On Saturday, September 6, 2019, at the end of the women’s tennis tournament, I thought I was disappointed about Serena not being the Champion of the 2019 U.S. Open. After further reflection, I realized her loss was not the issue—I’ve seen her lose championships before. I then realized I was really pissed at the naysayers calling for Serena to retire; and the British media that was again trying to troll Duchess Meghan for being Serena’s good friend with some inane article to infer Serena’s recent grand slam losses were due to Duchess Meghan’s presence. What a bunch of crock!
First of all, I am a LONG-TIME Serena & Venus Fan!
I was watching them when they first came onto the women’s tennis scene as teens, having a father with the good sense to keep his beautiful Black daughters out of the Junior Tennis Association where their moxie and self-esteem would have been decimated in the racist environment of what we now call the “mean girls.” So the William Sisters bust on the tennis scene as the two indomitable sisters who turned the Women’s Tennis Association on its head. This was at a time that, with the exception of Arthur Ashe and Althea Gibson, one almost NEVER saw black tennis players at the professional level. Back then, tennis was still a white-only elitist game.
Then Venus, and next Serena, showed up. Black, beautiful young girls with cornrows and clacking white beads in their hair, with a serve that wouldn’t quit, and power the likes of which the tennis world had never seen — even from the modern era’s greats like Martina Hingis, Lindsey Davenport, Steffi Graf, Monica Seles, Martina Navratilova, or Chris Everett.
As for present-day 2019, Serena has been playing professionally since she was a young teen for more than 20 years: in front of parents, her siblings, her husband, coaches, friends, royalty, haters, supporters, celebrities – you name it. Duchess Meghan is her friend, and I’m sure Serena appreciates her support in being present regardless of the envy, vicious racial hatred and untruths that have been perpetrated against them both. But Duchess Meghan being at Serena’s grand slam championships hasn’t been any different than Serena playing before any other greats, such as the legendary Billie Jean King.
In the early years, Serena was jeered more than cheered when she walked onto the court. “What right did she have to be there?” was the question; (just as many feel about Duchess Meghan in the British Royal Family today). Yet, Serena shook it off, as our Duchess does, and she didn’t give up. Even more, she learned when she lost and trained harder until there were more wins than losses. That shut up a lot of critics (are you reading this John McEnroe?) And eventually the Duchess of Sussex will shut up the racist British press and their entitled Royal Reporters.
So hell yes – I’m sick and disgusted with a racist press slamming both Serena and Duchess Meghan and who attempt, at every opportunity, to blame “something” negative on these two outstanding women of color. Now I’ll admit, I try not to get provoked by such things: having experienced discrimination and racism for most of my life, like so many other minorities. However, the British press and most of their entitled Royal Reporters…..well, they’re a whole different beast, showcasing literary bigotry against those who don’t fit their racist agenda. There’s a side of journalism and literary license that can only be termed as abominable. Even many of their so-called modern Royal biographies are no better than gossip and trash tabloid articles with no inherent literary worth.
It’s unfortunate that an entire nation can be held hostage, misguided, and influenced by a press that has little to no journalistic integrity. What is even worse is the lack of oversight from a constitutional monarchy and democratic parliament that are too apathetic and “in bed” with the press to demand true, ethical journalism. This type of reporting is normally considered liable for defamation and character assassination in any civilized country other than the United Kingdom and dictatorial regimes.
Thus, I wasn’t surprised to see articles from the UK’s The Mirror, Daily Express, The Sun and so on, claiming Duchess Meghan adversely affected Serena’s US Open performance. With 23,000 people jammed in that stadium, Duchess Meghan must have had a zen-like electrifying and otherworldly presence to be the “only” person singled out to affect the match; how predictable and gauche of the British press, as usual. The bottom line is the press behavior toward this bi-racial, attractive, intelligent, motivating, and hard-working Duchess is ridiculous. Duchess Meghan has enough on her being a positive force for change in the UK and Commonwealth (as well as a loving wife and mother) without the British press continuing to vomit racist, spurious lies and innuendos with no facts. Of course, when you’re not held accountable, corruption reigns and ignorance thrives.
So kudos to the Canadian teen who won the US Open: but it still remains that as talented as she is, she had nothing to lose. Just making it to the finals was the highlight of her career, thus far, while Serena Williams had enormous pressure and stress. Like some, I wish she had worn her “cat suit” as an emotional boost; but at almost 38, Serena made her fashion choice and walked onto the court with the expectations of all the Americans present, the historical significance of the event, and her own high expectations for herself. That’s a lot of weight on one person’s shoulders to overcome against an opponent who is admittedly good, but is still not at the level of Serena when she is playing her best.
By the way, when Serena married her husband, Alexis Ohanian, Serena was worth an estimated $180 million and he was worth $9 million. It’s not about the money for her. It’s her life goals and drive to be the best in “her” mind, and eventually she will do it. Also, to be perfectly honest, the only one good enough to beat Serena right now is Serena herself when she’s not playing up to her potential. Unfortunately, the 2019 US Open Championships was far from her best. Yet, in her long career, such setbacks have happened before, and she’s bounced back; not by always winning, but always trying.
For the couch-potato critics out there who’ve suggested that she should now retire without reaching her personal goal and who have never confronted overwhelming pressure in the face of world-wide public scrutiny (like Serena Williams and Duchess Meghan), do yourself a favor and stuff a sock in it, literally. Retirement isn’t for someone who’s made it to three grand slams by continuing to beat all the other competitors to get to the finals, such as Sharapova in the first round. For Serena Williams, that’s akin to just giving up on a life-time dream; and unless injuries, health, or some other crisis occurs, why should she retire her dream?
In the end, mentally, Serena has to climb this hump on her own. No one can do it for her. It’s always been that way for Serena’s entire career. It was like that when she was a teen first learning to close out the last match of her first grand slam title. It didn’t happen over night, even though she was beating all the other competitors to get to those early finals. I’ve seen Serena lose repeatedly, pick herself up, come back and win. It’s not how many times we fall down, it’s how many times we stand back up. And Serena Williams and Duchess Meghan STAND!
So this author, who proudly admits is a super Serena and Duchess Meghan fan, is willing to continue to support Serena’s bid to reach the next grand slam championship if it takes her the next 4 grand slams (Australian; French; Wimbledon; and US) in 2020 and beyond. Why??? Because that’s what real champions do, such as Serena Williams and Duchess Meghan. They don’t stop reaching for their dreams just because attaining them is difficult. They reach until they succeed; and in the process, they are an inspiration for all of us. So I hope Serena continues to reach for that somewhat elusive 24th Grand Slam Title and wins it; and just as importantly, I hope Duchess Meghan is in the stands to witness it as only a friend and fellow champion can.