At half past ten at night, English time, fans rub their eyes, put their hands on their heads and reflect as they evacuate through the vomitoriums of the center court: Could this be the last parade of Serena Williams for Cathedral?
The 40-year-old American has just lost against the French Harmony Tan (7-5, 1-6 and 7-6 (7) and closed an evening with the aroma of farewell. She knows that the fuse is exhausted, that the possibilities of reaching the historical record of Margaret Court, the 24 greats, are increasingly remote and that the erosion of age and the accumulated mileage are accentuated more every day.The North American takes oxygen and carries the racket bag on her shoulder; processes and tries to concede normality to a distressing situation that is repeated and that speaks of the end of an era.
London, a year later. He left last year injured, with a broken hamstring – back of the knee – and when only six games had passed in the first round. Now the loop continues, but the pain may be greater. The myths of the racket, and she is one of them, usually have a hard time stepping aside, unless they are called Björn Borg or rare exceptions. Williams rebels, but it is not enough. She hadn’t played for a whole year and, seen, it seems utopian to think that later she can reach the Eden that she has wanted since she premiered motherhood (2017) and interrupted her career.
He was very close, just one step away, but those four finals flew by – two at Wimbledon and another two in New York, the four between 2018 and 2019 – and the coronavirus break squandered much of the credit he had left. The clock ticks and the options disappear.
“Yes, it has been very hard,” he replies to the moderator who distributes the speaking time at Wimbledon. “I’ve had a few chances to win the first set, you know, but it didn’t work out, so…”, she continues as she scans all the journalists who are waiting for their answers in the conference room at that hour. .
– Do you think this could have been your last game here?
– That is a question I cannot answer. I feel like, you know, I don’t know… Who knows where I’m going to be.
Williams says that physically he has felt good, although he considers that with one more point of filming he could have discussed the victory more with his rival. A year ago it was an injury, but this time the cause is purely tennis. On his shirt you can read a message that invites you to transform the game (Be the Change Gamer) and a journalist asks her how she has contributed to the evolution of her sport.
“You just don’t have to be afraid to be different. Do not be afraid to stand out. Yes, that’s how I have been. I love to change the game. It’s something I didn’t set out to do, but somehow I did. I’m Serena, and that’s pretty impressive”, she expresses before assuring that she has “tons of motivation” to get to the US Open in good condition and parsimoniously get up to the starting gate.
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