Serena is bringing me back to tennis. As a kid, I did have the chance to take tennis lessons with the park district. I was lucky enough to have a great coach, who really taught me the game. I can remember when I was beginning to be successful that I started to watch tennis on television. Born into a sports loving family, I was encouraged to watch ... and play. I bothered my mom to no end to help me out in buying a Chris Evert tennis racket. Ooooh, I wanted that racket. I can't even remember what kind of racket that I was playing with before I put my hands on that racket. It was probably bought at the local Value Village and was made of tin and fishing line. I know that my play elevated as soon as I put my hand around a grip that was sized for my hand. And I played with it through junior high and high school when I played for the school team. I brought it to college and took tennis as my PE requirement. And then, I sort of lost track of it.
I picked up a racket again many years later and graduated to a titanium delight that weighs nearly nothing and allows me to block the power shots that my niece drives at me across the net. She's a power house and were it not for the tennis elbow that plagues me, I would continue to play more than during our asphalt pick up games when she's in town. Perhaps because I have gotten the racket back in my hand, I have kept an eye on what is going on in professional tennis. In the past, I watched mostly men's tennis ... Bjorn Borg, Jimmy Connors, Ilie Nastase ... all of the old guys. I wanted the Evert racket, but I watched the boyfriend (Jimmy Connors).
Well, we've come a long way baby. And little girls know that they need to take the gaze off of the men and find power in their own sex. And I'm reminded of this as I am fascinated by Serena Williams', not Roger Federer's, play. And with that, I have to wonder why tennis hasn't kept up with the movement that has picked me up. Becoming a mother aside, Serena has locked heads with the old tennis guard with what she wears to play. Wearing a compression catsuit to protect against blood clots, the French Tennis Federation President, Bernard Giudicelli, banned her from wearing them. He said that her appearance must "respect the game." I don't have much to say about that idiotic statement and belief, especially as athletes across the seasons have gone to more streamlined uniforms to enhance their performance. But Serena? Girl, she figured it out. And what she did is pure sport.
For the 2018 US Open, Serena worked with Louis Vuitton's Virgil Abloh and Nike to give the French guy what he wants ... a tutu. In her first appearance at the tournament, she wore black. She came out of the tunnel in a leather coat and compression fish net stockings. Her shoes were bedazzled. And for each match she has twirled her way on to the court ... actually, she twirls at the end of winning each match so far ... but she arrives with her game face on and a fabulous defense, actually offensive, against the outdated, misogynistic malarkey that, apparently, tennis officials still hold dear.
They need to watch it ... cause girls run the world, and Serena is likely going to run them out of town ... or out to pasture, where they belong.