It’s a New Year and that means new headlines from Serena Williams.
Although she won her first round match over Chanelle Scheepers in the Brisbane International, it was what Williams said afterwards in her press conference that has put her on the front page, especially here in the States. After saying, “I don’t love tennis, but I can’t live without it,” Williams then went on to describe how surprised she is she became an athlete since she never liked sports to begin with.
Those comments along with Williams restating the fact that she is still very focused on numerous outside interests including fashion and acting have sent sports media here in the U.S. into a tizzy speculating on how much longer Williams will remain in the sport. Her comments even forced ESPN to break out of its non-stop 24/7 coverage of college bowl games to have Brad Gilbert speak by phone on SportsCenter today to analyze “what does it all mean?”
What Williams said is eye-raising, if only that it reveals another side to her mercurial personality. But do her comments really merit comparison, as some journalists have done, with Andre Agassi’s own admission of hating the sport in his recent autobiography? Long-time tennis fans may not find what Williams said Monday all that shocking since she has said more or less the same thing for the last five years, especially with her own self-admission of being more focused on winning Major titles than the overall tour, but the media has decided that Williams’s statement is important and a telling sign for her prospects this year, even though it’s very likely Williams herself has forgotten all about the press conference and is focusing on her second round match against Bojana Jovanovski.
She may have forgotten, but one doubts the media will let Williams forget about it anytime soon. But if that’s what it takes to get ESPN to talk about tennis in the sacred college football month of January, so be it.