She just lost in the first round of the French Open. Is her career over? And if so, who will be the next dominant women's tennis player?
Every week, our panel of sports fans discusses a topic of the moment. For today's conversation, Patrick Hruby (writer, ESPN and The Atlantic), Jake Simpson (writer, The Atlantic), and Hampton Stevens (writer, ESPN and The Atlantic), discuss Williams' future.
Serena Williams has never lost a first-round match at a Grand Slam tournament. Not on the tricky clay of Roland Garros. Not on the skittish grass of Wimbledon. Not in sunbaked Melbourne, where half the tour is still rounding into early-season form; not in pressure-packed New York, where even the greatest competitors sometimes melt down. Serena has been many things—swimsuit pinup; fashion designer; home shopping network pitchwoman; reality show star; maybe the best (and hardest-hitting) women's tennis player of all time—but she has never, ever been a major opening match loser.
It was the result heard 'round the tennis world: down goes Serena. Down goes Serena. Three sets and out, a French Open loser to 111th-ranked Virginie Razzano. More perplexing still, Serena lost despite leading 5-1 in a second-set tiebreaker and coming within two points of victory nine times, both of which are the tennis equivalent of: a) blowing a 20-point fourth quarter lead in the NBA playoffs; b) staggering, but not KO'ing, your boxing opponent on nearly a dozen occasions, and then losing the fight on points.