By Jane Voigt
Serena Williams has finally won a slam this year and it’s a big one … the U. S. Open. It was her first Grand Slam title in 1999 and now today, it is her 6th in New York and 18th overall. The distinction ties her with the number also won by Chris Evert and Martina Navratilova.
“I never thought me, Serena Williams, would join that group,” Williams told CBS on court. And in a loving touch, she waved to the camera, saying, “Hey Dad.” Richard Williams was not present to see his daughter’s dominating performance today, but was her earliest coach and continued inspiration throughout her storied career.
For her efforts Williams earned $4 million, three for winning the singles champion’s title, and $1 million for winning The U. S. Open Series.
Serena did not drop a set throughout the tournament and won the final, 63 63.
“Congratulations,” Wozniacki said. “You’re an unbelievable champion and friend. You definitely owe drinks later.”
Both players started nervously. It reminded some fans of early matches between the sisters, Venus and Serena. There were lots of unforced errors and breaks of serve. In the first set alone, 5 breaks were recorded.
Once Serena tucked the first set under her wing, she rolled. The chances of Wozniacki turning around the match were slim, too. When Williams wins the first set at a slam, she is 74-1 for the match.
When the last ball was struck Williams flopped onto her back, as if she’d fainted. Her reactions were initially more subdued and humble than in years past, especially last year when she leapt about as high as the back walls of the stadium. But this year, her restraint was in recognition of her poor record in the first three Majors of the year. She lost in the 4th round at the Australian Open, the second round of Roland Garros, and the third round of Wimbledon. Each were crushing defeats for the legend.
“Really a wonderful feeling,” Serena said about her win on Arthur Ashe. “Thank you Jehovah god. I couldn’t have gotten here without you. Congratulations to Caroline, as well. Great person, and nice friend. I have to be ready for you in Australia.”
The power and heaviness of Williams’ shots practically knocked over Wozniacki in a couple rallies. Because the Dane’s first serve percentage was spotty Williams teed off on the second serves, which registered as low as 80 M.P.H. Wozniacki faced a break point in each of the first 12 games of the match. She scored four winners for the entire final, three were aces.
That’s what Serena does.
Chris Evert and Martina Navratilova surprised Serena when they came on court, during the awards’ presentation. They presented Serena with an 18-carat gold bracelet from Tiffany & Co., in recognition of the achievement.
Down The Tee congratulates Serena Williams on her victory today, and on the enormous contributions she has given the game of tennis. She is a champion for our sport, women of color, and for women world wide who may or may not play tennis.