In her first tournament appearance of the 2010s, in Sydney, Serena Williams said, “I definitely like to keep going when the going is tough. More than anything, I enjoy it. The moment I step on the court it’s like, this is what I was born to do. It’s what I do best.”
Those four sentences summed up Serena throughout the rest of the 2010s, a decade that saw her experience more jubilant highs and challenging lows, on and off the court, than most athletes experience in a lifetime.
How did she get through it all and come out on top? Her paramount shotmaking, world-class aptitude and preternatural gifts played significant roles. But it was her most empowering weapon—her relentless drive—that helped her most of all.
At the start of the 2010 season, Serena held 11 Grand Slam singles trophies. She quickly made the jump to 13 following successful title defenses at the Australian Open and Wimbledon, though her year was cut short after withstanding two separate surgeries on her right foot. Her time away from tennis was stretched to nearly a year when complications from a bilateral pulmonary embolism resulted in urgent treatment for a hematoma the size of a grapefruit.
Facing the “scariest moment of [her] life,” at the time, Serena refused to compromise, refused to look backward and refused to concede. Those qualities have propelled her to extraordinary comebacks, like when she was down a set and 4–0 to Victoria Azarenka in the 2010 Australian Open quarterfinals. None, however, were as profound or eminent as Serena’s return in June 2011.
Continue reading your story on the app
Continue reading your story in the magazine
The Tennis Conversation: Jenson Brooksby, a piano man
Billy Joel may be a New York City icon, but the fans in Queens should start getting to know this piano man
The Five-Step Sit-Down Plan
Don’t neglect the value of a smart changeover routine
MAKING THE TURN
Six years after saying goodbye to the protour grind, Mardy Fish may be more active than ever—on the court, on the course, and helping combat a struggle anyone can encounter
FOOD FOR THOUGHT
Queens is known for its gastronomy as much as its tennis. Daniil Medvedev, equal parts sugar and spice, hopes to add a unique flavor to the borough as he vies for his first major
SUMMER IN THE CITIES
Broadway may not re-open until mid September, but tennis offers its own brand of live theatre in the preceding months
The pandemic halted tennis as an up-close experience— but is now giving way to pandemonium among crowds. As the pro game reopens this summer and fans gather again, we’re realizing what we’ve been missing for so long
Court of Appeals
Resolving Your Rules Questions&Quarrels
An Open Mind: New York's Slam has no shortage of history, but it always evolves
In the last decade, Arthur Ashe Stadium got a roof, and a new Grandstand and Louis Armstrong Stadium debuted.
Those Fall Feels
The end of summer may be bittersweet, but getting lost amid the backroads of NEW ENGLAND adds a silver—and golden—lining to the season change. Pack a few sweaters along with your tennis kit and prepare for leaf-peeping, scenic drives and delicious autumnal ingredients to pair with your forehands
Court of Appeals
Resolving Your Rules Questions & Quarrels