Jan/20

16

Serena Will Win AO

Serena Williams has never wanted to win a major as much as this Australian Open. She has been thwarted four times in a row in major finals, torturously denied of breaking the all time major title record she currently shares with Margaret Court (23).

Serena is showing her most intense beast mode already in January, as she used it as helpful fuel to win Brisbane against Jessica Pegula. Screaming, roaring, yelling, fist pumping, Serena means business. She is not going to be denied. This time.

The other top challengers are aware of the Serena storm. Naomi Osaka sat with Serena at the bush fire fundraiser yesterday and posted a photo of the two titans together, calling Serena “mom.” Osaka could meet her “mom” in the AO quarterfinals. Osaka will not beat Serena after calling her “mom.” She will mentally defer to the all time legend and subconsciously tank.

Only a few players have what it takes to knock off Serena at her most obsessed, most hungry, most driven best. Most of the WTA will roll over for her. Ashe Barty, Danielle Collins are both in Serena’s half of the draw. They could cause Serena trouble. But I expect Serena to raise her game and her level of intensity to whatever level it takes to get the job done.

There is an old, strange parable in boxing about the two boxers in a world title fight, who come face to face with each other before the fight at the press conference or weigh in and the one fighter is so starved for the victory, so desperate, it shows in his eyes and aura. And the other fighter, stricken by what he sees, feels it and senses it and psychologically defers and loses the fight right there.

A boxing trainer told me about this before a big fight at Madison Square Garden. How it’s similar to putting a starved snake into a giant cage with a rodent. The rodent eventually makes eye contact with the starving snake and just instantly surrenders. Does not even attempt to run away or survive, just lets the snake devour.

I feel there is something similar with Serena when she is in her most extreme beast mode, when she really, really wants something. Her burning desire is far beyond anything mortals can relate to. There is no denying Serena wants this AO title more than any other she has won. This is the one that affirms her all time greatest immortality. This is the one she has waited for the longest. This is the one she has been deprived of in four straight final losses (two at US Open, to Osaka and Andreescu, two at Wimbledon, to Kerber and Halep). Serena has not hoisted a major title in the air since beating sister Venus at 2017 Australian Open.

Ain’t no stopping Serena this time. She will win her 24th Grand Slam major in Melbourne.

Facing Serena

Scoop’s book Facing Serena Williams/Facing Steffi Graf is available at Lulu.com for $9.99!

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132 comments

  • Jon King · January 16, 2020 at 10:35 am

    In think the mind will be willing but the body will not get her through 7 matches.

  • Scoop Malinowski · January 16, 2020 at 10:54 am

    Jon, she looks in the best shape she’s been in in years, lighter. That is the only thing that can stop her, her body failing or failing to recover. Let’s see if she gets any defaults or quick retirements to help out.

  • Jon King · January 16, 2020 at 11:12 am

    I agree Scoop, we saw her in Palm Beach Gardens at a fund raiser the day before she left for Brisbane. She looked in great shape.

    We shall see. I just have a feeling the wheels will come off in some way physically, maybe even in the first 2-3 rounds.

  • Scoop Malinowski · January 16, 2020 at 11:23 am

    Jon, I see a lot of players, even highly ranked players rolling over for Serena. Everybody is well aware of her plight of suffering for 24. Serena is seen as a Billie Jean King figure, a mother of tennis even. Serena wants this more than any other major. She will do whatever it takes to get it.

  • Andrew Miller · January 16, 2020 at 1:18 pm

    If roof’s closed a lot, Serena Williams (likely) wins. She’s in good shape, Andreescu’s out – looks like she’s ready for another big tournament.

  • Andrew Miller · January 16, 2020 at 1:21 pm

    Don’t see anyone rolling over, fact is she’s in good shape. She used the off-season well, and it shows. That goes for others that also used it well: Muguruza, Pliskova, etc.

    Some players didn’t use the off-season well. Foremost among them is another slam winner. Not sure how serious is Halep is either. Barty I don’t think can win her home slam, but maybe this will be her most emotional victory ever – that would be a fitting way to begin and end the Australian, with an Aussie that’s great. Madison Keys could surprise, but she tends to disintegrate at the heights.

    We’ll see how it shakes out. Should be fun, the WTA is generally more variable these days and has been now for years providing the bulk of the excitement in pro tennis.

  • Hartt · January 16, 2020 at 2:02 pm

    Scoop, Margaret Court has 24 Slams, so Serena’s next Slam will tie that record, not surpass it. Serena will need to win 25 Slams to pass Court.

    Getting to 24 will reduce the pressure on Serena, so I hope she does win the AO.

  • Andrew Miller · January 16, 2020 at 2:13 pm

    Movement, under-rated in tennis. If young guys moved better, they’d be scaring the big three even more than they already do.

