July 4, 2009

Any Given Saturday

It's funny to me that, every time the draws are announced for a Grand Slam tournament, such an uproar ensues if Venus and Serena Williams are slated to meet anytime before the finals -- as if, regardless of their seeds, that's the only match-up anyone wants to see.

But as I stood in line at the Central Park Tennis Center this morning listening in on the conversations of a bunch of amateur commentators, I realized that I wasn't the only one who wasn't particularly excited about today's women's final at Wimbledon. Despite the fact that Venus had the opportunity to make history, that Serena had the chance to break the tie between them, that there were so many statistical consequences to the match, I truly couldn't care less.

It would be the twenty-first time the sisters had competed against each other -- the twelfth time at a Grand Slam, the tenth time when a championship title was on the line. After more than eleven years on the pro Tour, their match-ups have become more commonplace than something special, and we now expect to see Venus and Serena on the last Saturday of any Major.

It's just another day at the office -- if the office were the grandest stage in the tennis world.

But my indifference does not come from being bored with watching the same match over and over -- after all I still revel in any opportunity to watch Rafael Nadal take on Roger Federer. But for some reason, I don't find a lot of drama in these siblings' rivalry -- one's win doesn't necessarily feel like the other's loss, and no matter who takes home the bigger trophy, the state of tennis doesn't really seem to change much.

Today's match was a repeat of last year's final -- well, at least in terms of the names on the program. In terms of the performances, though, the results were completely different. The sisters began the game brilliantly, neither allowing a single break opportunity in the first set. At the same time they flew through the opening games, getting to a tiebreak in just over forty minutes.

That's when Serena really began to dominate -- she saved three break points early in the second set and then took a 4-2 lead over the elder Williams. The longest game of the match was the last, where Venus was trying to force Serena to serve for the championship -- she was able to save three break chances but eventually ceded her title by smacking a backhand into the net.

So Serena takes the lead in their head-to-head history -- at least for now. She wins her third Wimbledon crown and her eleventh Major. But we'll see them on the same court again soon (actually we already did -- the Williamses teamed up and just a short time ago also claimed the women's doubles crowns).

And I'll be just as excited as I was today!

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