In a precursory scan of the womens’ draw for the 2012 Australian Open which is now underway down under, I have one pervasive thought. Serena Williams is looking for Samantha Stosur.
Stosur defeated Williams in the finals of the 2011 U. S. Open.
The match was marred by controversy due to an outburst of anger by Williams after being assessed a point penalty at a juncture when she was gaining much needed momentum. She had dropped the first set, 2-6.
Serena, unable to regain composure, went on to lose the second set, 3-6 giving Stosur her first slam win.
You often hear from pros that they never really pay attention to the draw. They just take it one match at a time regardless of who the opponent is. Bull says I! That’s just a standard reply for the press. They look, and they look hard. I can almost say with about 99-100% certainty, that Serena was poised somewhere at an ideal vantage point, with a pair of high powered binoculars, eyeballing the construction of the draw. I can just hear her saying, “okay, yeah, I see my name. There I am, the number 12 seed. Okay, now, where the hell is Sam? I wants me some Sam. I want a good, tasty Sam Sandwich!”
You see, Serena is an eraser. When she is beaten in a match in a slam, that she feels she should have won, she wants to erase that bad memory by demolishing the player who caused it. So adamant is she that I can imagine her saying a prayer such as, “oh Lord, please let Sam win her way to whatever round it takes to meet me. I’ve got a little score to settle. Now Lord, you needn’t concern yourself with me. I’ll handle my business, but just watch over dear Sam until I can get to her, in Christ thy name, amen. Good night Lord and thanks for listening.”
A year or so ago, I was sitting with a student, Billie Harris, watching Serena dismantle a young upcoming player (Azarenka I think), who had given her a major scare in a match of some significance a short time before. After one particularly brutal point in which Serena had Azarenka shrieking at the top of her lungs while running from one side of the court to the other, Billie chuckled, nodded her head and said, “you know Martin, you don’t want to mess with Serena. She has a bit of “junk yard dog” in her. When you piss her off, she can’t wait for the first opportunity to get back at you.” I thought back to the thrashings she had leveled against Sharapova after a loss to her in a major and could only nod in agreement.
There is little doubt that Serena has a bit of erasing on her mind. Look out ladies!