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Offbeat Of all Serena's triumphs, this Wimbledon run is the most impressive

03:25  13 july  2018
03:25  13 july  2018 Source:   usatoday.com

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Of all the triumphs in her glorious career, nothing compares to what Serena Williams is doing at Wimbledon . MORE : Serena , overwhelmed by her own success, reaches Wimbledon final.

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Of all the triumphs in her glorious career, nothing compares to what Serena Williams is doing at Wimbledon.

Ten months ago, she was fighting for her life, her lungs filling with clots following the birth of her first child, daughter Olympia. She endured four surgeries, and the recovery was so grueling that just walking to the mailbox was a struggle. The timeline she’d imagined for her return to the court had to be thrown out the window, two months’ worth of tournaments pared to just two before the French Open.

Serena Williams missed her daughter's first steps

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If a match is being played with two competitors of the same surname (e.g. Venus and Serena Wimbledon is notable for the longest running sponsorship in sports history due to its association One of the most notable British commentators was Dan Maskell, who was known as the BBC' s "voice

Serena Williams is the Wimbledon champion! Both players have been imperious during their runs to the final. Angelique Kerber hasn’t dropped a set and those were some impressive performances against Simona Halep and Venus Williams, two menacing foes.

And yet, here she is, into Saturday’s Wimbledon final. A victory against Angelique Kerber would give Williams her 24th Grand Slam title, matching Margaret Court for the all-time record.

“This is not inevitable for me,” Williams told the BBC after beating Julia Goerges is straight sets Thursday.  

“It’s definitely not normal for me to be at a Wimbledon final,” she added. “I’m taking everything as it is, and just enjoying every moment.”

Though the moment is most definitely hers, it’s for all of us, too. For her entire career Williams has been taking a racket to conventions that marginalize and minimize, and the last 10 days have been no different.

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Keep calm and carry on: Williams serene at Wimbledon

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Every match she wins is reinforcement for all the mothers out there who juggle family and career while trying to push aside the nagging doubts that it’s never going to be enough. Every blistering stroke she hits is encouragement for anyone who’s ever felt as if their body has betrayed them. Every pump of her fist and shout of “Come on!” is inspiration for anybody who, regardless of the circumstances, has faced adversity and wondered if they could find the strength and determination to overcome it.

“This,” Williams’ husband, Alexis Ohanian, said on Twitter after Williams’ quarterfinal win, “is already nothing short of remarkable.”

In Williams, we are witnessing the greatest athlete of all time. Not greatest tennis player, not greatest female athlete. Greatest athlete, period. She played all of three matches in the previous 16 months, yet has dropped just one set here. After pulling out of last month’s French Open with a pectoral injury, she barely served until she got to Wimbledon.

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3.30pm BST 15:30 Muguruza is the Wimbledon champion! So often has Venus been stalled by Serena in slams – six of her seven final defeats have been at the hands of her younger sibling – that Serena ’ s absence here removed one of her most familiar obstacles.

When she was serving for the match only to be broken by Goerges, Williams responded with ferocity and fury. You could practically see her crank an internal dial up a notch as she won four straight points to break Goerges at love and win the match.

“She steps up her game,” Goerges said. “… She, yeah, showed me how to win those matches at that stage.”

But by putting her own greatness on display, Williams is also giving everyone who watches a reminder of the greatness that’s within all of us.

She might hobnob with royalty — Kensington Palace announced that her good friend, the Duchess of Sussex, will be at Saturday’s final — and is the rare celebrity who’s on a first-name basis with the entire world.  But she’s also become the most approachable of idols, talking openly about her thoughts and fears in this comeback.

She referenced her “mommy brain” Thursday, and spoke of mental scars from her pulmonary embolisms that no blood thinner will ever completely dissolve. She reveled in her daughter’s latest development — “she's walking, maybe a little too fast. She's trying to go faster than her body will allow her to go” — and shared a reality check that can be a lesson for everyone.

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  The Latest: Djokovic, Nadal resume Wimbledon semifinal Novak Djokovic and Rafael Nadal have resumed their Wimbledon semifinal. Three-time champion Djokovic was leading two-time champion Nadal 6-4, 3-6, 7-6 (9) when play was stopped by Wimbledon's 11 p.m. curfew on Friday evening. At the conclusion of the men's match, Serena Williams will attempt to win an eighth Wimbledon title as she faces Angelique Kerber in a repeat of the 2016 final. ___12:20 p.m.About 10 months after having a baby, Serena Williams plays in the Wimbledon final against Angelique Kerber.Williams is bidding for her eighth championship at the All England Club and 24th Grand Slam title in all, which would equal Margaret Court's all-time record.

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Williams ends a losing run at Slams stretching back to Wimbledon last year. "It is the most beautiful serve ever. I remember seeing Serena when she was probably 11 or 12 and her technique was beautiful and she is such a terrific athlete.

“I've said it all week, this is only my fourth tournament back,” Williams said. “Every time I go out there, I want to, I guess, take a giant step forward. Keep giant steps, but keep improving.”

Regardless of the outcome Saturday, this Wimbledon is a resounding triumph. Not simply for how far Williams has come, but for the many millions who are walking taller and standing straighter because of seeing her along the way.   

***

Follow USA TODAY Sports columnist Nancy Armour on Twitter @nrarmour.

Related slideshow: Best of 2018 Wimbledon (Provided by photo services) 


Shannon Ryan: LeBron and Serena cement their legacies despite championship losses .
The greatest athletes of our generation lost championships this year in blowouts but cemented their legacies as transcendent figures. LeBron James' Cavaliers were swept in four games of the NBA Finals by the Warriors, losing the final game by 23 points before James announced he was headed for the Lakers as a free agent.Serena Williams on Saturday lost 6-3, 6-3 to Angelique Kerber in the Wimbledon final - a rarity for the seven-time champion who had only dropped one set in this year's tournament before the final.But it seems more certain than ever that Williams and James are defining a generation of athletics.

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