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Daily Bagel: Serena Williams and the greatest of all time debate

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The Daily Bagel is your dose of the interesting reporting, writing and quipping from around the Internet.

• Video: Roger Federer has some cheeky ads out for Bonviva, a Swiss credit card company.

• Greg Couch of Fox Sports wonders what Serena Williams’ return to No. 1 means for her in the greatest-ever debate.

To be No. 1 at 31 suggests a lifelong commitment to fitness. Instead, Williams has had some issues there, even writing in her book about a time when she got out of shape because of her love for a particular doughnut shop. There have been plenty of times when she has been in shape, and plenty when she hasn’t been.

No, Williams has done this mostly with mental fitness. Talent, too, of course. But her ability to keep fresh mentally has been all about her approach.

At the same time, I don’t think she has accomplished all she could have on the court. Maybe that’s OK.

• The New York Times reports that Alisa Kleybanova, who was diagnosed with Hodgkin’s lymphoma two years ago, is shooting for a midseason return.

• The Changeover captures Yulia Putintseva’s celebration after beating Laura Robson 6-4, 2-6, 7-6 (6) in the first round of Dubai on Monday. She’s like the Jim Harbaugh of women’s tennis. She was made for GIF’ing.

• The Grandstand reviews Julien Benneteau’s eight career losses in ATP finals. The 31-year-old Frenchman is still title-less after losing to Juan Martin del Potro in the Rotterdam final on Sunday.

• Non-tennis: Interesting read at the Financial Times on whether the ubiquity of soccer in today’s age has made it less exotic and harder to love.

  • Published On Feb 19, 2013
  • 9 comments
    lwglow2478
    lwglow2478

    Serena Williams is the greatest tennis player who ever lived.  Her service motion is the best in history -- and that is borne out by the fact that Serena holds the record for most aces at BACK -to BACK WIMBLEDONS!  So who's served better?  NO ONE.  Who got to balls faster?  NO ONE.  Who's passing shots, lobs, return-of-serve were better? NO ONE'S, etc.  Greg Couch admitted he has not been writing on tennis long.  And his bias against Serena is evident. All it would take is a little research for him to see that former # 1 Lindsay Davenport among others who reached the top in this, most competitive, most physically demanding era, ALSO sustained injury. The diff? Serena is MULTI-TALENTED and as such continued to be in the limelight -- WHILE recuperating -- because of her fashion line, tv show, commercials, book writing, etc.  It just APPEARED she "wasn't interested" in tennis.  The biased press let Lindsay and Sharapova and whomever else take as long as they wanted/needed to recuperate -- and they never had a young, beloved sister die during their hey-day-- as Serena did.  As for "the donut shop" crack, Serena, a humorous person at heart, was joking, of course.  She had never been as big as she was at the Australian Open she won after injury break and while still in deep mourning for her sister.  One of the reasons for that is that a ridiculously bogus lawsuit had her and her family in court all day for days on end JUST before Oz that year. Serena did not get to train as much as a result and was also depressed over her sister and the lawsuit. The fact that she came back to WIN is more proof that there IS a GOD!  Serena is dedicated to fitness. You don't get where she is without being highly self-disciplined.  Couch should be ashamed of himself.

    MatthewNeiger
    MatthewNeiger

    To my mind Serena will never be the 'greatest', as I've always taken that to mean (generally) most accomplished, and the arc of her career and her chosen emphasis on slams means she won't come close to many others.  As for the whether she's the _best_ of all time, I think there's a decent argument even though I think Martina N. and Steffi could give her fits on old soft grass.

    dre
    dre

    I would love to meet Roger.  Serena is her own enemy.  She can do whatever she set out to accomplish as long as she wants it.  It goes for anyone.  Love Tennis. 

    Brioc
    Brioc

    That's exactly what my face would look like if I ever met Roger.

    lwglow2478
    lwglow2478

     @MatthewNeiger ?!?!  On grass?!?  Martina N. and Steffi would have fallen to Serena like everyone else.  In fact, a young Serena, new on the tour, DID beat Steffi!  And Navratilova sat in the stands at the Wimbledon in which Serena smashed the record for most aces in the tournament. Martina Nav's jaw was practically on her chest. Navratilova  was literally open-mouthed at Serena's awe-inspiring display of consummate skill!  Serena hit over a HUNDRED aces that tournament.  The next highest total? THIRTY!

    lwglow2478
    lwglow2478

     @dre I would love to meet Roger AND Serena.  Serena is wonderful.  It was not her fault that her sister died or that some demonic white-supremacist nutjob in Germany threw glass that cut the TOP of her foot!  Or that like other #1 tennis players in this, most competitive era, had knee surgery and the like. Serena has had legitimate reasons for injury lay-offs, some depression, and consequent weight gain. Couch needs to do some flipping research before TRYING to tell us something about Serena that's accurate.

    lwglow2478
    lwglow2478

     @Brioc , LOL  You're funny.   And Roger's hilarious, too. So is Serena. Did you catch them in their "Hit for Haiti" mixed doubles charity partnership vs. Kim Clijsters and Rafa Nadal?  I think it's still online somewhere. Serena and Roger have been friends a long time.  When Patrick McEnroe once interviewed Roger and asked him who his favorite female tennis player is, Roger's smile was big, broad, and charmingly innocent as he immediately answered, "Serena Williams!"