Serena Williams seems to appreciate winning titles since coming back from injury.
Serena Williams seems to appreciate winning titles since coming back from injury.

The fall and rise of maturing Serena Williams



Serena Williams spent a few moments reflecting on her great but tumultuous career after her stirring win over Victoria Azarenka, the first US Open women's final in 17 years to be decided in three sets.

"I really think a champion is defined not by their wins but by how they can recover when they fall," she said.

"I have fallen several times. Each time I just get up and dust myself off and I pray, and I'm able to do better or I'm able to get back to the level that I want to be on.

"For me, you see great people like Muhammad Ali, for instance, who is a complete person I have always looked up to in sports. He went to jail for so long and he came back as a champion again. So ... that really defines a champion."

By her own definition then, and indeed by a near unanimous vote, Williams is one of the greatest champions this sport has seen, male or female. There are still a few greats who have more grand slam singles trophies at home than Williams (15 and counting).

Margaret Court (24) is nine ahead of her on the all-time grand slam leader board; Steffi Graf (22), Helen Wills (19), Martina Navratilova (18) and Chris Evert (18) are above her as well. But have they, barring Navratilova perhaps, faced the kind of challenges that Serena has?

Making her first appearance at a professional event in 1995 at the age of 13, Williams has seen it all.

She has experienced the howls of "home" fans at tournaments in the US and the murder of a sister.

There have been plenty of controversies and injuries along the way.

And the question of race has been present right through.

"Because we'd play against [Kim] Clijsters or whoever else, and all these people weren't ready for us to win or they were rooting against us," Serena said on Friday. "It was always strange to me.

"You never know the reasons: because we're black in a white sport? I don't know. But we're the first African-Americans to really dominate in this sport and you can't expect everything to be perfect and whoo-whoo! - like, everyone to be so accepting so fast.

"Maybe things have to grow."

There has been a welcome change on that front this year. Fans at the Arthur Ashe Stadium have stood firmly behind Williams and her older sister, Venus. "The first time I've ever played here that the crowd has been behind me like that," Venus said after her second round loss. "Today I felt American for the first time at the US Open."

The lack of support did not stop the two sisters from winning.

Health and motivation have been the bigger problems in recent times. Eighteen months ago, Serena was diagnosed with a life-threatening pulmonary embolism and subsequently haematoma.

She had earlier missed the second half of 2010 after stepping on broken glass at a restaurant in Munich.

Venus too is battling to overcome Sjogren's syndrome, which causes sever fatigue.

Serena returned to the tour almost a year later, but few thought she would ever reach these stratospheric heights again. The turning point was her first-round loss at the French Open, her earliest loss at a grand slam.

"It's like I gave her a big slap," said France's Virginie Razzano, who defeated Serena in Paris. "I saw her at Wimbledon, and she gave me a very dark look. "Then I saw her again here, and you know what? She's still bitter. Either she drops her eyes, or she looks at me, and the look basically says, 'I can't wait to play you again, and this time I will take my revenge'."

If her performance since Paris is an indication, that defeat has certainly jolted Williams out of her comfort zone.

She has won the Wimbledon and US Open titles and the Olympic singles gold since.

"As much as I hate to lose, sometimes it's good for my game and my motivation," Williams said. "So I think, for sure, that loss helped me. I have never been so miserable after a loss."

According to Billie Jean King, a former tennis star who often counsels Serena, there are other reasons as well. "I think she's very appreciative of her good health now with what she went through and also what her sister is going through," King said.

"And she is maturing as a person, and you start to appreciate things in a different way as you grow."

Williams is certainly loving her tennis at the moment and has no plans to retire any time soon, although she turns 31 later this month.

"Even though I'm 30, I feel so young," she said.

"I've never felt as fit and more excited and more hungry. With Andy [Roddick] gone and Kim [Clijsters] leaving, it made me feel like I need to stay. For the game. For this generation. I'm healthy. I'm fine. I'm playing pretty good. Why not?"

