I wanted to pick Serena Williams tonight, if for no other good reason than to buck conventional wisdom by going against the Wimbledon champ, Venus Williams. But a friend of mine who served as our unofficial resident Serena/Venus expert last year has convinced me otherwise.
Goldburn: this is the best i’ve seen venus play at the beginning of a grand slam in a long time. even the last three wimbledons she won, she started out slow. she’s moving great and her forehands are staying in. serena is playing well but not A+ like when she beat sharapova at the australian. i think its truly a toss up. if they both play like they’ve been playing i give the edge to venus
me: well let me ask you about serena. she’s so super competitive, was so so so dominant, and then sort of lost it, temporarily grabbed it back, and then ran into the wall of henin/venus. richard williams said today in the Post that she’s not playing great because she wants to play so perfectly. that is, her competitiveness is kind of a flaw in her character (perhaps, as opposed to venus, who’s just loving this). what’s going on with her
Goldburn: i think venus has reached a really good place–she’s mature and more confident than i ever thought she would be. serena is more complicated. i feel like she’s trying to have a great perspective but still hasn’t gotten there. thus, oracene was complaining about how she disappears after losing matches
me: what do you mean ‘great perspective?’ also, it’s weird, because i think for the first time in a long time (and she’s said this) serena really wants her ranking to be great again, and she wants to be on top
but she just hasn’t gotten there. is that because she’s just not as good as she used to be? distractions? what is it
Goldburn: lol. like i would know. i just feel like venus has found an andre agassi like zen where there all these pieces to her life and she can manage it all and remain a top player. with serena things still feel unbalanced
it’s very true. like she wants to commit and then she does but then she doesn’t want to and then she gets injured. i dont’ get the feeling that she’s figured it out herself
me: that’s true.
Goldburn: remember that venus recently said that wimbledon taught her a lot. she said that even when she doesnt have perfect practices she doesn’t let it affect the entire tournament. i think that could be a microcosm for the match. for example, if things start going bad for serena (like the did at wimbledon after the excellent start) she may never get back in the match, whereas i think venus will stick it out until the end. i don’t think serena has lost her competitiveness, i just don’t think she switches gears and changes her game plan anymore. she just gets so mad that things aren’t working out and loses in straight sets
me: you’re so right. like what happened with henin last year. that’s an incredible point. ok, you win. i’m switching my pick now. venus it is!
Goldburn: LOL. and then serena will win