I could stand here tonight and talk about very worthy stories from this weekend – from Shawn Kemp and Gary Payton’s return to KeyArena at the Seattle Pro-Am on Friday...to Hope Solo and Megan Rapinoe returning to the Reign FC last night...to the Mariners, once again limping into an All-Star Break.
But none of them compare to a national sports story that isn’t getting nearly the attention it should: Serena Williams’ utter domination in the world of tennis.
I know – grab the remote, turn the channel – “Why talk about tennis?” But Serena’s sixth Wimbledon championship this weekend – her fourth straight Grand Slam win and her 21st Grand Slam singles title overall, deserves as many accolades as the Women’s National Soccer Team received for winning last week’s World Cup. That’s not a slight against Team USA – but rather a tribute to Serena.
Remember Tiger Woods winning the “Tiger Slam” in 2000 and 2001, winning four straight golf majors? He was the center of the sports world. And what if he did it again? Imagine the media circus around one major, let alone four in a row?
Meanwhile, Serena just did exactly that for the second time in her career – 12 years removed from the first – and hardly anyone’s saying a thing!
It’s unfortunately a testament to the waning interest in a sport with fewer American superstars – but not a reason to avoid singing her praises. As John McEnroe suggested this weekend, Serena Williams could arguably be the greatest athlete of the last 100 years. She now holds all four Grand Slam titles, and could be the first player – male or female – to win all four Grand Slam events in a calendar year since 1988.
Listen, we fawned over American Pharoah’s incredible Triple Crown. We’re practically giddy over even the small possibility of Jordan Spieth’s chances at the Grand Slam in golf.
And yet – the buzz around Serena’s decent chance to win a calendar year Grand Slam for the first time in 27 years is somewhere around a dull roar.
All I’m saying is: In a world dominated by 20-somethings these days, here’s a 33-year-old athlete, still on top of her game in one of the most physically demanding sports in the world. Even better, she’s an American athlete, chasing history and representing her country in the best way possible.
And if she wins the U.S. Open in September – give Serena her own ticker tape parade in New York. She deserves it as much as anyone else.