Mendoza: Time to leave for Williams?

·2 min read

Was it her last Wimbledon match?

Could be. Might be. Or, should be?

Serena Williams said nothing about leaving the game for good after her 7-5, 1-6, 7-6 (10-7) defeat at the hands of the unseeded Harmony Tan of France.

But the handwriting on the wall was just too obvious.

She has lost the foot work.

She has lost the venom of her strokes.

She has lost it all—save for a heart that, sadly, wasn’t enough to will her spirit to win.

At 40, Williams was being commanded to leave the scene.

She couldn’t match the endurance of a 24-year-old debutante too eager and madly determined to make history.

Despite her being a nondescript, Tan was aware of Williams’ utter vulnerability.

The knees weren’t there anymore.

No one stays in top form forever. Father Time isn’t blind.

Despite her 23 Grand Slams going to Tuesday’s match against Tan, Williams has become but a fraction of her old self.

Oh, yes, she managed to hit winners deep into the corners—but they came sporadically. Consistency wasn’t just there, anymore.

Age betrays us all, including the toughest of warriors like Williams, who pitifully huffed and puffed during crucial moments against her younger, lighter and evidently more fleet-footed opponent.

Last year, Williams also lost her Wimbledon first match after injuring herself and left the grass courts in tears.

This year, her 98 previous Wimbledon victories vanished against Tan’s big heart and youthful bravado in their match lasting three hours and 14 minutes, thoroughly draining all of Williams’ energy and stamina.

And Tan had also guile tucked under her built.

She took a six-minute bathroom break after losing the second set by a 6-1 rout that leveled the match at 1-1. It was a disguise to break Williams’ momentum.

Leading 5-4 in the third, age gobbled up Williams’ usually powerful serve, giving Tan all the elbow room to force a 6-all tie-break en route to razing a 1-4 deficit for a 10-7 victory and a historic Wimbledon debut.

“I’m so emotional now,” said Tan. “She’s a superstar. I thought if I could win one game, it would be really good for me.”

Williams has spent the last five years chasing Margaret Court’s record of 24 major titles.

Time to stop?

“That’s a question I can’t answer,” Williams, a seven-time singles Wimbledon winner, said. “I don’t know. Who knows?”

Father Time does.

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