With a 124 mph serve, it was all over but the shouting.
Last Saturday, Venus Williams won her fourth Wimbledon title defeating Marion Bartoli of France. The once injury-sidelined Williams was the lowest ranked woman to ever win the tournament. And sistah was playing with a strained adductor muscle.
Venus’ source of strength and inspiration was her sister Serena who, unseeded, won the Australian Open in January.
The victories were especially sweet for the Williams sisters who have had their share of challenges of late: the tragic murder of sister, Yetunde, their parent’s divorce and the injuries. Those in the tennis world and beyond believed the Williams’ best days were behind them.
They were so very wrong.
The Williams sisters are the come from behind queens, who when healthy, beat their opponents like they stole something and make athletes like Tiger Woods look like punks.
Yes, you heard correctly. The comparison is a legitimate one.
During the telecast of the U.S. Open golf tournament in June, commentators constantly remarked that Woods, who was in second place on the final day, had never come from behind to win a major tournament.
What you talking about Willis?
Yes, the greatest golfer of all time, my man Tiger, the Pretty Ricky of the golf world, chokes in the clutch. And true to form, he choked on that day missing several putts and landing a few drives in the rough. I saw it with my own eyes and it was a disgraceful mess. Okay, his wife was moments away from giving birth. Good excuse for the screw up this time. But what happened in all of the other tournaments?
Before he ever won a major, Woods was loved and already deemed a golf great. Even his father, Earl Woods looked upon as genius from the start.
In contrast, Richard Williams, father of Serena and Venus, was painted as an outspoken buffoon, who was thought to be impeding his daughters’ progress. It was only after the Williams sisters won a few Grand Slams that Papa Williams get a modicum of the respect that he so rightly deserved for having produced two tennis phenoms.
And like their father and unlike Woods, the Williams sisters, who were treated like roughneck upstarts, had to earn their sport’s respect one point, one game, one match at a time.
Golf can survive without Tiger but it’s questionable if U.S. Women’s Tennis can survive without the Williams. Even their mother lamented about the lack of talent coming through the pipeline and Venus and Serena, at 27 and 25 respectively, are becoming the elder stateswomen of the game.
It warmed my heart to hear that for the first time that the Wimbledon women would receive equal prize money. During the awards ceremony, Venus thanked Billie Jean King for her trailblazing efforts which made the historic change possible. But sistah had herself to thank as well.
Two years ago, Venus “told a room full of Grand Slam executives, ‘Close your eyes, imagine your daughter is being less than equal'” Today, she is the spokesperson for the Tour’s new partnership with Unesco to promote gender equity.
So, who gets my vote for this era’s G.O.A.T — the Greatest of All Time?
This prognostication may be a bit premature, but my vote goes to the Williams Sisters — who by swinging for the rafters and reaching for the stars have proven to be their own course in miracles.