serena tunes out

Posted on June 6, 2007


The highly-anticipated quarter-final French Open match between Serena Williams and Justine Henin turned out to be an anti-climax, when Serena broke her supporters’ hearts everywhere by going down in straight sets to Henin (6-4. 6-3).

It’s not so much that Henin beat Serena, it’s more like Serena beat herself, which is the saddest thing of all, for a fan at least.

There were only brief flashes of that brilliance during the 78-minute match, but most of the time, hell, even from the start, Serena just wasn’t there and in the game.

She didn’t fight hard, nor did she seem determined enough.

Why, Serena, why?

Everyone had such high hopes for the amazingly gifted young woman, who surprised all when, against the odds, she won in Australian Open earlier this year, despite not having put in enough practice.

Perhaps that’s when her myth started growing again, the talk built up about her brilliance, athleticism and determination. More importantly, people thought she was back and hungry.

But Paris with clay-court surfaces is a different story from the hard courts in Australia, I suppose.

Funny that Serena said post-match that all Henin had to do in the match was show up. But Serena herself never did.

She would have had to do more than just show up to beat Henin, who’s currently the strongest female clay-court player and has lots going for her – with a messy marriage behind her, being comfortable on the clay-court surface and playing before a supportive crowd (the French are natural Henin supporters as she’s from the French-speaking part of Belgium). And clay-court isn’t exactly Serena’s best surface.

But at least both players were gracious to each other this time. There was no repeat of the 2003 match, when during the semi-final, their game turned ugly as Henin displayed unsportsmanlike behavior and Serena was booed out of court by a partisan crowd.

So, no more Americans in the French Open.

Well, there’s always Wimbledon….

And of course, the Federer- Nadal match, which would make the French Open still fun.