Serena's burden of meaning places her a long way away from this kind of discretion. Her importance is too great. She faces expectations that I can barely imagine, and she lives up to them.
One of the things I love about her, though, is that she still insists on her freedom to be meaningless. Pointedly, in public, Serena refuses to be flattened into significance. She doesn't shirk her cultural role but she also protects - and doesn't hide- her own inner galaxy of humor, anger, sexiness, goofiness, sadness. She pouts. She yells. She shows her feelings on the court. She gets shy. She shares silly photos on social media. In a world where many NFL rookies are already playing characters in the media, Serena is only playing herself. For someone in such a complicated position, she is shockingly unguarded, and in a strangely beautiful way, her openness is what preserves her privacy. She shows us who she is, and showing us makes her inviolable.
Not only is Serena ranked No.1, but objects in her rearview mirror appear closer than they in fact are. (For perspective: The points gap separating Serena from No.2 Simona Halep is greater than the points gap between Halep and the lowest-ranked player on the tour.) Serena is turning in the best year of her career, which is saying something. She is also turning in perhaps the best year in modern tennis history - which is saying still more.
- Why can't tennis have a great Hollywood movie? The New York Times investigates.
- Fascinating multi-media piece by ESPN on how tennis balls get made.
- On the US Open program cover, Serena stands alone:
? Nick McCarvel (@NickMcCarvel) August 28, 2015
- Meanwhile, checking in on Andrea Petkovic:
The amount of times I get called "baby" in NYC is considerable. By women obvs.