Blue Beetle

Director: Angel Manuel Soto
Stars: Xolo Mariduena, Adriana Barraza, Damian Alcazar, Raoul Max Trujillo, Susan Sarandon, George Lopez
Rating: 4/5 

ASSASSIN'S CREED MIRAGE

Developer: Ubisoft Bordeaux
Publisher: Ubisoft
Consoles: PlayStation 4&5, PC and Xbox Series S&X
Rating: 3.5/5

MO

Creators: Mohammed Amer, Ramy Youssef

Stars: Mohammed Amer, Teresa Ruiz, Omar Elba

Rating: 4/5

Despacito's dominance in numbers

Released: 2017

Peak chart position: No.1 in more than 47 countries, including the United States, the United Kingdom, Australia and Lebanon

Views: 5.3 billion on YouTube

Sales: With 10 million downloads in the US, Despacito became the first Latin single to receive Diamond sales certification

Streams: 1.3 billion combined audio and video by the end of 2017, making it the biggest digital hit of the year.

Awards: 17, including Record of the Year at last year’s prestigious Latin Grammy Awards, as well as five Billboard Music Awards

The BaaS ecosystem

The BaaS value chain consists of four key players:

Consumers: End-users of the financial product delivered

Distributors: Also known as embedders, these are the firms that embed baking services directly into their existing customer journeys

Enablers: Usually Big Tech or FinTech companies that help embed financial services into third-party platforms

Providers: Financial institutions holding a banking licence and offering regulated products

North Pole stats

Distance covered: 160km

Temperature: -40°C

Weight of equipment: 45kg

Altitude (metres above sea level): 0

Terrain: Ice rock

South Pole stats

Distance covered: 130km

Temperature: -50°C

Weight of equipment: 50kg

Altitude (metres above sea level): 3,300

Terrain: Flat ice
 

COMPANY PROFILE

Company name: Almouneer
Started: 2017
Founders: Dr Noha Khater and Rania Kadry
Based: Egypt
Number of staff: 120
Investment: Bootstrapped, with support from Insead and Egyptian government, seed round of
$3.6 million led by Global Ventures

Sarfira

Director: Sudha Kongara Prasad

Starring: Akshay Kumar, Radhika Madan, Paresh Rawal

Rating: 2/5

Greatest Royal Rumble results

John Cena pinned Triple H in a singles match

Cedric Alexander retained the WWE Cruiserweight title against Kalisto

Matt Hardy and Bray Wyatt win the Raw Tag Team titles against Cesaro and Sheamus

Jeff Hardy retained the United States title against Jinder Mahal

Bludgeon Brothers retain the SmackDown Tag Team titles against the Usos

Seth Rollins retains the Intercontinental title against The Miz, Finn Balor and Samoa Joe

AJ Styles remains WWE World Heavyweight champion after he and Shinsuke Nakamura are both counted out

The Undertaker beats Rusev in a casket match

Brock Lesnar retains the WWE Universal title against Roman Reigns in a steel cage match

Braun Strowman won the 50-man Royal Rumble by eliminating Big Cass last

The specs

Engine: 6.5-litre V12 and three electric motors
Power: 1,015hp
Torque: 1,500Nm (estimate)
Transmission: Eight-speed dual-clutch auto
On sale: Early 2024
Price: From Dh2 million (estimate)

COMPANY PROFILE

Name: N2 Technology

Founded: 2018

Based: Dubai, UAE

Sector: Startups

Size: 14

Funding: $1.7m from HNIs

The specs: 2018 Chevrolet Trailblazer

Price, base / as tested Dh99,000 / Dh132,000

Engine 3.6L V6

Transmission: Six-speed automatic

Power 275hp @ 6,000rpm

Torque 350Nm @ 3,700rpm

Fuel economy combined 12.2L / 100km

Like a Fading Shadow

Antonio Muñoz Molina

Translated from the Spanish by Camilo A. Ramirez

Tuskar Rock Press (pp. 310)

Confirmed bouts (more to be added)

Cory Sandhagen v Umar Nurmagomedov
Nick Diaz v Vicente Luque
Michael Chiesa v Tony Ferguson
Deiveson Figueiredo v Marlon Vera
Mackenzie Dern v Loopy Godinez

Tickets for the August 3 Fight Night, held in partnership with the Department of Culture and Tourism Abu Dhabi, went on sale earlier this month, through www.etihadarena.ae and www.ticketmaster.ae.


Latest
Most Read
Top Videos