Does Serena Williams get the respect she deserves?
Sometimes at the end of the week, you just need a hero. Not a hero to condescend or patronise in the way a certain film unit is treating Mary Kom, but a hero to respect and learn from, who deserves all the praise and accolades she gets. That is why we are thrilled to find the New Yorker agrees with us that “Serena Williams is America’s Greatest Athlete”
Sorry, LeBron. Sorry, Tiger. Sorry, Derek. For fifteen years, over two generations of tennis, Williams has been a spectacular and constant yet oddly uncherished national treasure. She is wealthy and famous, but it seems that she should be more famous, the most famous. Anyone who likes sports should love Williams’s dazzling combination of talent, persistence, style, unpredictability, poise, and outsized, heart-on-her-sleeve flaws.
If you want to know about humankind’s worst impulses, just take a stroll through Twitter’s dark side every time Serena Williams plays. This is an eighteen-time Grand Slam Single’s Winner, an athlete who has stayed at the top of her sport for longer than anyone else, and someone who still routinely outlasts and outplays women half her age. But the comments (“tweets”) about her choose to focus on her fashion, on the way she looks, on her unapologetic desire to win, and her occasional tantrums- all characteristics that would classify a male athlete as “endearingly oddball”, not a scourge on the sports. Perhaps it is because Williams has never played to the gallery and never preened in the way women athletes are expected to?
When the culture at large grants athletic adoration to women, it is often of a temporary, fleeting kind directed toward teen-age American sweethearts at the Olympics. Williams has never been America’s sweetheart. She wasn’t when she won her first U.S. Open, at seventeen, in 1999, and she isn’t now, as she plays on into her thirties
Amy Schumer’s skit “Schumerenka” hilariously takes on the hypocrisy involved in the way we look at female athletes.
Go ahead and savour this celebration of one our favourite athletes this Sunday evening, and take this chance to wish Babita Kumari, Dipika Pallikal , OP Jaisha – and many others- all the best for the upcoming Asian Games
Read MBRB’s interview with Anjum Chopra- one of India’ greatest women cricketers here
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