JUST WHEN YOU THOUGHT YOU COULD TAKE A BREAK

by Karen 

Just when we were all catching up on our collective sleep patterns and trying to earn a living doing the things that allow us to enjoy tennis, here comes news this morning that rocked the tennis world.  



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Reigning World No. 1 Serena Williams announced today via a personal letter penned in TIME magazine that she would be returning to Indian Wells, the site of the infamous racist booing incident that accompanied her match against Kim Clijsters in the final.  I am sure that myself and many others have our own views on this, but in the words of Serena she now knows what true forgiveness really is. 



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As a Christian myself, I know how hard it is to turn the other cheek.  Of all the Christian teachings that I have ever learned as a child growing up, forgiveness is one of the hardest. I don’t believe that it is inherent in man’s nature to forgive, much more to turn the other cheek.  I have always been jealous of people who are able to forgive and forget and seriously move on.  I can really understand therefore why the message of forgiveness in Serena’s message has resonated with me and quite a few other people in the tennisphere. 

As part of our return to Indian Wells, Serena is partnering with OMAZE, a legal advocacy group that helps convicted felons obtain justice.  This is a remarkable initiative and I am sure that the donations will go a far way to easing the burden of many persons who have been unfairly convicted. 

There are many who will try to demean Serena’s return to Indian Wells by talking about money etc., but to those haters I say no one wants to hear your nonsense right about now.  This is a time of renewal and rebuilding.  It is also fitting that Serena would announce her return to Indian Wells while we are celebrating Black History Month and also at a time when women’s tennis is going back to the halycon days when it outpaced the men’s tour by a very wide margin. 



Think I am wrong, the overnight ratings numbers are now out for both the men’s and women’s finals.  The link to Sports Media Watch is here.  This is not the first time and it certainly will not be the last that the women’s event has garnered more mileage than the men.   For the last few Grand Slam tournaments the women’s ratings have far outweighed the men.  Perhaps entities like Tennis Channel should take note of this.  People are not tuning in to see Djokovic and Murray and despite the calls for the end to shrieking, people still got out of bed at 3:00 a.m. in the morning to watch 2 women who shriek, grunt or whatever, play tennis.   

This and That 

There was an article penned by doubles specialist Sania Mirza about the weight of expectations that is placed on the shoulders of young players, especially those who come from traditional tennis playing nations.  

I agree wholeheartedly with Sania’s reflections in the article and it should really be required reading for all tennis federations.  There is without a doubt some amount of undue pressure placed on these young children to perform and not only perform but to perform at their optimum best.  This not only leads to burnout but it also leads to early career threatening injuries, some of which players never recover from.  There is a reason why Venus and Serena have had such long careers.  Apart from the fact that they have paced themselves during their professional careers, but I believe the fact that their family withdrew them from junior tennis, and the fact that both Sisters have taken the route of seeking higher education and becoming involved in so-called outside interests has led to their longevity in tennis. 

One thought on “JUST WHEN YOU THOUGHT YOU COULD TAKE A BREAK

  1. I was looking forward to your response to Serena's decision.

    Have you noticed how in Australia, where fans were once cool to both Serena and Venus that they're treated as conquering heroines now with the fans in the seats to prove it? I don't think either sister missed that change in attitude.

    As for the ratings boost my ex got up at 3a to watch the match. I didn't.
    He was excited he did something tennis related that I didn't.

    I wonder what the ratings would've been if anyone other than Serena was in the final though? Madison vs Pova? Intriguing for us tennis fans but for the random sports fan not so much.

    As for the ATP there are two big draws. The two men who played the final are not them.

    Like

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