Born fighter Serena takes fifth title
TENNIS:SERENA WILLIAMS won’t care one whit about the manner in which she claimed her fifth Wimbledon title and her 14th Grand Slam. The aesthetics in performance terms of a 6-1, 5-7, 6-2 victory over number three seed Agnieszka Radwanska in the Saturday’s final at the All England Club will be for others to disseminate.
The American understandably preferred to focus on a triumph that brings a joyful closure to a two-year period in which her life and her career were assailed by surgery and serious illness. She fought with typical tenacity and her reward was thoroughly merited over a fortnight in which the general quality of her tennis brooked no argument.
It was appropriate that Wimbledon provided the backdrop because it was shortly after her win here in 2010, her last Grand Slam victory before Saturday, that her off-court travails began. She stepped on broken glass outside a Munich restaurant, requiring surgery to both feet.
A more sinister legacy, initially undetected, was a blood clot on her lungs that saw her hospitalised.
She recalled the tipping point, where she prayed for some relief. “There was a moment, I just remember I was on the couch and I didn’t leave (it for) the whole day, for two days. I was praying like I can’t take any more. I’ve endured enough: let me be able to get through this.
“I didn’t give up. I was just so tired at that point. I had a tube in my stomach and it was draining constantly. Gosh, I mean, right before that I had the blood clot. I had lung problems. Then I had two foot surgeries. It was a lot. I felt like I didn’t do anything to bring on that. I just felt down, the lowest of lows.”
She credited physical trainer Esther Lee, sister Isha, personal assistant Val Vogt and agent Jill Smoller for nudging her from her sick bed. “I remember Esther, she came up to me and she was like, God is really going to help you through this. He never gives you more than you can handle. I think she saw that I was really, really, really down. So that really helped me, or else I would still be there.
“You know, coming here and winning is amazing because literally last year I was ranked almost 200. It’s been an unbelievable journey. The French Open was so disappointing because I won Charleston and I won Madrid. I did extremely well in Rome. I was undefeated on clay. I had a lot of confidence. You know, when I lost that really got me down.”