After being overshadowed by her big sister Venus earlier in her career, Serena burst onto the scene with two huge tools in her arsenal — a strong baseline forehand and a dominant serve.Which were not only impressive for their speed — at around 129 mph Serena has the 3rd fastest recorded serve in women’s open era history — but her consistent ability to crack 115 mph with precision in ball placement.The conversations around her frame have continued well into the latter phase of career.
And now, in 2017, the same frame that has somehow robbed her of her claim to femininity, that was consistently and unfoundedly associated with aggression and a brutishness that is unbecoming of a female tennis star, is being evaluated as unfit to stand in a man’s apparently dutiful place in history.
This is after 23 Grand Slams across multiple generations of tennis peers, after being inaccurately reduced to a passing fad by both her contemporaries, and after redefining the entire approach to women’s tennis in such an unprecedented manner that a tennis star the likes of Maria Sharapova – who actually has been suspended for taking banned substances, as opposed to Serena, despite near-constant accusations to the contrary – can be reduced to near-insignificance.
Does her physique provide her an unfair advantage over women?
The answer to both of these is obviously no (unless you count mixed doubles, which is a whole other ball game).
Roger Federer can’t make that same claim, much less Mc Enroe.