Thursday, October 30, 2014

Top of the heap

Before I get into how great Serena Williams is, let's give the WTA a huge big-ups for FINALLY reworking the WTA Championships doubles draw. It's not perfect. "Perfect" is the way the men do it with a round-robin for doubles as well as singles. But it was a giant step for womankind to expand the draw from four to eight teams. See, that right there is a tournament, OK? And how about Sania Mirza and Cara Black bringing home the trophy? What an interesting team -- built basically around Mirza dictating play with her forehand and Black just cleaning up on Aisle Loser. Very impressive stuff. Now, about Serena Williams. No, she is not an elegant player. She's not even the most brilliant and creative player. Yes, her thigh has more strength in it than my entire body. But this is not what will cause her to go down as the greatest female ever. Some years ago, after, oh, about eight years of playing tennis, it occurred to me that tennis is mostly mental. Like 97.9998992 percent mental. You can have all the pieces, but if your head isn't right, then your game isn't right. And when I say "right," I'm not sure what's right, because I'm almost completely certain that my head's not right most of the time. And I sure don't know what Serena is thinking when she plays, but we can agree that her mind is the rightest thing about her entire game. Sure, she has her hiccups as she did in the round-robin against Simona Halep, but when was the last time you said to yourself, "She's never gonna beat me again," and then was able to make that happen? Did anyone else see what she did to Halep in the final? That was not a brutal show of power or excellent shotmaking. That was Serena's head being right. She had a plan (WIN!!!!), and she executed. Makes you realize that when someone says "It's all in your head," it ain't always pie-in-the-sky.

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