Serena Williams, the last return



The decor seems ideal. In New York, where she crunched her first Grand Slam title, Serena Williams should bow out after the US Open, which will take place from August 29 to September 11. In early August, the soon-to-be 41-year-old American announced to the magazine vogue that the countdown to when she would turn her back on the world of tennis was ” triggered “, without setting a precise date, and that she would soon concentrate ” on (s)we role of mom » or his “spiritual goals”.

In 1999, the public at the Arthur-Ashe stadium had discovered a new style of play with the teenager, a combination of technique and power. Twenty-three years, 22 more cups lifted in Majors, 14 in doubles and 4 Olympic gold medals later, he will celebrate in the coming days the release of a legend of the little yellow ball.

The draw spared her a seed for her first round, which she will play on the night of Monday to Tuesday August 30 against Montenegrin Danka Kovinic (80th player in the world) thanks to the invitation of the organizers. But the chances of the American lifting a seventh trophy at Flushing Meadows have never looked so slim.

After seeing her lose momentum when she entered the competition at the last Wimbledon Grand Slam for her return to competition after a year’s absence, her supporters are now only dreaming of a breakthrough. in the second week. Forced to store her racquets several times in recent years, due to injuries or pregnancy, the player has logically failed in 413th place in the world. Despite four other Major finals since the birth of her daughter five years ago, the youngest of the Williams sisters has failed to add to her list of achievements.

“Next to Muhammad Ali and Michael Jordan. That’s where she is. »

At a length of the absolute record of Margaret Court (24), hers remains, by far, the most substantial of the modern women’s circuit. The player could see coming, she who had never had an equal since taking power in the early 2000s. (It’s here) greatest player of all timerecently reaffirmed his compatriot and former player John McEnroe, at the microphone of ESPN. She placed herself in the pantheon, alongside the (…) Mohamed Ali (Where) Michael Jordan. That’s where she is. She has become the icon of icons. »

An aura continues to surround the champion, although the right-hander is struggling to develop her game, as in her loss to Belinda Bencic in Toronto in early August. “It’s Serena…it’s hard to (…) put all that aside and just focus on the game. I felt like I didn’t know how to play, felt paralyzed.” had testified the Swiss. The 40-year-old has inspired more than a generation of players in the United States, from Sloane Stephens to Naomi Osaka via Coco Gauff, recent finalist at Roland-Garros, not to mention the vocations she has given birth to among men, to the image of Frances Tiafoe, and beyond borders.

“Tennis will lose what society will gain”

“Woman in a Man’s World” », “black in a white world”, the player also draws part of her image from her anti-sexist and anti-racist discourse outside the courts, notes sociologist Béatrice Barbusse, author of the book sexism in sport. Outside the seraglio of tennis after growing up in an underprivileged suburb of Los Angeles, she peppers, in her own way and without vehemence, the always very smooth professional circuit with her positions against wage inequalities. By relying, too, on the legacy left before her by pioneers Althea Gibson and Billie Jean King.

“This anger in the face of injustice and mockery, it motivated her and made her even more pugnaciousexplains Béatrice Barbusse. It is the sportswoman who has fought against clichés with the most intelligence, especially during her poses for the front pages of magazines where without saying a word, she expresses everything, able to dress according to the classic codes of femininity while showing his muscles, shapes and skin color. »

“Serena accepts who she is, abounded last year Patrick Mouratoglou, his French trainer for a decade, in the columns of The Magazine Team.For example, she sings like a foot and that does not prevent her from posting videos of her at the karaoke where she sings completely out of tune. She does not care. Women weren’t allowed to be so confident before her. She opened doors. » Her status as the highest-paid sportswoman of all, like her ability to flow from the media sphere to the world of entrepreneurship, journalist Natasha Henry recently said in an editorial for the Guardianthat“when Serena Williams retires, tennis will lose what society will gain”.

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Novak Djokovic forced to forfeit the US Open

Still not vaccinated against Covid-19, Serbian Novak Djokovic did not obtain the waiver which would have authorized him to enter American soil. The triple winner of the US Open, finalist last year, therefore forfeited just days before the last Grand Slam of the season in New York (August 29 to September 11). He had already had to do so at the Australian Open in January – expelled this time from the territory – before being able to line up at Roland-Garros in May, then to win Wimbledon in London at the start of the summer. .

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