Has Serena Had Enough?

BNP Paribas Open, Indian Wells

Women’s Final: [CR1] Serena Williams (USA) vs. [CR15] Victoria Azarenka (BLR)

Let me preface this by saying that from the first time I saw her play I have admired her tennis skills.  Serena Williams deserves all the accolades and recognition she has received for what she has accomplished.  I have been following her tennis matches for a very long time and this new Williams is not the Serena Williams that fights for the victory, especially in a final.  Perhaps she is tired of tennis and wants to move on?  Or could it be that the pressure to constantly be successful has become too much of a burden?  Neither possible reason explains why she can play such brilliant tennis and get to the final, only to lose because of very questionable performance.

Williams has 21 Major titles, she is one shy of tying Steffi Graf’s 22.  She had the opportunity to do just that at the 2015 US Open when she suffered what I still consider the biggest upset in tennis history in the semifinal.  Fast forward to 2016, Williams dropped 26 games in six matches  and did not lose a set before she got to the Australian Final.  She lost to an opponent that under normal circumstances would never be a challenge.  This is why I am convinced that she is feeling the pressure of tying Graf’s record and potentially surpassing her.

Yet, that does not explain today’s performance against Victoria Azarenka.  I am completely baffled at this 4-6, 4-6 loss.  She defeated Simona Halep and Agnieszka Radwanska, and had not dropped a set en route to this final.  I can understand starting slow, but the Williams that I’ve followed closely over the years does not step on the tennis court with such an attitude of dis-interest.  Was that just a cover for her nervousness?  She admits and we know as fans that she cannot win every match; however, it is the way that she is losing that makes me ask these questions.  I know she can still win several more Majors because she can get through the draws; it’s the Final that seems to have become her mental stumbling block.  Does she care enough to try to overcome this or has she accomplished enough to not really care?  I find that hard to believe, I think she still wants to surpass Graf’s record.


  1. I know Serena still cares. I just think that we all have off days, and she had one. Sometimes we approach things with a mind set of not giving it our all. I believe that Serena just did not give it her all. I am confident that this will not be repeated anytime in the near future.

  2. I, too, have followed the Williams sisters from the moment they appeared on the tennis scene. I also felt from the very beginning that Serena was a force to be reckoned with and would one day surpass her sister. There was talent; there was fire. I’ve never seen her approach the court without those attributes. This past week, especially during the last two matches, she appears to be missing one of those attributes…the fire. There seems to be a lack of interest, apathy if you will. Has the pressure to catch Graf become too much? Is the game no longer fun for her? I’ve heard so many atheletes say, over the years, that it’s time to quit when it’s no longer fun. Will she recover that spark, that passion that has made her so great? She is definitely not lacking talent. People do have off days but I don’t believe that’s what we’re seeing here. We’ll have to wait and see how things play out in the next couple of tournies.

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