Power, Passion and Precision: Serena Can Be The Best Of All-Time — And Now She Wants To Be

By Eric Williams
Updated: April 1, 2007

PHILADELPHIA — Maybe it was last year’s scathing, but totally honest and true, column, by former tennis legend turned writer and editor, Chris Evert, that got her juices going.

Or maybe it was my national column (which by the way, received an insane amount of feeback) in which I wholeheartedly agreed with Evert on the state of Williams’ mindset at the time.

I suspect that it was neither, but whatever has gotten into eight-time Grand Slam champion, Serena Williams, it has become very obvious with each successive match that Williams played in the 2007 Australian Open and now, the 2007 Sony Ericsson Open, that Williams is now mentally stronger than ever and has once again rededicated herself to becoming the best female player on the planet.

Not only did Williams enter the Australian Open as the 81st ranked player in the world – and unseeded – but in dismantling the soon-to-be world’s No. 1 player, Maria Sharapova, 6-1, 6-2, Williams resoundingly put every other player on the Sony Ericsson WTA Tour on notice that she is going to be a force to be reckoned with in 2007 barring any unforeseen injuries.

All Williams did with her 0-6, 7-5, 6-3 victory of Justin Henin in the Sony Ericsson final was reinforce that fact.

Now, I will say that, when Evert questioned Williams’ desire to focus solely on tennis last year – and I agreed – neither of us ever questioned Williams’ incredibly vast level of talent. To do so, would be absolutely ludicrous.

However, I will once again agree with Evert’s assessment that Williams can become the greatest female tennis players of all-time – if she devotes herself solely to tennis for the next half-decade or so.

Now, I understand that Williams is a young lady who has other aspirations such as her fledgling acting career and her desire to design clothing, but Evert and I, and a great deal of other people, readily agree that she will have plenty of time to pursue those ventures once she retires from the sport.

I’ll reiterate my point from the column I wrote last year. ‘It’s not every day that someone is blessed with the ability to become the greatest ever in their chosen profession.’

Williams has undeniably been blessed with that type of ability and to see her not putting all of her immense talent to use was a travesty of epic proportions.

However, that was last year. Now, Williams has seemingly rededicated herself to becoming one of the greatest female tennis players ever.

The fact of the matter is that Williams is so abundantly talented, that she has generally taken that talent for granted – winning seven of her Grand Slam titles with almost embarrassing ease.

Whether she will keep her recent level of dedication throughout the rest of her career – or even the remainder of this year – remains to be seen. However, I would suspect that Williams now has to be considered a legitimate contender for every Grand Slam event she plays in this season, particularly Wimbledon and the U.S. Open.

I know if I were still a gambling man, my money would be on Williams to win at least one more Grand Slam this year if not more. As actor Wesley Snipes once said in his so-so film, Passenger 57, “Always bet on black”.