  • Jon King · January 16, 2020 at 4:32 pm

    Venus drew Gauff once again in first round AO.

  • Andrew Miller · January 16, 2020 at 5:03 pm

    Sports Illustrated seed report is up! And it’s a lot of fun. Reading it, in and of itself, was enjoyable. WTA – I predict a tumultuous draw for the women (more “anything goes”) – players are too darn good now. ATP – in my heart a new player wins it (including players that have come close in 2019). If there were justice in tennis and for the country, Kyrgios has a big run similar to Baghdatis in the past.

    But, otherwise, the favorites, Djokovic and Nadal, look as fierce as ever. Hopefully someone plays brave ball because that’s what it always takes to upset them and open up the tournament.

  • Scoop Malinowski · January 16, 2020 at 8:03 pm

    This has come to my attention and I think it’s worth an examination. Do you think it’s possible this man’s theory about Venus and Serena could be male could be possible? At first it seemed crazy but when Serena TWICE in one day yelled “OTHER men have said worse”, it was alarming. And very hard to excuse. Why on earth would she slip twice about “OTHER men”? There is no other logica explantion for such a Freudian slip. Unless I’m failing to see it. Help please.

  • Harold · January 16, 2020 at 9:19 pm

    From the Tennis Week days to the T-P days the Williams sisters have been called many things, but this might be a first..

    Scoop of the Century!!!

    Facing Serena changed to Facing ???

  • Scoop Malinowski · January 16, 2020 at 9:36 pm

    Not saying I believe it fully Harold but I’m definitely suspicious and won’t rule anything out. I think there is enough evidence there to investigate it and question it. Question everything is my saying. The truth does not fear inspection or questioning, only a hoax does. Boy, Yasztremska looks good. Bajin is proving he’s a real deal of a coach. His coaching words to Yaz were good/ok, nice tone but heavy on the cliches. He has a good tone of voice that she responds to and likes.

  • Andrew Miller · January 16, 2020 at 9:56 pm

    Having met the Williams several times I can confirm: they are chicks. And quite lovely in person.

  • Harold · January 16, 2020 at 10:08 pm

    Yastremska, Anisimova, and Kenin.. who wins a Major first, who has the better career?

  • Andrew Miller · January 16, 2020 at 10:55 pm

    Not sure on these three!

  • jackson · January 16, 2020 at 11:15 pm

    Scoop, you really should stay away from those nutty right wing sites. They eat your brain.

  • Jeff · January 17, 2020 at 1:06 am

    Not sure who will win but the matchup I can’t wait for is Collins v Diatchenko. Has to be the most beautiful one in the draw.

  • Jon King · January 17, 2020 at 1:17 am

    Not sure why this thread took such a bizarre turn. There are wonderful videos and photos of the Williams sisters growing up, they were adorable little girls. And a buddy of mine, Rick Macci, who trained them from 9-11 years old will certainly testify to the fact that they were very much typical young girls.

  • catherine · January 17, 2020 at 1:18 am

    Bouchard out in qualifying.

    Not over thrilled by Yaz’s game – nothing new in it. But she plays it well.

    Scoop- I’ve heard some weird stuff in my life but this one takes the biscuit. As far as I know it isn’t possible for a man to have a baby. Unless that’s fake too and someone else’s baby was produced. Good story there !

    Yaz, Anasimova, Kenin – can’t see any of them winning GSs.

  • catherine · January 17, 2020 at 1:29 am

  • catherine · January 17, 2020 at 1:46 am

    Sabalenka below par in that match – sluggish and maybe things catch up with her now and then. But I think at her best she’s an inventive player, more so than Dayana who seems super efficient.

    If Tursunov doesn’t return I expect Saba will be in the market for a new coach soon.

    (going by the handshake there’s no love lost between these two)

  • Jon King · January 17, 2020 at 2:08 am

    catherine, yes the baby must be part of the vast plot! Thats the thing with these outlandish theories, even one bit of rational thought would show how stupid they are….in this case it requires 40 years of total strangers all conspiring to be in on the plot.

    Their parents and grandparents must have hatched this plan…doctors and nurses randomly assigned to the delivery room when Serena and Venus were delivered as boys years apart were obviously in on it, hospital administrators who must have falsified their birth certificates….their childhood doctors and nurses first in California and later in Florida decided to join the plot, friends when they were little girls at sleep overs and in changing rooms must have kept the secret that their little girl friends were boys, the men each have dated through the years….all the way up to Serena’s husband who has a lifelong history of dating beautiful women and was quite wealthy so had no incentive to do this, but one day decided he would join in on the plot and be with a man, then someone who secretly had a baby for them, all the doctors and nurses who were in the delivery room with Serena when she faked having the baby and then almost died from blood clots…….they are all in on hiding the fact that Serena is actually a man.

