Without too much of an introduction, I’m Lenny Olsen and welcome to my blog this semester. I’ll be posting every Wednesday evening on whatever sports story or subject seems to catch my eye from the past week and put my own spin or analysis on it. While football is my truest love, my postings could range anywhere from trick-shot pool to the PBA, so be prepared for anything…
In a week in which the most-talked about people are two brothers (Jim and John Harbaugh) and a non-existent girlfriend (that of Heisman runner-up Manti Te’o), it is perhaps a 19 year-old girl from Florida who deserves the most attention.
That girl is tennis player Sloane Stephens, who just knocked off her childhood idol in the quarterfinals of the Australian Open. That idol is of course ATP No. 3 Serena Williams, who had seemingly been playing in a league of her own since she stormed through Wimbledon last year.
Serena had lost one match since the 2012 French Open en route to winning Wimbledon, the US Open, and the Olympic Gold Medal in Women’s Singles. She was, to put it simply, expected to cruise to another title in Melbourne this month, but Stevens’ win ended those expectations and sent shockwaves around the tennis world.
One must of course speculate that had Serena not tweaked her back in the second set, she would have won. Serena lost a great deal of her signature power that had propelled her to such recent dominance and was clearly dealing with tremendous amounts of both pain and frustration on the court. But to Stephens’ credit, she took the opportunity in stride by going on the attack more often while continuing to display stellar defensive skills.
And as Stephens goes into her semi-final match against No. 1 Victoria Azarenka (her best Grand Slam result so far in her short career), she has gained the support of countless fans for reasons beyond being the only American left in the field.