Serena Williams did it again. After a summer in which the 30 year old won the singles and doubles at Wimbledon, won the singles and doubles gold medals at the Summer Olympics, she now has won the U.S. Open. Yesterday she beat the number one ranked Victoria Azarenka in a final that went into three sets, the first one to do so since 1995. This was her 15th Grand Slam title win but, more importantly, after a rocky behavior history at the Open, Serena showed she could keep her cool.
“This is the first year in a long time I haven’t lost my cool,” said Williams, who also lost her temper with the chair umpire in last year’s loss in the final here to Samantha Stosur after being penalized a point for hindering Stosur while shouting during an exchange. Then back in the 2009 semifinals she was angered by a foot-fault call that resulted in a double-fault, setting up match point for her opponent, Kim Clijsters. Williams brandished her racket at the line judge and got docked match point. But yesterday afternoon Williams barely showed a emotion when this match got intense. There was the smallest of hesitations for a second look after a serve was called out at 3-5, 30-15. According to The Boston Herald, when she closed out that game three points later, “she did the quickest of skips — a nearly imperceptible celebration before a calm walk to the chair to get ready for the service break she had to have.”
“A lot of funny things happen to me at this Open,” Serena said. “I think about it a lot when I’m not at the tournament. But every time I step on the court, not once has it crossed my mind: Don’t grunt too loud, in fear of getting a point penalty — even though I don’t grunt that loud. Don’t step on the line – even though I don’t foot-fault. Don’t hit the balls too close to the lines – in case they call it out. Like in Cincinnati, I thought, Serena, don’t go crazy this year...But once I got here, every match, it just disappears — which is good.”
“I’m just happy that she got through this one without any incident and was able to try to forget all that in the past,” said her mom, Oracene Price. “Because I think that was a lot in her mind.Not losing her cool and going crazy and getting thrown out: I think it was more important than winning because how many times has it happened here? It’s much more important that she has a stable mind. It had to be clear. You can’t lose control.”
“Obviously, I never give up,” Williams said. “I never, never quit. I’ve come back so many times in so many matches. I wasn’t too nervous.”
With this win she became the first woman to win Wimbledon and the U.S. Open in the same season since 2002, which is when she last did it. Serena also moved three Grand Slam titles away from a tie for fourth on the all-time list with Martina Navratilova and Chris Evert. But if you think there is any question of Williams slowing down at the old tennis age of 30, you are wrong. “Even though I’m 30, I feel so young,” Williams said. “I’ve never felt as fit and more excited and more hungry.”
Photo: HRC/ WENN.com