    Dozens and dozens of total strangers, over 40 years, all keeping this secret that some guy on the internet has uncovered!! Yes, that sounds perfectly rational.

    Seriously, there are some truly evil people in this world that start stuff like this.

  • catherine · January 17, 2020 at 4:18 am

    Carina Withoeft, whose last appearance on court was a humiliating exit (she got fined) at 2019 AO, seems to be in training again. The 2017 Luxembourg winner vanished from sight and has no ranking but such is the dire state of German women’s tennis Carina probably thinks she has a good chance for a comeback once the Big Three vacate the stage. So Wilkommen !

  • catherine · January 17, 2020 at 5:41 am

    Adelaide final: Barty bts Collins in 3 so it will be Ash v Yastremska.

    Bajin already tweeting his congratulations to Dayana and himself, Sascha not being one to hide his light under a bushel.

  • Hartt · January 17, 2020 at 8:36 am

    Rublev just won a close match over FAA, taking the third set 6-4. He won the first set TB and had MPs in the 2nd set, but FAA won the TB. Felix had a 3-0 lead in the third, but Andrey settled down and was the better player for the rest of the set. It looked like Felix got tight. But still, an entertaining match with both guys playing very well overall.

  • Scoop Malinowski · January 17, 2020 at 8:40 am

    Rublev and Felix both can do some big damage in AO.

  • Harold · January 17, 2020 at 8:41 am

    Catherine, you disparage everyone’s style of play except the woman you’re crushing on, or obsessed with.. your Angie..who plays the most stylistically boring game of any woman.
    They all play the same game, No woman is chipping and charging. No woman serves and volleys more than 3 times a year.
    Your hero is 33 and her game never changed. She just lasted longer than some other base liners ..

  • Scoop Malinowski · January 17, 2020 at 8:42 am

    Jackson I understand it’s a crazy idea. But I just can’t get an understanding of why Serena twice yelled “Other men have done worse…” That is the part that is holding me up big time from rejecting the theory.

  • Scoop Malinowski · January 17, 2020 at 8:46 am

    “Other man have done worse…” is the part that bothers me. Why on earth would Serena refer to the ATP men as “other men”? Freudian slip? Joan Rivers revealed that Michelle Obama is a tranny, was she evil? Absolutely not.

  • Harold · January 17, 2020 at 9:11 am

    Everything now is either a Hoax, Fake News, or a Conspiracy in Scoopville..

    This Conspiracy theory is an all-timer..

    Jon, you broke it down perfectly, but the wing nuts that are pushing this, will tell you unless you show pictures of 40 years of SW’s life, they’ll carry on with their BS

  • Hartt · January 17, 2020 at 9:14 am

    At last year’s AO FAA lost to Karlovic in the 2nd round of qualies, and was No.108. This year the youngster, ranked No.22, is a seeded player. So FAA has just 8 points from the AO to defend. What a difference a year makes!

  • Scoop Malinowski · January 17, 2020 at 9:25 am

    “Other men have done worse…” is the part that troubles me. No explanation for Serena saying that twice. Harold please explain it. How on earth does Serena say “other men have done worse” twice within an hour?

  • Scoop Malinowski · January 17, 2020 at 9:26 am

    With a big result next week Felix can make up for his recent struggles and possibly hit the top 15. Big tournament for Felix.

  • Andrew Miller · January 17, 2020 at 9:30 am

    Scoop…if you want TP to be TT keep it up. If you want the level of commentary to sink below the ocean floor, keep it up.

  • Andrew Miller · January 17, 2020 at 9:33 am

    Serena rest of quote and end this nonsense: “It’s because I am a woman, and that’s not right.” Moving on.

  • Harold · January 17, 2020 at 9:33 am

    I would say, In the heat of an argument she misspoke…

  • Andrew Miller · January 17, 2020 at 9:42 am

    Harold, re wing nuts even (at least one( supreme court justice has done the same thing of not admitting when they are flat out wrong. There’s the amusing case of Justice John Paul Stevens who believes without any evidence and on the basis of nothing but wacko theories that Shakespeare wasn’t a real person. So when anyone says well here is his grave here are the records here are his handwritten whatever, he never acknowledged anything.

    Just the way it goes. People fall in love with their ideas. Nevermind anything else. They’ll believe it until the end and that’s the way it goes.

  • Scoop Malinowski · January 17, 2020 at 9:53 am

    Harold but she said it twice, on the court to Early and then again at the press conference. Both videos are included at the link. It’s bizarre. A double freudian slip? I’m not saying I believe that Serena is a man in disguise but I am not fully rejecting the theory. One thing I have learned in decades of pro sports is that images can be created and controlled by media. Images that differ starkly to reality. But let’s move on shall we? Lloyd Harris vs Andrey Rublev is an intriguing final. Just posted the Lloyd Harris Biofile which I think you will all enjoy, especially the anecdote about his match in Nigeria 🙂

  • Andrew Miller · January 17, 2020 at 10:11 am

    Scoop, reject it and talk some sense to yourself. Especially given that Serena said in the same video milliseconds later, “It’s because I am a woman, and that’s not right.”

