In losing IT Down Under, Dear Serena, do not lose more than a return to World’s Number One – Tola Adenle

January 23, 2013



Dear Serena,

This comes from perhaps one of your biggest fans who has followed your well-earned and fought-for ascendancy to the top, and a tennis fan who appreciates what your older sister, Venus, yourself and your dad & mom have contributed to the game of tennis.

Agreed, you did have a particularly-nasty time of the two weeks at Melbourne Park – twisted ankle and the injured back – but as even non-athletes know, the twists, pivots, jumps, etcetera that come easily at 19, at 25 or even at 28 become tenuous and even unnatural in the 30s.   That ankle twist in your first match of the Aussie Open would not have happened ten years ago, and even if it did, you would have been up and running as if it never happened the next day.   You know it more than most and I’m sure, that THAT body, no matter how much punishing regime of training and workout it gets from now, is going to refuse to do your bidding more and more.  You’d better listen to your body and from now, take it a match – not a tournament – at a time in preparation for the day you’ll bow out after what has been a great career.

SLOANE STEPHENSreutersSloane Stephens – Reuters

Breaking rackets and generally behaving like overgrown babies have become expected of tennis stars but your behavior to your racket during the quarter final loss to Sloane, a girl who overcame her idolizing of you as she must if she would join the game’s greats, was most unbecoming and very painful to watch.  Of course we all know the racket abuse and the usual blame-myself was before Sloane got to the verge of victory.

Listen, kid, your father showed the world that parents do not need to go into debt to send kids to fancy tennis academies – great as those institutions are – to become champions.  Personally – and I’ve also mentioned this in earlier writings about you – an academy would not have gotten Venus and you to the top of the game as it would not have given you the confidence you needed to face anybody and everybody without fear.  The Russian Invasion of the game these last several years owes a lot to the pioneering DIY that your father, aided by your mom, put you and Venus through.   I’ve suggested also  in earlier essays my opinion that your confidence  – Venus and you – IS deeply-rooted in this tennis “home schooling”.

Women Tennis (The WTA) lives because America that once dominated the sports by producing most leading players, has a new face in Sloane Stephens, and  she should be a worthy successor to you, Venus and all the way down through Chris Evert, Billie Jean, Althea Gibson, etcetera.

Your joy should be boundless.


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