PARIS — In one of her more revealing moments this tournament, Serena Williams addressed the various personalities that reside deep within her. Since she first infiltrated the Tennisphere in the late 1990s, Serena has been a bundle of contradictions and unpredictability. We call her by her first name, yet she remains mysterious in some ways. Now, 15 years into an astonishing career — filled with all sorts of plot twists and relentless, almost devotional, winning — we have some insight into the driving forces.
There’s Summer. “My assistant who lives inside my body,” Serena said. “She’s really organized and she’s amazing. I love her.”
Then there’s Megan. “I think she was a bad girl. … Haven’t seen her in a long time.”
And there’s Laquanda. “She’s not allowed to come out. She’s on probation. She’s not nasty. She just keeps it real. And you don’t want to cross her.”
The same facets that continue to make Serena a singularly compelling personality also inform her tennis. The casual fans will see she won still another major singles title Saturday afternoon in Paris — we’re up to 16, for those scoring at home — beating a game Maria Sharapova 6-4, 6-4 in the French Open final. They will assume Serena did what she often does and brought her insurmountable power to bear, turning a tennis match into a physical altercation, playing with peerless intensity.
And they would be right. But they would be missing the multiple personalities of her tennis game.
— “Serena’s personalities, legendary game produce French Renaissance;” On Sunday afternoon Serena Williams defeated Maria Sharapova to win the French Open, her sixteenth singles title. With Wimbledon around the corner, Jon Wertheim of Sports Illustrated takes a look at Serena’s winning strategies and shows that her success goes beyond the physical.