    Save face and stop.

  • Andrew Miller · January 17, 2020 at 10:30 am

    Credit Yastremska. Interesting about the “nothing new in her game here”. I think having seen Bajin’s work and heard on a podcast (Under Review) how coach Michael Joyce sees player games (basically, become more consistent and you’re there), seems as though some super successful coaches are good at convincing the most talented players to hire them (ha!) and then having a training schedule that includes more mornings and shazam, we have a more formidable player.

    Then of course Yastremska winning big matches. She was already winning a lot of matches, otherwise she would not have been in Zhuhai for the year end WTA “elite” event.

    They do nothing new, just whatever they were doing, now do it better. It’s the lowest risk plan for any player – “play your game” at a higher level of consistency. And now that I think about it, clearly the easiest way for a new coach to have their player trust them – “be yourself at a higher ranking”. No change needed, just legit practice habits.

    Sabalenka under Tursunov has become a better player and I think that’s a credit to Sabalenka for listening and to Tursunov for helping Sabalenka use strategy to her benefit.

    That was funny about Bajin and his endless self promotion. That comes with this coach. He wants credit and he makes sure to grab it.

  • catherine · January 17, 2020 at 10:51 am

    Harold – what are you talking about ? I don’t disparage other players styles, if you read what I write you’d know that. I like Sabalenka’s style better than Yastremska and I’m surely free to say that if I want. People on this site often have favourites – Scoop and Rios eg. What’s wrong with that ?

    I’m often critical of Kerber, which you’d surely know if you read my comments, and I don’t mind if you don’t. And she’s about to turn 32, not 33.

    I don’t know why some people get so bothered about what I write. Doesn’t seem that important.

  • catherine · January 17, 2020 at 10:54 am

    Scoop – Serena meant ‘other men’ among MEN have done worse. Surely that’s clear ?

  • catherine · January 17, 2020 at 11:05 am

    And by the way Harold, I have problems with Kerber’s style which she hasn’t addressed through a fair number of coaching personnel. I’ve watched an awful lot of women’s tennis, back to the ’70s, and I don’t consider there’s much about it that anyone can tell me when it comes to style.

    And this ‘crushing’ and ‘obsession’ – I could name one or two here who have written enough on their faves to fill a few books, but I won’t.

    Tennis-Prose is about tennis and I don’t think anything about the game should be out of bounds.

  • Hartt · January 17, 2020 at 11:51 am

    I think most of us on this site have certain ideas or players that we are especially interested in, and we come back to those quite often. I don’t see a problem with that. If those aren’t interesting to us we can simply skip those posts. Sometimes a poster’s special interest has helped me learn about a particular idea or player, and that has been very helpful to my understanding of tennis.

    Besides, I don’t want to feel inhibited about discussing FAA! 🙂

  • Andrew Miller · January 17, 2020 at 12:01 pm

    I’ve praised players. Sorry. Lately I’ve been anti-big 3 and disparaging of players for not putting in more effort to become better players to win bigger titles.

    As for the German, I like her. Was worried she’d fall down the rabbit hole of publicity, and to her credit she recovered her game and won another slam, which is an exceptional result, not just for her but the women’s tour. And maybe she deserves the plus up because look around, the only players with at least three slams are Serena Williams, Venus Williams, a disgraced Russian player, and the German blondie. That’s a fact 🙂

    Beyond them there are a slew of players with two slams, and then a bunch of one hit wonders or one hit wonders from which we (I think) expect to notch another slam (at least).

  • Andrew Miller · January 17, 2020 at 12:08 pm

    At same time, don’t think it’s healthy to do what many fan sites do, in focusing exclusively or almost exclusively on the best players only. I’m grateful this site doesn’t. Then again when I go ahead and talk about struggling U.S. men’s players, maybe that irks people too.

  • Hartt · January 17, 2020 at 12:23 pm

    Andrew, several posters here talk about American players, and I guess many of those players are struggling. But I have found that an interesting topic, and have learned a lot about the American players as a result. There are a few players that I look out for now, like Christopher Eubanks, guys I wouldn’t normally be aware of.

  • Scoop Malinowski · January 17, 2020 at 2:40 pm

    Andrew it could have been a quick cover up as she realized her verbal faux pas. I question everything and some suspicions persist.

  • catherine · January 17, 2020 at 3:54 pm

    Scoop – it’s ok to question things but some suspicions are frankly ridiculous. Serena Williams is not a man.

    As I explained above, ‘other men have done worse’ does not mean what you think it means.

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