Serena lifts us up again… big time
BY KOSSI GBEDIGA
By winning once again four consecutive Grand Slam titles this year, twelve years after she first did so, tennis superstar Serena Williams is already being dubbed “the greatest woman to have ever played the game.” The praise followed her 6-4, 6-4 win over Spain’s 21-year-old Garbiñe Muguruza, today in the Wimbledon women’s final. With this her 21st Grand Slam title—her sixth at Wimbledom—Serena sits a shy one major trophy behind Steffi Graf’s records of 22.
Serena’s victory today over the much younger Muguruza is a beautiful addition to her win of the U.S. Open last year, followed by her victories at the Australian and French opens to start 2015. And she is not done.
Tennis lovers and millions of Serena’s fans were not the only ones excited by her victory. In a tv interview right after her victory, the mega athlete said: “I’m just really excited about it because I didn’t want to talk about the Serena Slam. I honestly wouldn’t have thought last year after winning the U.S. Open I would win the Serena Slam at all.”
Asked in an ESPN interview relayed by abc what athlete she admires the most outside tennis, Serena replied “Muhammad Ali.”
Yeah, Ali the greatest, that key member of the extensive family of black champions that has lifted us time and time again, a family so large one can only list a few: Arthur Ashe, Michael Jordan, LeBron James, Ryan Howard, Richard Sherman, Hussein Bolt, Tiger Woods, Samuel Et’o and so many others.
The young generation may not know that just a few decades ago, as John H. Johnson reminded us, “In 1942 ‘experts said with a straight face that something in our genes made it impossible for us to play major-league baseball and basketball.’” The claim was obviously false back then, but, boy, have we come a long way.
And to see Serena carrying the precious trophy on her head and walking hands-free in perfect balance, one can’t help thinking of an African woman carrying goods on her head on her way from, or to, the marketplace. It’s so true history never lies, so true culture is a powerful thing.