_Hand at 12:15 PM on January 27, 2007

I wish that I was as out of shape as Serena!

posted by steelerchooks at 12:28 PM on January 27, 2007

I'm with psmealey and Black Hand. Serena may have played herself into shape over the last two weeks, but she got the upper hand early and didn't let up. She was full value for this win, especially against someone with whom she's had an excellent back-and-forth rivalry for the last few years. Great performance. Good on her.

posted by chicobangs at 02:26 PM on January 27, 2007

This win just shows that when the Williams' sisters focus on the game, they have to talent to whoop anyone. It seems that after a few years at the top, they lost their will to compete. Now after hearing for a year or two that they are out of shape etc... Some of the fire has been re-ignited.

posted by yay-yo at 06:18 PM on January 27, 2007

Now I can't wait for Venus to let her other shoe drop. Oh, boy, in a big way. And ya know? I bet the single thing most likely to motivate Venus to come roaring back would be seeing Serena do what she just did. This year's remaining Slams could be taaaasty. Some more links: news article and Serena Unplugged from Tennis; and John Werthem declares, "She's back".

posted by lil_brown_bat at 06:58 PM on January 27, 2007

TBH, I doubt that she planned it that way, but I think she followed where the notoriety and down time from injuries led, and I'd sure be pleased to see it work out that way for her.

posted by ctal1999 at 07:36 PM on January 27, 2007

After watching this match all I can say is WOW! What an athlete she truly is. She looked on this day as if she could have beaten anyone from any era, not bad for an out of shape tennis player.

posted by jknemo at 07:54 PM on January 27, 2007

The Black Hand, that strategy worked well enough for Andre Agassi at various points in his career, so why not? : ) Seriously, a focused Serena is definitely good for women's tennis. That was a tremendous performance. Also, there's a big difference between "unseeded" and "unheralded". Despite her ranking at the start of the tourney, did anyone honestly think there were 80 better players on the WTA Tour? Of course there weren't, just like there aren't 13 better players on the WTA Tour now that she's in the 14th spot. Fitness-wise, I still don't think she's back to where she was in 2002-03, when she won four slams in a row and five out of six, but, as she proved in Australia, she doesn't need to be. Tha alone should scare the heck out of the rest of the ladies on tour. She out-hit, out-played, and out-thought Sharapova, which should scare them all, as well.

posted by oberyn at 09:03 PM on January 27, 2007

Fitness-wise, I still don't think she's back to where she was in 2002-03, when she won four slams in a row and five out of six, but, as she proved in Australia, she doesn't need to be. This is what I meant when I said she obviously wasn't in shape. She's by no means a cow hoofing around, but she's also not exactly in her peak shape, fitness wise. You can never count Serena out, but from the 2005 Australian Open to the 2007 Australian Open, she was barely visible at Slams. She didn't make a single Slam QF in that entire two year span. She lost early at a Tier IV event (Hobart) earlier this year. She struggled mightily in her first two rounds against players she would usually smack off the court. She was a serious longshot, and she knew it, too. It started to feel like a destiny run in my mind when she beat Petrova and Peer in tough three-set matches. After that, it was all gravy for her. Now let's just see if she'll stick with it, or if she fizzles like she did in 2005. Venus has been known to come out of nowhere and win Slams, too.

posted by somethingotherthan at 09:53 PM on January 27, 2007

This is what I meant when I said she obviously wasn't in shape. I don't think that word means what you think it means. ;-)

posted by psmealey at 10:00 AM on January 28, 2007

If Serena Williams is a fat chick, I may have to burn my "no fat chicks" t-shirt. (I kid, I kid. I don't own a No Fat Chicks t-shirt. If I did, though, it'd be in the fireplace.)

posted by rodgerd at 02:54 AM on January 31, 2007

You're not logged in. Please log in or register.